There are lots of resources for advice about doing craft shows. I’ve written many blog posts about what to bring, how to entice shoppers, and the best ideas for displays. But there are a few things sellers might do that can put off shoppers and buyers- all of which are easy to fix or prevent!
Here are five tips to read before your next craft show:
1. Not Greet Customers
Being friendly to shoppers approaching your table or booth is important for success at a craft show. I still remember vending near a fellow artist (at a show with a very high booth fee) who wouldn’t say hello to anyone. He had beautiful items but made very few sales because he seemed unapproachable. Some people are just shy (and there’s nothing wrong with that), so if you feel uncomfortable talking to customers bring a friend or a family member who is more outgoing. This will help break the ice with shoppers, which will encourage them to stay a while and eventually lead to more sales.
2. Be on Your Phone Constantly
This directly relates to the above tip, because staying on your smartphone during the show will prevent you from properly greeting shoppers. We’ve all experienced a slow day at a craft fair and the feeling that you’ll have to do anything to stay awake! But playing on your cell phone can turn off anyone walking by, especially if you don’t look up. Customers would much rather be greeted by a smiling face on a cheerful seller. Try to stay off of your electronic devices if possible, unless it’s to ring up a credit card sale (as I’ll discuss below).
3. Come on Too Strong
The opposite of ignoring potential customers is being way too pushy. A “hard sell” approach will turn off most shoppers. A simple hello and a quick description of your products is better than a long sales pitch which makes someone feel trapped. To keep from being too salesy you can rehearse your greeting and spiel before the day of the craft show. Have a friend practice with you as if they’re a shopper you’ve never met before.
4. Only Take One Form of Payment
Many shoppers only carry credit cards and limited amounts of cash, so accepting several forms of payment is recommended. There are so many mobile credit card processing systems available for handmade sellers, so find one that works for your business. You can ask your crafter friends for recommendations about what kind of processing apps they use at shows. Additionally, make sure to also bring cash- especially small bills so you can give change to your customers who pay with paper money.
5. Not Give Out Business Cards
Business cards are the best way for shoppers to reach you at a later date. They might want a custom order or may not be ready to purchase during the show, so handing out your contact information is very important. Make sure to bring plenty of business cards to the craft fair and hand them out to as many people as you can without being pushy. This includes those who approach your booth and seem interested as well as other vendors who you’d like to network with in the future.