This article was written for introverts who aren’t keen on spending the whole day speaking and selling. But whether you love to talk or not, doesn’t everyone want a little help when it comes to selling? You can either do it all yourself and explain your products and vision to each customer or you can add some silent sellers to your craft fair booth to help you get the job done.
Here are 10 elements to have in place to help introverts (or anyone) make sales at a craft fair.
Obviously you need products to make sales but more product does not equal more sales. The more products you have the more you must speak and spend energy explaining the story behind a product, how it works, materials/ingredients, etc. One clear focus means one clear message which is much easier to communicate (or to let signage, display and tags do the talking).
There’s something about trying to fit too many different products and ideas on a craft fair table that instantly lowers the value of them and turns shoppers away. When they have to search for purpose or understanding, they’re less likely to stick around long enough to pick something out.
A table full of candles, purses, scarves, keychains, and blankets doesn’t make a shopper go wow! I can find everything at this table! I’m going to buy a ton of stuff. It makes them question if the vendor actually has all the skills needed to make the items or if that blanket is going to unravel once they get it home.
This causes introverts to step up their speaking and selling skills to explain each item on their table and convince the shopper it is a good choice for them.
It also makes the shopper’s decision to purchase harder.
Quick! Chicken or beef for dinner tonight? Easy decision right? Now what if 10 more options were thrown into the mix, you had to think about the different ingredients to buy, the instructions and how long it will take to make. After a long day of work, if dinner requires more than a chicken or beef type of decision, I’ll skip the dinner options altogether and go for a bowl of cereal.
Shoppers feel the same when faced with too many buying decisions. It’s not; look at all these options! I’m so excited to sift through all of them. It’s more of a “Oi, so much to choose from. I like this one but don’t know how I’d wear it. This one is nice too but I already have something similar, I wonder if it comes in another color…I don’t see it. I love the color of this one but maybe I like the style of this one better….
You can sell a variety of items but there should always be a clear theme. Are the items to keep you warm? To display in your home? To keep you clean?
Within that theme there should be a direction. Do you cater to a specific style, color scheme or need? If you sell scarves you may focus on the customer who loves chunky knits in pastel colors. If you sell home items, you may have pieces that appeal to someone who loves vintage style. If you make bath and body products, you may focus on soaps and creams for really dry skin.
Having a limited selection helps the shopper focus and easily find the benefits of your products. It also allows introverts to give their pitch once instead of explaining 10 different types of products and their features and benefits. When shoppers have too many decisions to make, they become overwhelmed and just won’t make one at all.
Collections are another way to clearly communicate a message without speaking. Imagine seeing a blue and white striped handbag among floral printed bags, polka dot fabrics and a variety of colors. You’d simply think there’s a blue and white bag.
But if you group that bag with other bags that are also blue and white, have gold accents and little anchor trinkets attached to the zippers, you’d immediately think “Nautical”, imagine the whole look, know how to wear it and get an idea for the inspiration behind the products.
If you sell chunky knit scarves in pastels you may offer the following color collections:
Or you may decide to split your collections by style and offer blush pink, cream and heather grey in:
The vendor who sets up their table with a clear direction and speaks to a defined customer will always have more success than the vendor who stacks a wide variety of products mile high, without a vision.
Before you even start building inventory for a craft fair, decide what types of collections you want to offer and how many you’ll have (if you’re looking for a little help and direction in this area, download the free chapter MAKING PRODUCTS THAT PROFIT which will walk you through building your collections). By starting with a clear end goal, you’ll have a much easier time getting there.
Your collections then work to communicate a specific look, purpose, vibe, etc. to the shoppers and make a bold statement that catches the eye.
This first images shows a variety of colors, styles and prints of handbags
Organize them into collections and you have two clear stories:
You’ve now got color statements that compliment each other, groupings that show shoppers the vibe of the collections and a table that has bold statements to catch the eye. Shoppers will immediately be drawn to their favorite color combos instead of having to search and wonder if you have anything that fits their style.
When I started selling handbags at craft shows, I ransacked my home and emptied out baskets to use as props. The problem was; they didn’t work with my branding and they weren’t exactly functional. Everything that surrounds your products at a craft fair will either add or detract from their value so it’s important to get them right.
They also need to help communicate your vision. Everything you put on your table does not need to be for sale. If you’re selling bath and body products, adding a couple candles, a novel and a bucket with wine and a glass will help your customer imagine a tub full of bubbles and a relaxing night in.
Props help tell a story so introverts don’t have to.
Start with a really clear idea of what you want your message to be. Once you know that, you can build on layers to create a branded, impactful, sales converting display. For more direction, join my free 5 day challenge.
It’s really easy to leave signage as an afterthought but doesn’t a printed sign in a font that matches your brand look more professional than some information scribbled on scrap paper and set in front of products?
Text should be kept to a minimum but clearly communicate a message. Think about pop ups or billboards that grab your attention. There’s one line of text with just a few words and the text gets more descriptive but smaller as you move down the message.
