Sunday, 29 September 2013

Tips to Make your Market Experience Successful

If you are doing markets and shows, this article gives you helpful hints and tips to make your experience succesful. We've included in this post, only those topics that are commonly asked.

Below is just an excerpt from the article, "Doing Craft Shows: Simple Tips to make your experience successful". You can read the whole article here.

Written by Patrice Lewis for craftreport.com 

Sales Psychology
Okay, you’re at the show. Now what? How do you bring customers into your booth?

It goes without saying that your booth is attractive and not sloppy. You are wearing appropriate clothing that is neat and professional. You have a nice, friendly smile.

Selling takes a certain psychology, as any good salesperson will tell you. When customers are browsing, the last thing they want is to feel pressured. Don’t act like the stereotypical used car salesman, talking constantly and trying to force a sale.

Offer a browser a friendly, but neutral, greeting (“Good morning!”). You’ve acknowledged the customer’s presence without making any additional demands. Don’t start peppering them with unwanted or unasked-for information. If you do that, I can almost guarantee that the customer will back-peddle out of your booth with a mumbled excuse about meeting Cousin Bob somewhere else.

Naturally, you’ll be available to answer specific questions about your product, but answer in such a way that does not imply that you now expect them to buy something (“That knick-knack is made out of solid walnut…so, can I wrap it up for you?”). A little humor sprinkled in makes the customer feel more comfortable. But don’t talk too much; customers generally want to be left alone to make up their minds.

It’s a fine balance. Being friendly with your customers improves your chances of making a sale, but trying to make them your best friend by nagging them will damage sales.

And, of course, most people will walk into a booth, and then walk out again. Most won’t buy anything – at least, not yet. It’s up to you to make their brief browsing experience so pleasant and unpressured that they’ll feel free to come back later and buy.

Booth Layout

Booth layout is difficult to discuss, because every product is different. Some items need to be behind glass with bright lights shining on them (such as jewelry). Some items need to be dangled from above. Some items need to be displayed on tables.

But, in every case, the key ingredient is visibility. It may seem obvious, but if the customer doesn’t see the product, and see it quickly, then it doesn’t exist.
Consider the power of a vertical display. Items that are displayed where the eye can sweep over them at a glance – and see the entire selection – are far more likely to result in higher sales.

Keep your shelves full. It’s a strange element of show psychology, but customers who see half-empty shelves are not impressed by how well your product has been selling. Instead, they will glance at your nearly vacant display, and walk on. It doesn’t matter how many pieces you still have on display. Half-empty shelves equal “no selection” in the eyes of a potential customer.

So, if you sell one piece, replace it with another piece. If you run out of replacement stock, then either reduce the number of shelving or display units you have available, or have something on hand to act as “fillers” for empty displays (silk flowers, driftwood, roadkill; anything is better than nothing).
 
Miscellaneous Tips

•     Bring a friend. Always try to work a booth with another person. Not only is this helpful during bathroom breaks, but it’s important to help deter shoplifting.
•     Do a dress rehearsal. If you are going to an event with your own booth, make sure you have assembled it at least once, in advance, at home, preferably blindfolded and standing on one leg in a rainstorm in the dead of night, to reproduce all the difficulties you’ll no doubt encounter at one time or another. It’s called a dress rehearsal, and theater or dance companies do them for good reason.
•     Keep a sense of humor. Cultivate a sense of humor. Display a sense of humor. Humor relaxes people, it makes you seem less “predatory,” and it creates an instant bond.
•     Sometimes you’ll get a person in your booth who looks and looks and looks, and then leaves without buying anything. This person is valuable to you. To a passing browser, there is safety in numbers. People are more likely to enter a booth when someone else is there ahead of them. So don’t lose patience with the person who spends a lot of time looking and then leaves without buying; they’ve provided you with a service by attracting other customers to your booth.
•     Know in advance what the show producers will provide. Some shows supply booth, tables, skirting, and signage (these are usually the more expensive shows). Others provide nothing but a square of grass. Be clear in advance what you’ll need to bring so you won’t be caught with your pants (metaphorically) down.
•     Never, ever leave a vacant chair available in your booth. A vacant chair means you’re a captive audience to anyone who wants to sit down and relate Great Aunt Martha’s gall bladder surgery.

Love the Life

Selling at craft fairs should be – and often is – fun. You’ll meet new people, see new places, and hopefully make some money.
But, craft shows can be frustrating, as well. Despite the best preparation, you never know how much – or if – you’ll make enough money to make it worthwhile. It’s important to understand that a show could be a bomb. That’s why, hopefully, the information in this article will help steer you in the right direction.

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