Using Professional Sales Techniques At Craft Shows
Craft sellers at a show must compete with every other booth around them in order to attract customers. Here are some professional sales techniques, including piggybacking, positioning and packaging, that will help increase business at your craft show booth.
Whether as a hobby or a way of life, many people enjoy selling their homemade crafts at arts and craft shows or other festivals. Some booths are tremendously successful and attract repeat customers year after year, while others are barely noticed, hardly earning enough revenue to pay for the booth rental fee. If you have just started your own craft business, you'll want to do everything possible to generate foot traffic and repeat business, but that can be difficult in a sea of similar booths that offer the same merchandise as your own. How can you make your booth stand out from the others and increase your chances of making a substantial profit from your sales? Do what the professional marketers would recommend to their own clients who need to make a bigger splash in their markets. Here are some tried and true professional marketing strategies you can use to promote your booth at an arts and craft show:
"Positioning". Strategic positioning of your booth can increase your foot traffic tremendously. If you have a choice of where your booth will be set up, make an informed decision. See where the entertainment areas will be, and position yourself on the footpath that leads directly to the main event. If you can avoid it, you never want to be on the extreme edges of the craft area. Customers tend to shop impulsively, and quickly lose interest if they must work their way through the entire exhibit to reach your stand. If there is no entertainment, then positioning can help you in another aspect of sales- booths that offer complementary crafts. If you create paintings, try to get the space next to a frame shop. If you create bookshelves and nicknack holders, move next to a book seller or nicknack maker. Impulsive buyers often buy one item, only to realize they need something else to make it complete. If you cannot set up your booth near a complementary exhibit, make sure you know where a customer can go to get a needed accessory. You'll generate a lot of goodwill if you cheerfully point out the location of another booth. That booth owner may return the favor.
"Packaging" Craft show customers are notorious for skimming and browsing before making a purchase. You want enough of your product visible to attract customers, but not presented in a disorganized way. If you can hang your product on a display board at customer eyelevel, then you've already started using professional sales concepts. 'Packaging' is not just about the pretty paper surrounding your crafts or the attractive box that your toys come in, it is about the total appearance of your offerings. Place enough stock on the table to give customers real choices. Have your pricing information clearly marked. Anticipate a customer's questions before they feel obligated to ask. If you have three sizes, make sure you have all three sizes on the table. If your product comes in various colors, have all the colors represented. If sales are slow, use some advertising psychology to spice things up. Place a 'sold' sign on a higher ticket item, whether you actually sold it or not. Leave a few strategic spots empty, as if you haven't had time to restock due to overwhelming demand. Browsers appreciate well-organized shelves, but potential buyers often react to the appearance of high demand for your craft. Your entire booth is your 'package', not just the items contained in it.
"Piggybacking" Customers love to feel like they have struck a real bargain. Successful sellers often use this nugget of buyer's psychology to their advantage by offering discounts on certain items or by offering package deals. If you have a small craft that doesn't seem to sell well on its own, you might consider the profession sales technique called 'piggybacking'. By offering a free item to go along with a higher ticket product, you can rid yourself of slow-moving merchandise while increasing the sales of a more profitable product. If you make wooden notepad holders, for example, you might consider piggybacking a pencil sharpener with it. A Christmas wreath may be piggybacked with several replacement decorations, or you might offer a small sketch with the purchase of a large painting. In general, you'll want to consider piggybacking if the profit margin on the small item is low and the margin on the larger item is high enough to make up for the loss. Many retail stores will offer a product at a deliberate loss, gambling that demand for other products will increase. You might consider using this concept on a smaller scale by offering customers small samples of your work for free or at a very low price. What you are aiming for is a customer who enjoyed your product well enough to return with friends. Professional sales people all say that repeat customers and word-of-mouth advertising are their bread and butter. By using these sales techniques in your first year, you are setting the stage for the more profitable years to come.