My husband could eat a Dairy Queen blizzard almost every day for dessert (for those unfamiliar, it’s soft-serve ice cream mixed with a flavor/ingredient of your choice). But he knows my metabolism isn’t quite as fast as his and I’ve (very kindly) suggested he not tempt me with a blizzard every night. So if he really wants DQ, he has to sell me on it…or in other words, ask for the sale.
However, there are plenty of times I’m craving a blizzard and don’t need him to sell me on the idea, but rather, simply suggest it.
I can’t just come right out and say I want a blizzard…that would be silly 😉
I want him to pick up on my hints. That way I feel like a blizzard is meant to be and I’m not being the bad influence.
I might say, “That looks good” when an ad for a dessert comes on.
Or sometimes I’m a little more forward and will say, “I want something to eat”.
He usually suggests something from our fridge or cupboards first:
“Want some trail mix?”
“No, something sweet.”
“I could cut up an apple?”
“I guess that could work”
I was already sold on the idea of having a blizzard, I just needed a gentle nudge to fully commit.
Have you ever felt this way? You’re on the verge and little things push you in one direction or the other? There are several occasions I’m easily persuaded into a “sale” of something.
- The waiter stops by during our meal and asks if I’d like another drink before I even realize my glass is getting low
- Planning to stay in on Friday night but then a friend calls and asks if I want to go out
- Deciding which route to take home and a green light in one direction makes the decision for me
- A sales associate asks if I want to try something on when I wasn’t planning to
It can work the opposite way too. If those little nudges, hints or signs aren’t there, I’ll decide not to give in.
- If I want another drink but the waiter doesn’t come around or I can’t get their attention, I figure I don’t really need one.
- If I’m thinking about going out but no one puts it out there first, I’ll settle with staying in.
- Thinking about stopping by a store on the way home but the turning lane to get there is backed up, so I decide to stop by another day.
- If I can’t find a sales associate to open a fitting room, so I decide I don’t need the item or that I’ll come back later.
How does this apply to craft shows?
We require gentle nudges to make decisions, especially when it comes to buying products.
Just like I need my husband to come right out and ask if I want a Dairy Queen blizzard so I have the easy decision of saying yes or no, many of your shoppers also need you to help them come to a decision.
We usually want to give the answer that will please the person in front of us so your chances of getting a “yes” are pretty good.
But most vendors do not ask for the sale (maybe because they don’t want to come across as pushy?).
They typically wait for the shopper to make the final decision and say, “I’d like to buy this”.
But I want to explain why asking for the sale is so important to your business’ success…
WHY YOU MUST ASK FOR A SALE
Asking for a sale is like a call to action (CTA). Basically a “do this now” type of instruction for your shoppers. It seems too simple to be effective but there are many studies proving how a “sign up below”, “enter your email” or “buy now” prompt can increase conversion rates (how many people turn into subscribers or customers).
In most cases, people appreciate being told (nicely) what to do and when to do; it makes things simple.
Craft show shoppers tend to be a little less decisive when it comes to purchasing because they’re not usually looking for something specific.
When we head to the mall, we usually have something in mind to buy: an outfit for a wedding, new shoes for working out, a new bag for school, etc.
Craft shows are about discovering new products. Because we aren’t usually planning to buy an amazing handmade scarf, pair of earrings or piece of art, we sometimes look for, or require, a sign indicating it’s the right decision to buy.
That sign often comes in the form of you asking for the sale. At which point, the shopper is forced to make a decision.
WHY YOU SHOULD HELP WITH DECISION MAKING
You’re not forcing someone to buy by asking for a sale; you’re simply forcing them to think about if they want an item or not.
WHEN IT’S A NO
If it’s a “no”, don’t you want the shopper to kindly make room for someone who is interested in buying? 😉
When you come right out and ask, you uncover information that can help you adjust your marketing tactic.
- My favorite, a chuckle like they’re saying: oh god no, I’m not interested in buying, I just find your product entertaining, or they’re browsing your work and asking questions so they can attempt to make your items – let’s move them along so you can focus on shoppers who love your work and do want to buy.
- “No, I’m just looking” – get a feel as to whether they’re just passing time, or are interested, but not planning to buy that day. Considered getting them on your newsletter list.
- “No, I want it but my birthday is coming up and I should put it on my wish list” – hand them a business card with the product name, SKU number or details so they know what to pass on to their gift givers.
- “No, I need to think about it” – get them signed up for your newsletter so you have more opportunities to share the benefits of your products
WHEN IT’S A YES
Even when we’re quite certain we want something, there’s usually a little voice in the back of our heads questioning if we really need it.
It’s not that shoppers think your products aren’t worth the money. It’s that we’ve been conditioned to think spending is bad and we should hold onto our money as tightly as possible.
Spending helps drive the economy; don’t you want to help stimulate the economy? Then ask for the sale! 😉 Gently nudge them towards becoming a customer.
