Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The art of selling at craft fairs & festivals

"For every sale you miss because you’re too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough." -Zig Ziglar

With craft fairs and festivals well under way, I wanted to share with you some of the techniques I use to be successful.

There are benefits to both selling online and selling at craft fairs. What I like about selling online is I can still be productive in the studio. Also there is a broader customer base one can reach online.  Craft fairs can be challenging but they provide the greatest opportunity to really connect with a customer and get good feedback on your product and booth display. I wanted to create a post to address the challenges of selling at craft fairs and how to overcome them. There is great potential for profit and building a strong customer base if the right steps are taken. 

Working straight commission for eight years, I learned some very savvy lessons on selling and now want to pass them on to the LMAJ readers.  I am also providing a printout HERE that you can take with you to craft fairs as a reference if you like.

Carol's Tips for selling at Craft Fairs and Festivals
  1. FIRST APPROACH  Say hello to EVERY customer that comes in your booth within at least 5 seconds. Then let them briefly look before your second approach. By doing this you are letting the customer scan your merchandise to see if it is their style. Some will walk right out, and that is fine, not all customers will be attracted to your particular style. 
  2. SECOND APPROACH  Remember craft fairs move very fast, and if you still have a customer in your booth for more than a minute or two then you have their attention. Walk up to the customer and engage them in a genuine way. Each customer has their unique buying style. Some like to be left alone and choose what they want on their own, and some like you to walk them through every step and help them select pieces. To gauge what type the customer is you can say something like, "please let me know if you have any questions" to see how they respond. Or if you can read the customer and they are sending you non-verbal buying signals then try an open ended question like "are you looking for something for yourself or a gift?  At my last festival a customer actually asked me to "tell her my story". I was more than happy to 'help' her see the value in what I was selling and she ended up buying 2 pieces.
  3. KNOW HOW TO CLOSE THE DEAL Don't be afraid to ask for the sale. Not all customers are going to throw you money. Although it's nice when they do! If you feel a customer is ready to buy, you can say something like "just so you know, I also take credit cards" or "those earrings will look very nice on you! Would you like to get those today?" Or "were you thinking of getting that necklace to go with your dress?" Be genuine and don't be afraid to ask for the sale.
  4. HAVE AN EMAIL SIGN-UP SHEET  Keep a decorative notebook with a cute pen or pencil asking for customers to sign up for your email list. If you want even more emails, you can offer a giveaway. When a customer is buying I ask them if they would like to be on my email list. Gathering emails is great for future marketing techniques. 
  5. CHOOSE EVENTS WISELY  Visit craft fairs and festivals to see if they are events that fit your style. Check out the customers to make sure they are your target market and also you can ask the vendors what their opinions are on the event. Keep in mind the cost's that you will incur, such as fee's, travel expenses and any other overhead to determine if it will be profitable for you.
  6. THE RIGHT PRICES Offer a range of price points to attract a variety of customers. I always have a clearance bin where items are marked down around 25%. On some items I will do a "buy one get another 50% off (lesser price item)". Some items are not on sale at all because they are new or some of my best sellers and I don't want to mark them down. There are some customers who are sale oriented and then some that want to purchase the very best pieces you have at retail. By having a variety of prices you are opening yourself up to more buyers and more sales.
  7. DESIGN A BOOTH DISPLAY THAT DRAWS CUSTOMERS IN  Create a booth that is appealing, uncluttered and easy to see your products.
     Make sure you have signs that are visible from the outside and easy to read. You want the customer to be able to know right away what you offer. Visible prices are also very important as well. Here is my booth set-up with a cedar wall that is to the right. It creates a vertical line that attracts customers right away. I plan on doing a post soon on how we built it. You can see it on my blog.
  8. CREATE A NICHE TO STAND OUT If you create a product the customer has not seen before, then they are more likely to stop and take a look. 
There you have it! I know this isn't the most interesting topic but since I just finished a festival these thoughts were fresh on my mind.  So tell me, what techniques work for you at craft fairs? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thank you to all who commented on the giveaway and also made me feel welcome. Now for the results!!!! Here is a screenshot with all the names entered on  Stacie Florer, congratulations!!! I will contact you soon for your address!


Kathy Lindemer said...

Great tips! Thank you!

Almost Precious said...

Wonderful post with very useful information. I do like the way you have your booth set-up and organized, gives it a feeling of a cozy boutique. The cedar wall with its mirror intrigues me. I've always had a mirror on one of my tables but feared that someone would accidently drop it or knock it to the ground and what a hazard that would create.

Shirley Moore said...

Those are wonderful tips! I don't plan on doing craft fairs, but I definitely know where to come if that changes! Thank you!

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