This may seem like a bit of an odd topic to write on but I
can tell you; being an introvert, who’s married to an extrovert, my thinking
and rationale is quite different from his. Not all introverts are the same and they’re often confused as being shy. Introversion does tend to go hand in hand with shyness but there are introverts who don’t mind the spotlight.
A general explanation of introverts is that their energy supply depletes as they spend time in social situations while extroverts often gain energy by being around lots of people.
This article isn’t to throw a blanket over introverts and what they like or how they act but rather to explain a craft show through my world. The tips below are also a good guideline to follow when it comes to any shopper. Introverted or extroverted, people want to feel comfortable when they shop.
Be busy but welcoming
I have to be honest; I’m more likely to stop by a booth to
browse when the vendor has other shoppers in there or is partially occupied
behind their table. This is not to say you should ignore customers however it
can be a little intimidating to walk over and browse a table when you feel like
the vendor is going to be watching your every move. Have a smile on your face as
people walk by and glance up from a task or conversation, but don’t stare each
person down as though you’re willing them to stop in.
Try to make a connection
It’s a common trait of introverts to not love small talk. This one is true for me. I sort of feel like ‘what’s the point?’ Why talk about little things neither of us really care about or connect on? This isn’t to say I’d rather stand there in awkward silence than chit chat about the weather. But I am saying that I am way more likely to stick around and buy if I feel like I’m connecting with you. It would be near impossible to discover what each shopper’s passions are within a few seconds but this is where specific branding and niches come into play. If you attract the right people to your table, you know you share some common interests based on the products you sell, the problems you solve, the causes you care about, the esthetics you love, etc.
Break the ice with some general topics but try to find something that’s not just surface level to share. I cover this topic extensively in my e-book. Check it out here if you feel like you need a bit of direction when it comes to conversation starters, finding your ‘why’ (or what makes your products exceptional) and a way to share it that doesn’t feel awkward. Through advice and worksheets, I’ll walk you through perfecting not just the sales pitch but the whole selling process so you and your shoppers feel comfortable and you build a loyal community of customers.
Make your setup
easy to shop
If there’s the slightest chance that I might cause a scene
by picking something up, I’ll just leave it alone. I don’t want to worry about
bumping into something, ruining a display or having to ask to see something
that’s not accessible. When you’re working with limited space it’s
hard to have everything within reach but try to view it from a customer’s
standpoint and not just a gotta-fit-more-stock-in standpoint. On the other side; try to keep it relaxed. You don’t want
your booth to look like a mess but having everything
perfectly in place like it’s never been touched can be a bit of a deterrent
when you want shoppers to pick items up and interact.
Don’t focus all your
attention on me
It really is a delicate line between not ignoring me but
being attentive (look at me…now don’t look at me…..look at me……now don’t look
at me). In a small space it can be hard to achieve this
balance but something as simple as tidying one side of your table while I shop
on the other or organizing your receipts while glancing up every so often can
make you available to chat without putting the focus on me. Watch for clues
that a shopper is interested in a particular item and use that as a cue to
explain a bit about it.
Have prices clearly
Even if I’m absolutely in love with a piece and feel like I
must have it, I don’t want to ask “how much?”….that would be silly 😉 If I ask
how much it is, it shows that I’m obviously interested in it and not buying the
item after you tell me the price might make you think that a) I think it’s
overpriced, or b) I can’t afford it. I may not be thinking either of those things
but I don’t want you to think that I am. If your prices aren’t clearly stated,
I’ll probably leave it be than risk feeling embarrassed if I decide to put it
Use signage for directions
may be obvious to you but a new shopper may not know what your items
are, if they should pick them up, smell them, taste them, etc. If
someone feels like they may be asking a dumb question (I know, I know…there are
no dumb questions) they may not bother to
ask at all. Use your signage to instruct people on what they should do.
Big booth you want people to walk through? Hang a sign reading “Come on in!”. Want people to try your
samples or sign up for your newsletter? Set up a couple table signs. Or maybe there’s a frequently asked question you want to make sure every shopper, not just the ones you get to talk to, know the answer to. “Ask me about custom orders”, “Can be worn 3 ways” or “Machine Washable” signs may be great silent sellers for you.
There you have it. A little glimpse into my introverted
world 🙂 It’s not to say all introverts think this way or that my thinking is rational,
they’re just some things to keep in mind when setting up and selling at a craft
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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!