If someone has made up their mind and they’re ready to buy, get them to the checkout stat.
There are many things that can change a shopper’s mind in a matter of seconds so don’t let someone who’s ready to buy, linger.
- Someone else’s purchase being processed first and causing them to wait may turn a “yes” to a, “I don’t really need it” or an “I’ll get it later”.
- Their friend pulling them to another table, saying they’re ready to go or not having as enthusiastic of a reaction to the item can also encourage them to put it back down.
- Thinking about what else they have to do that day and remembering they have to fill their car with gas and go grocery shopping…maybe I shouldn’t spend money on this item.
Once you ask for the sale and they admit, out loud, they’re interested in buying an item, they become even more committed.
Asking for a sale creates a simple “yes” or “no” situation. Consumers want decisions to be easy. Just check out this article, which is proof we’re willing to spend more when things are easier.
HOW TO ASK FOR THE SALE WITHOUT COMING ACROSS AS PUSHY
We’re not going for “How many can I put you down for today?” So fear not, I’m not asking you to do anything that will tarnish your reputation and brand you as a pushy sales person.
Not everyone who stops by your booth will need you to close the sale but many are just a small question away from pulling out their wallets.
WATCH FOR SIGNS
Asking for the sale can come across as pushy when someone’s not actually interested in buying.
Sort of like my husband asking every night if I want a blizzard; eventually I had to tell him to please stop trying to push blizzards on me. Now he knows to watch for signs that I might want one.
You must pay attention to the signs shoppers give you at a craft show and notice when they’re an interested shopper on the verge of buying.
PHASE 1 – INTERESTED
My husband would never ask me if I want a blizzard before we eat dinner, he knows that’s too early to ask for the sale.
Obviously, you don’t want to ask a shopper if they’re ready to pay after they pick up their first item. Wait for them to:
- Get past the beginning of your display/table/booth
- Browse through your work
- Engage in conversation with you
Once they reach the “interested” phase, watch for signs they’ve moved into the “committed” phase.
PHASE 2 – COMMITTED
Some people only make it to “interested” and don’t quite get to this step. That’s okay; you can’t force a sale.
Asking someone if they’re ready to buy when they don’t have anything in their hands and haven’t zeroed in on an item isn’t going to help you make more sales.
People may be going from “interested” to “committed” when they:
- Go back to a particular item
- Ask questions about a specific item
- Hold an item in their hands while continuing to browse
- Spend several minutes looking at an item
- Try an item on (such as an accessory)
- Show their shopping partner the item and ask their opinion
Nowwwww you can ask for the sale.
ASKING FOR THE SALE
I know it’s not easy to ask for a sale but it doesn’t have to be as forward as it sounds.
“Can you buy that?” is asking for a sale but really isn’t what we’re going for.
Instead, see if one of the following questions would be more comfortable for you to ask:
- Would you like me to wrap that up for you?
- Have you decided on that item?
- Would you like me to put that aside while you continue to browse?
- Is the item for you or is it a gift? I can gift-wrap it for you if you like?
- Did you want to wear that out? I can take the tag off for you?
If you’re unsure if the shopper is on the verge of buying or you don’t feel comfortable enough to come right out and ask for the sale, you can try more subtle tactics such as:
- Did you have any questions about that item? – This question can help you see where they’re at or guide them towards making a decision. They may reply with “No, I’m ready to go with it”, let you know they need to think about it, or that they can’t decide on an option (at which point, you can help them decide). Or they may ask a question that let’s you point out key features that will sway their decision.
- What do you think about that item? – Get them to open up and share their thoughts about a product they’re focused on. This question is appropriate when dealing with reserved shoppers because it’s an open-ended question (Learn more about how to use open-ended questions to your advantage here). They may still keep their answer short (e.g. “It’s nice”) or they may share their thoughts, which allows you to answer questions and make a connection…which also helps encourage sales.
- Are you thinking about buying that item? – if a shopper is holding an item in their hands and you don’t want to ask for the sale, simply ask them to share their thoughts about buying. This can help you uncover and address any reservations. “I am but I don’t have any cash” gives you an opportunity to tell them you accept credit cards or that there’s a bank machine at the entrance. “I am but it’s a gift and I’m trying to decide if they’ll like it.” allows you to tell them how popular the item is for gift giving or that you allow exchanges within 30 days.
- Just so you’re aware … – You can point out a guarantee you offer, a promotion you may be running or a feature they may not be aware of that encourages a sale.
Consider which way of asking for a sale will feel most comfortable for you. That’s the key to any sales technique being effective; you must feel comfortable and confident.
If you feel uncomfortable, shoppers will feel uncomfortable and an uncomfortable shopper is less likely to buy.
Are you going to give this technique a try at your next craft show? Share you thoughts or questions about asking for the sale in the comments!