If signage is done properly, it can communicate your sales pitch for you.
Get creative and think outside the box. The packaging you place your products in or the labels you place on them can help set your products apart and encourage more sales. Packaging is another piece of the puzzle that helps communicate a vision so introverts don’t have to.
Can you imagine if these eggs came in a regular, rectangular shaped carton?
They’d be just another egg on the shelf and you likely wouldn’t even notice them, let alone be drawn to them. A simple change in the shape of the packaging made all the difference in this scenario.
Have a read through the packaging section of the free sample chapter from MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS. It will explain the importance of packaging and what you should be thinking about.
Another great exercise is to take a look at how products similar to yours are typically packaged and brainstorm how you can go in the opposite direction.
If you can do something completely different from your competitors, it will give you an advantage when it comes to standing out and showing shoppers why they should buy from you.
Similar to packaging, you want your tags to be in line with your branding and message. Don’t just slap a price sticker to the bottom of your products. Choose a material and method that strengthens your brand.
If you don’t believe something as small as a tag can have an impact on how shoppers perceive your products, think about when you see a bright orange or red price sticker on something. Don’t you automatically think the item is going to be cheaply priced?
When you spot that red tag and are expecting a cheap price, you’re going to be turned off buying if the price is much higher than you anticipated.
The same idea works at a craft fair. If you’ve scribbled some prices on stickers that are roughly cut up and placed on your items, it detracts from the overall experience for the shopper and they’re likely going to place a lower number on that item than what’s written on the tag.
Introverts then must put more effort into selling.
Use tags to communicate some of your products’ selling points. Your tags can silently sell by sharing important benefits, ingredients, uses, etc.
You are representing your brand at a craft show and if you show up in a t-shirt and sweatpants, you may be altering the way shoppers perceive your brand.
If you’re selling elegant, high-end jewelry, dress the part. This not only shows shoppers how your pieces can be worn without you having to tell them, it also gives you credibility.
How much would you assume someone selling 50’s pinup style pieces knows about the era when they’re dressed in gothic style?
Shoppers are looking for an authentic experience when they shop at craft fairs and are looking to see if you not only talk the talk but also walk the walk.
If you look bored or un-enthused, shoppers are going to get the wrong impression. Craft fairs have a laid back atmosphere so it’s easy to get a little more relaxed with the way you act but always keep it professional.
How would you want someone to act in your booth if you had hired them to represent your business and sell your products for the day? You wouldn’t want them to have their nose in a book, gossip with other vendors, chow down on their lunch and talk to shoppers with a mouth full of food or in general look un-enthused to be there.
People are attracted to energy and always gravitate towards those who are welcoming.
Be aware of your mannerisms and act as though you’re having the best day ever.
Also be mindful of the way your handle your products and display them throughout the day.
A purchase that’s shoved into a used grocery bag holds a lot less value than one that’s neatly folded, wrapped, placed in a branded bag and handed to the customer with a smile and a thank you.
Customers often remember you by the small details, which help them make the decision whether or not they want to purchase from you again.
Take the time to come out from behind your table throughout the sale and check how your product is looking. Move things around, tidy displays and ensure your space looks as good near the end of the day as it did at the beginning.
Cramped spaces, too-fragile-to-touch, too hot, too cold or vendors who seem too cool for school all make shoppers feel uncomfortable and nobody wants to stay in a situation that doesn’t feel right.
If you know it’s going to be a hot day and you’re selling at an outdoor market, give your shoppers some relief from the heat (there are some awesome ideas in this article: WANT TO ATTRACT SHOPPERS LIKE MAD AT YOUR NEXT OUTDOOR MARKET? TRY THIS FUN IDEA). If you’re participating in an annual event that gets crazy busy, consider foregoing the craft fair table for some vertical shelves so shoppers can step out of the busy aisles and take their time browsing your products.
This is helpful for introverts because if your shoppers are uncomfortable, it’s going to make you uncomfortable, more stressed and make it a struggle to encourage sales.
When you keep your shoppers comfort in mind, they may not directly notice but they will find themselves wanting to stick around longer. And when you don’t, they will notice and hightail it out of there.
If there’s a way to help shoppers experience your products before they commit, they’ll feel much more confident about purchasing.
Instead of introverts having to tell shoppers about features, they can check them out for themselves through samples.
Food items, hand creams, scented candles, etc. can all have a sample out for shoppers to try. But if you’re selling something that can’t be “sampled”, do your best to allow the shopper to envision how the product will look in their lives, outside the craft fair.
Allow people to try on accessories in a comfortable space or create vignettes to show how décor items might look in a home. The more your shoppers can imagine themselves using your product, the more likely they are to buy (check out this article: 1 TRICK RETAILERS USE TO GET YOU TO BUY AND HOW YOU CAN USE IT IN YOUR HANDMADE BUSINESS)
Finally understand why your hard work isn't resulting in more sales
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