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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Hi everyone

I suddenly remembered late yesterday that I had planned (and included a reference in several posts) that on 21 September I was going to post a 'What do customers expect of craft sellers at events?'.  I clearly didn't tie the piece of string around my finger tight enough!  It then struck me that despite shouting about the need for contributions, sadly I only received 2.  Yes, 2.  Does this mean that fellow crafters, our customers and potential customers think we are doing everything just right?  Sadly, I think a lot of us know this isn't really true.  So, along with two two generous people who have contributed their thoughts/ideas to this post, I have put together the following points - as they say on the television when announcing finalists, these are not in any particular order and I know this list is by no means complete.
  • Arrive at the venue early - nothing more frustrating for organisers, other sellers and you than a late seller - puts you in a panic and you may miss putting something vital on your stall.  Plus, if stalls were not allocated before the day, you miss out on what could possibly be the best spot.
  • Once you have set your stall up, walk around the hall/room and look at it from different angles.  Does it look appealing?  Eye-catching?  What do visitors see when they first come into the room?  Too much height at the front of your stall, or graduated to tall items (or small items on shelves) towards the back?  Have you placed all packing material, crates, boxes, etc out of sight?
  • Linda (Made By Ewe) made an excellent point that a stall should have a cohesive collection of items for sale, supported with business cards, packaging and props in matching colours.  This creates the impression of a professional and cared for business.  It is important to build a brand as people will remember you.
  • Caroline (Carolee Crafts) recommends it is a good idea to have something on your stand to offer visitors - a tin of gorgeous sweets, or chocolates.  This often encourages people to stay and look at your items and, fingers crossed, buy them.  They will remember that you were a generous stallholder.
  • Smile and greet your customers.  No, don't pounce on them and overwhelm them with words, but be cheerful - make a general comment about the weather (let's face it, we can talk about the weather non-stop in this country).  OK, some visitors may walk away because they are shy, but you will find that most are so pleased you have spoken to them that they will stay, look at your work and buy.  Visitors remember the cheerful stallholders by name.  Not every visitor to your stand will buy, but they may take details or remember your stand and buy from you at a later date - so don't treat them any different to the ones who buy something.
  • Have business cards, order forms, details of future events - not too much paper as, sadly, it may go straight into the bin, but enough for people to want to read about your business  Very often visitors come to events with the sole intention of just collecting information - if they have yours, you may get a call later.  
  • Keep your stall tidy, but don't fuss too much as visitors may feel they cannot pick your cards or jewellery or bags up to have a look at them if you hover and give the impression of disliking them moving things around.
  • Don't remain seated when visitors approach your stall - if you have a 'high-rise' display they may not see you.  If you remain seated, it creates an impression of lack of interest in what you are doing.  If more than one person is manning your stand, don't continue chatting with each other or turn your back on your potential customer.
  • Try to avoid eating and drinking when you have customers at your stall.  I know you have to eat and drink, but be aware of potential customers approaching.
  • Don't pack up before the event ends - I know it is disheartening if sales are low, but no products means no sales, and you could have a rush of last minute visitors.  If your stall is empty, visitors will go/spend elsewhere.
I know this may seem a negative post, don't do this, or this, or this, but I have attended many events as a seller (and as an organiser) and witnessed some stallholders behaving as though they didn't want to be there, couldn't really care about potential customers, grumbled non-stop about the event in front of visitors, ignored potential customers completely and some that sat and read their newspapers throughout the whole event!  You are (I should say we are) running a business and the aim is to project a professional image of handmade items to everyone who visits to encourage them to buy and come back again and again.

Most important thing to remember, enjoy yourself.  If you look cheerful and enthusiastic you can create a friendly atmosphere around your stall and this all helps to turn visitors into customers - and hopefully, customers who will continue to buy from you long after the event has ended.

If you have any other points to add, please post them in the comments section and at a later date (promise I will remember this time) I will put them all together and re-post as a separate item.

My Wednesday blog today is linking up with Welcome Wednesday, so click on this link and visit the great blogs who are taking part in this week's Blog Hop.

Jill

6 comments:

  1. Brilliant post Jill, if all stallholders followed these rules the fairs would be such happy paces. x

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  2. Great advice! New follower! I'd appreciate it if you joined my site too.

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  3. All great tips! Here are more to share - http://www.beadinggem.com/2011/05/10-tips-for-selling-crafts-in-person.html

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Pearl

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  4. Thanks so much for stopping by Sweet Diva....returning the follow! This is a very timely post for me to read ~ I've been working on getting some samples stocked up so that I can participate in just this kind of thing! =)

    ~Jill @ Sweet Diva
    http://sweetdivamj.com

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  5. Hey I"m a new follower from Welcome wednesday would love to see you follow at http://imamomnotaprofessional.blogspot.com/
    thanks!

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  6. Thanks for stopping by my blog - following you back!

    scrapproject365.blogspot.com

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Thank you for your comment - it is always lovely to have feedback and I hope you enjoyed my post.