When you’re preparing for a craft show, you (the vendor) should be doing your part to help promote the event.
However, if you’ve tried everything and shoppers aren’t showing up, here are a few tips to turn the situation around, even if you won’t be making many sales.
1 – STAY OPEN
Slow craft shows are frustrating. And usually, all I could think about was how much time and money I wasted on the event and what I’m going to do with all the stock. That doesn’t leave me with a very welcoming expression or vibe.
You don’t want to drive away the few customers that are there by looking unhappy. Or give other vendors the wrong impression (people like being around others who make them feel better and lift them up), or burn your bridge with the organizer in the case that this slow show was just a fluke and they generally attract big crowds.
As hard as it may seem, keep a positive attitude.
Even if you don’t believe in the theory that positive thoughts attract positive experiences, consider how you’d rather feel all day; if traffic is slow and there’s nothing you can do about it, do you want to have a slow day and feel crappy or have a slow day and feel good?
The mind mimics the body to fake a smile until you’re feeling better.
2 – WORK ON YOUR SELLING SKILLS
When you don’t have many shoppers, that gives you lots of time with each one.
Take that extra time to work on your selling skills and to point out the benefits of your products and product features.
With less stimulation around you, you can tune into a shopper’s reaction as they browse your products and as you share more details about them. Which selling techniques or sales pitches pique their interest.
You can use this information to make selling more effective at future events.
Also use the time to chat and get to know your shoppers too. You can ask for their feedback, get to know about the type of people who are interested in your products (e.g. demographics, psychographics, etc.). You never know who may own a shop that carries handmade goods or knows someone who may be a good connection for you.
3 – CONNECT WITH OTHER VENDORS
You’ll have some free time to walk around and chat with other sellers at the event and get to know people who share the same interests as you.
You may gather some valuable information from more seasoned vendors if you take the time to ask about their business, what type of craft shows they typically participate in, how they’re going to deal with this slow show, etc.
There may also be an opportunity to work with another vendor in the future to help grow each other’s businesses.
4 – GET OTHER WORK DONE
If you’ve followed my Craft Show Checklist, you’ve packed something to do in case of slow times.
It may be an attraction for some people to stop and see what you’re making. Pull out your yarn and needles or jewelry supplies and work on a project to pass the time but be sure to stop when someone comes to your table.
If you can’t bring your craft to the show, consider working on an article for your blog, developing a marketing plan that helps you sell all the stock you’re going to be left with, or download one of my ebooks and start learning! 😉
5 – WORK ON PHOTOGRAPHY
If you’ve done the work to set up an effective craft show display, your products should be set up in a visually pleasing way that helps sell them (see 5 DAYS TO A STANDOUT DISPLAY).
Take some photos of your products set up on your table. These photos can be added to your online listings to add more perspective.
For example, when a handbag is displayed next to the matching wallet and clutch, it gives shoppers a better idea of the size of each item and it’s a photo that will also promote my other products.
You can also use these photos when applying to future craft shows (next time you can do a bit more research to determine which events will be best for your business. Check out MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS for tips on that, as well as other money-making factors.
At the best of craft shows, it’s usually a mad dash to get set up and settled before customers come streaming in. I almost always forgot to take a photo of my display, but most craft show organizers want to see a photo of it with your application.
That extra time allows you to get every element just right and take your time snapping several photos to get the perfect shot. You can even ask another vendor to take a photo of you standing behind your table…or get a couple of vendors to pretend they’re shopping your table to portray how your booth typically attracts lots of shoppers. Organizers love to see that.
If you’re at a slow craft show right now, you can sign up for my FREE email course: 5 DAYS TO A STANDOUT DISPLAY and start thinking about how you’ll apply the first lesson to your next event (you’ll receive the first email immediately).
Or download MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS if you don’t want to wait for each lesson and want more details on every money-making aspect of selling at craft shows.
You may also be interested in:
- How to Promote a Craft Show Last Minute
- How Much Promotion Craft Show Organizers Expect from Vendors
Hey, I’m Erin 🙂 I write about small business and craft show techniques I’ve learned from being a small business owner for almost 2 decades, selling at dozens of craft shows, and earning a diploma in Visual Communication Design. I hope you find my advice helpful!