SELLING AT THE SHOW
Your time at the Show is an investment in your business so use each day to practice your sales skills, get to know your customers, do market research and promote your business. The Show compresses thousands of interactions into a very short amount of time, so patience is key! Be open to everyone, ready to talk and try not to be insulted by off-the-cuff-comments if they come.
We know that not every artisan is a natural salesperson, so we’ve compiled some tips from our rockstar exhibitors, the One of a Kind team and the online community to help you become a become the best seller you can be. With a little planning, practice and a great attitude, you will be ready to shine for show time!
- Know your story and don’t be afraid to tell it! Customers can’t buy from every maker in the show, so let them know why they should buy from you.
- Figure out your unique value. Are you constantly coming out with new products? Do you look working on custom pieces? Are you skilled at making large quantities? Do you cater to a specific niche?
- Talk about your process, how you began your career, where you learned your techniques and where you get your inspiration.
- Make sure to practice—not so much that you sound scripted, but enough that you’ll feel comfortable communicating your message.
- Do some role playing with a friend or studiomate, or set up a mock booth in your home or garage prior to the show and rehearse talking points about your products.
- Include press clippings and media coverage in your booth so that shy customers can learn about you without having to engage.
- As the maker of your products, it’s easy to be critical of all the things you did or didn’t do, but these will not be apparent to the customer. Quiet that voice and feel nothing but love for your products during the Show!
- Ask your customers questions and use that research to build an audience profile and develop your products.
- Highlight potential gift ideas and recipients to encourage customers to think of others they can buy for.
- Watch what sells and try to understand why some things are selling better than others—ex. placement, price point, trends.
- Follow up purchases by asking customers to send or tag you in a picture of their new item when they get home. This will help you determine how customers are using your product and give you free social media marketing. They will appreciate that you are interested and you can start to build customers for life.
Know Our Customers
- One of a Kind shoppers are dedicated. They’ve paid for parking and admission and are here to make purchases.
- They care about handmade and meeting you, and they love to find favourite artists that they can come and visit each year.
- Most shoppers will do a lap of the show before making purchases, so be sure to greet everyone. You don’t know which will be the ones to come back.
- Consider what products are appropriate for the show you’re at. During the summer, you may sell out of a certain item at a rural craft fair, but the same product may not appeal to those at an urban Christmas show.
- Some customers want to talk, some want to look on their own. Feel them out by posing a question instead of just greeting them so that they have to respond. This will engage them and allow you to feel out their willingness to chat based on their answer.
- Candice Ware of Candiware starts by telling each customer that her jewelry is scented, so they should feel free to pick them up and give them a sniff.
- Selling is all about emotional transactions. If customers seem willing to chat, ask their name and tell them a bit about you and what you do to create a human connection. Ask if they have any questions. Provide them with a business card and let them know that when they email you, it is coming right to you.
- Find out what they’re looking for. Talk to them about the characteristics of your work and point out the features that would benefit them (perhaps your mug is dishwasher-safe and ergonomically designed). Demonstrate any features of your product that might not translate in the online world.
- Keep chatty people in the booth! This will allow you to sell to others by listening, and when there are people in your booth, it is less intimidating for others to enter.
- People love watching an artist work—if you can, bring some stuff to work on in your down time. But remain open and approachable if someone enters your booth.
Have a great sales approach that you want to share? Submit yours here!
- Be realistic when setting sales goals for the Show and make sure you’ve done everything you can to attract customers to the Show to give yourself the best chance of meeting those goals.
- If you are using Square, make a record of all your transactions, even the cash ones. This will give you a detailed picture of your sales throughout the show, whether by hour or day. This will help you prepare your inventory and set sales goals for next show.
- Get to know your average sales and what you need to sell each day and adjust your sales strategies accordingly.
- Offer items at a variety of price points, from affordable to high-end, so that shoppers have more opportunities to purchase from you.
- Buyers who take home a lower-priced item now may return later for a bigger ticket purchase.
- Looking to add new items to your contract, fill out this New Product Submission Form to have your items reviewed by the jury for inclusion on your contract.
- Find the best position to situate yourself in your booth so that customers are not afraid to enter. If your booth is small or you have a very narrow entrance, consider standing outside of it.
- Be present—pretend you have a boss looking over your shoulder.
- Stand up or sit on a tall stool—avoid low seating.
- Use down time to tidy your booth or walk around—resist the temptation to pass the time on your phone as it will close you off to potential customers. Customers will pick up on the energy of your booth and are less likely to enter if you look bored or unhappy, so keep yourself looking busy and don’t forget to smile.
- Take some time to get to know your neighbors—they can watch your booth while you run to the bathroom or turn on your lights if you are running late—but drop them like a hot potato if a customer enters, they’ll understand.
- Eat well, get as much sleep as possible, and do your best to minimize stress leading up to the Show. You don’t want to start off on a bad foot, or worse get sick right before.
- Wear comfortable shoes and bring snacks, a mug and a refillable water bottle.
- Hire staff that are neat, energetic, positive and have sales experience to help you out in your booth.
- Finalize all details early and ensure they understand both your working process and your finished product.
- Arrange for enough badges for each of your staff or a specified place where they will be available for each shift.
- If you’re tired and hungry, you won’t sell well. Ensure that you and your staff step outside of your booth to take a quick break for lunch and dinner. If you must eat in your booth, keep to simple foods that can be discretly consumed and tucked away if a customer enters. Hot, aromatic foods are best consumed in the exhibitors’ lounge.
- Take a time out…walk around the show to relax and renew yourself!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help! This is an open, friendly and engaging community. They’ve been in your shoes and are happy to pay forward the help and knowledge they received when they started out.
- Create a sense of urgency but reminding customers who are leaning toward purchasing online at a later time that they will save the shipping fees if they buy now.
- If a customer is struggling with a decision, ask “Shall I wrap that up for you?”
- Offer gift wrapping services that co-ordinate with upcoming holidays to make it that much easier for them to check the gift recipient off their list.
- We offer free parcel check and carry-out at the Show, so remind customers debating a large or heavy purchase that they can buy now and take advantage of these services.
- Remind customers that you will be here for the duration of the Show, so if they are not happy with a purchase, they can always return with their free re-admit pass to make sure they are happy with their purchase.
- The easier it is for them to make a purchase, the easier it will be for you to close the sale.
- Each customer should leave your booth with something, whether it is a business card, handout, promo code or purchase. Your goal is to create points of contact to sell throughout the year, not just at the Show.
- Each day will look different and you won’t get a clear picture of your sales until the show is over. And don’t forget to take into account follow-up business generated after that first point of contact.
- Every show gets easier and you learn new tips each time. Think of each year as a way to grow your customer base and build your business.
- And finally, ask yourself: did I do everything I could sales-wise? If so, never feel like you are failing. You came out and showcased your stuff and learned valuable tips that you can bring to all of your future shows!