When I bring my husband to Farmers’ Markets or craft shows that will have food vendors, I know we better have full wallets. Just the other day we made a quick trip to our local Farmers’ Market for 2 things and 2 things only. Just as we were about to head out, a question came from behind a table selling salsa and we immediately stopped and headed over.
Although we weren’t in the market for salsa, we ended up buying some anyway. So what was that question?…..
Would you like to try?
The question was more specifically “would you like to try some salsa”.
But a version of this can be used for a variety of businesses. Which might be:
- Would you like to…see how it works?
- Would you like to…hear why this jewelry is different/better/environmentally friendly/etc.? (insert a benefit to the customer here)
- Would you like to…feel how soft my cashmere scarves are?
- Would you like to…try a piece on?
- Would you like to…smell my new lemon scent?
It’s obviously easier to apply “would you like to try _______” to food than something like jewelry, however, you should be able to make a version of the question work for your business and get shoppers to stop in their tracks and head over.
Keep reading for tips to apply a shopper-stopping question to any product!
If we weren’t big salsa eaters, we would have politely declined and kept walking. However, my husband loves chips and salsa as a snack so he gave it a try. It was, of course, delicious and we walked away with a jar, regardless of the fact that we have 2 full jars at home.
She didn’t even have “spicy” salsa in stock, which is my husband’s favorite. She had sold the majority of her stock and only had 3 lonely jars of mild salsa left sitting on her table….and she still turned us into happy customers!
While he was taste testing, she didn’t get overly salesy, she just told us a bit about the ingredients and how she makes the salsa.
We could have easily said “it’s really good but we don’t need any salsa today”, however, after trying hers, tasting how much better it is than mass-produced salsa, and making a bit of a personal connection with her, we were sold. We’d much rather support her than Tostitos 😉
Why does this question work so well at turning shoppers passing by into customers? A few reasons:
1 – Who turns down free stuff? (even if that’s an experience or valuable information)
The first step to getting a sale at a craft show is getting them to stop at your table.
If you don’t have free food to offer, think of another question you can ask that will pique their interest.
Can you give away something small like a pin or bookmark?
If the event allows it, you could even offer a small food or beverage item.
- Would you like some chai tea to sip on while looking at my artwork?
If you can’t give an item away to each customer, consider holding a draw for 1 larger prize and ask shoppers if they’d like to stop and enter their name.
Once they’re at your table, take a second to tell them about the product they’ll be winning or what it is you’re selling.
If it’s not a fit for you to give an item away, what type of knowledge can you share for free?
Maybe you can show them something interesting, like how one of your products is made, how it works, or the benefits shoppers may be unaware of.
- Would you like to see the difference between single and triple-plated jewelry?
- Feel the difference between my cashmere scarves and acrylic scarves…there’s a sample right there.
- Have you heard about the benefits of charcoal soap?
Most shoppers don’t want to be rude and will take a minute to stop and listen.
Don’t take advantage of this though; pick up on their cues and take pauses so the shopper has a chance to say “no thank you” or keep moving if they want to.
As a shopper at a craft show, I once had a vendor selling Norwex cloths stand in my path so I had to stop at their table. They went into their sales pitch and did not give me a chance to say “no thanks” or “sounds good, I’ll look around”. Her pushy tactics ended up annoying me so much that I didn’t buy…even though it was the first time I had heard of the product and did, in fact, find it interesting.
2 – It’s an easy question to ask
It doesn’t take a whole lot of courage to ask the question and if people aren’t interested, they’ll just keep walking. The first few that turn you down may sting a bit more but it will get easier as the day goes on.
If offering a sample isn’t a fit for your business, brainstorm questions that are quick and easy to ask, and feel natural.
You don’t want to say something like: “Can I put you in a new hat and scarf today?” It’s not a natural question to ask and feels extremely sales-y.
“Have you purchased organic wool products before?” could be a better fit and get shoppers interested.
3 – Once people try, they’re more likely to buy
This is the reason large companies are willing to send out free samples. Once you get the product into consumers’ hands, they have more confidence in their purchasing decisions.
Homemade and handmade products have qualities you just can’t beat when compared to mass-produced.
When you can show people the difference and they experience it firsthand, it encourages them to purchase because you’ve lowered the risk of them buying something they’re not going to like.
If asking a question simply isn’t a fit for your product, don’t force it.
It will feel unnatural for you and the customer and may push shoppers away.
Instead, you could try one of the tips in this article:
- 10 WAYS FOR INTROVERTS TO SELL MORE WITHOUT SPEAKING
- HOW TO START A CONVERSATION WITH ANYONE AND OPEN THE DOORS TO SELL
- 3 TIPS TO AVOID AWKWARD SILENCE AT A CRAFT SHOW
And always be sure you’re following local laws:
You may also be interested in:
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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!