Everyone knows how challenging it is doing craft shows. The loading of vehicles, the travel time sometimes can be long, the time setting up and a full day of being “on”. The biggest challenge for most is conversation with customers, especially for those that are shy, tired or just plain lost for conversation. I have compiled a list of Do’s and Don’ts that over the years have work for me and my employees at my shows.
- DO NOT play on your cellphone, laptop or tablet. Ignoring customer is never good and are conversation blockers
- DO NOT continue chatting up your friend or employee or partner sitting with you when client’s arrive to your booth
- DO NOT eat at your booth as it makes people feel like they are interrupting when they come to your table or booth. Get a helper to watch your booth while you have your little meal break.
- DO NOT say “May I help you”? As that question is intimidating and often annoys customers. They will often say “No Thank you” and browse and then walk away
- DO NOT be defensive or insulted by questions from customers as they may not understand your craft or how or why you make your items. Use this as an opportunity to briefly share about your business.
- DO NOT just sit in your chair remaining silent as it looks like you are uncomfortable or couldn’t be bothered
- DO NOT offer candy, or munchies at your booth. There are many reasons for this. Children often are not allowed candy or have allergies. If a young one wants one and the parents don’t want them to have it, it can cause an upset crying little one and a frustrated parent. People will often take the candy or a handful and just walk away.
- DO make eye contact and smile. If you look enthusiastic and happy to be there, it will be infectious and show the potential customer you love what you do
- DO initiate conversation. Be sincere in what you say. Good conversation starters are: “I LOVE your coat”, “You have such beautiful children”, “So glad you stopped by”. Try talking to their children; parents appreciate that so they have a moment to look at your products.
- DO let them know if you have sales, specials or take custom orders to help them browse. Feel free to ask if they are looking for something for themselves or for a gift. It helps you to point out things as it can be overwhelming to see everything laid out to new eyes.
- DO play music (if allowed by show organizer) but play it quietly and select suitable music for all age ranges. Easy listening is usually a good choice.
- DO tell customers a bit about yourself. “I’m from London ON and make all the items by hand that you see here” If you have specialty products like hand set gemstones or you do stained glass or woodworking, be sure to tell the customer something to let them know. Feel free to let them know your best sellers.
- DO be sure to leave “white space” between your products to be sure it does not look cluttered. I always leave some empty spots when I sell an item to show that my table is busy and people are purchasing. Some sellers use a SOLD sign and place it on the empty spots for a while.
- DO have a mirror there that you have to hold as it encourages the sale and entices conversation. Be helpful with clasps etc.
- DO let customers know you encourage them to pick it up and try items on. Also, use a laptop or Tablet to run a slideshow of your work displayed for eye level viewing. This encourages people to stop and look at your product longer.
- DO bring a carpet runner to place in front of your booth or into your booth, taped down underneath as you don’t need anyone to trip. This encourages a sense of warmth and gives your booth a bit more of a homey feel. You want your customers to feel relaxed.