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Why YOU haven't sold anything at craft fairs

Recently my partner has started charging me $10 every time I offer unsolicited advice at craft fairs. It's so hard NOT to when other vendors wander over complaining that they're bored and getting no sales and it must be the economy or the weather, or the craft fair up the street or whatever.

So here's a small list I've been bottling up of the top 5 things you probably didn't realize were hurting your business:

5) Your business is supposed to promote your individual creativity and uniqueness: DO NOT USE A GENERIC MASS-PRODUCED TEMPLATE FOR YOUR SIGNAGE. I know they look all pretty on Vistaprint, but you are only hurting yourself by using a font, image, and color scheme that hundreds of thousands of other people are using "because it was good enough for now." All you're doing is insuring you will lose your regular customers to the next person they see with your signage because they think it's you.

4) I know there are vendors out there who think business cards are a waste because everyone throws them out. You have to look at the bigger picture. The risk-reward of having business cards is this: Vistaprint charges like $10 for a box of 250 cards. Say 249 customers throw them out and one gets handed to a friend who actually calls you. You paid $10 to gain one customer. And it gets cheaper the more cards you buy. Don't worry about the ones that get thrown out! Focus on the ones that DON'T.

3) Going to bed early takes practice and discipline, just like anything else. We're artists. We LOVE to stay up and finish that one last project, put together that final tweak on your display, or organize this last box of supplies. Then you show up tired to your event. Trust me, it shows. Your fellow vendors see it, and your customers see it, and your attitude reflects it. No one will notice that you didn't tweak that display or organize that box. They WILL notice you moving a little slower and smiling with a touch of weariness.

2) Greet anyone and everyone within 5 feet of your booth.. even if they don't look your way. Try it: It's hard. But it works. If they don't look your way, how can they notice you? Most people will glance at you and your booth for a second, even if just to be polite and smile at you. You'll be stunned at how often they stop when they obviously weren't planning to. And if they're in a rush - whip out those business cards! My favorite line while handing out cards is "Well, if you decide you want something later, then you can always find me again."

1) This ties into #2: How you look and dress affects sales. If you show up in sweats and a hoodie and you sell jewelry... you aren't doing yourself any favors. YOU are the face of your business and your products should be showcased through your personal use of them. Your appearance should say "Friendly, Harmless, Honest, and Interesting." You will appeal to the largest audience with that in mind.

Okay, yeah, I have more, but those are the ones that have been itching to get out. I hope it helps your sales for the holidays!

101 Responses

*Applause, Applause* well Said. thank you!
Solid Post!
Good tips! We always find we sell more when we stand at our booth. It's hard sometimes when it's a long day, and sometimes you have to take a break. But try standing, I promise it will get you more sales!
Yes! I see so many vendors at my market that keeps talking when there are customer around. Greet your customers!

I have just ordered my business cards (yeah, I was slow on the uptake) and I still haven't got a shop sign, which I need to do.

Thanks for the advice!
I agree with most of what you have to say but not all. I have been doing many shows for many years and I think we all have our own methods for success.
Good stuff! I've never even considered most of those. I'd like to hear others, too.
Thank you for this! I will have to keep these in mind for my next CF! :D
what about having a great product?
Shan - you couldn't be more correct. If you HAVE to sit, you should bring something work-related to do. Working on your product in any capacity in front of the customers increases its intrinsic value in their eyes. If you carve rocks at home, pretend to polish them at the booth. If you sew, hand-sew something in-person. Even if you're faking what you're doing right there the customers like to see you crafting before their eyes!

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