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Making Money From Craft Show Customer Service!
Thrill of all thrills—you've got a potential buyer in your booth! Now what? First smile, make eye contact, greet the customer and start a simple conversation—anything but, "Can I help you?" Walk the fine line between being available and being pushy. And definitely never sit in a corner reading a novel! Ask questions to create a personal connection like, "Are you looking for a gift or for yourself? "What colors do you enjoy best?" "What are your favorite styles of crafts?"
Buyers often come to craft shows to see unusual objects and meet the artists, so give them what they came for. Explain briefly about your crafts and how you make them—if it's a unique process. Talk about a specific item they may be showing an interest in—strictly from an informational standpoint. Listen, answer any questions and take feedback openly.
Don't assume anything about a potential customer—treat everyone with respect and attention. However, don't cater to extremely difficult or rude visitors who have something negative to say about everything: "I can make that myself!" "I saw one just like that at another booth for half the price!" Just smile and say okay. Or you can say something pleasant like, "You may have difficulty finding everything you need to create something like this" or, "All my items are original designs and I don't think anyone has copied them!"
Don't take negativity or rejection personally—everyone will have an opinion! As long as the majority of people don't feel that way about your crafts, you'll do fine. You'll never please everyone and not everyone will buy from you, but everyone's comments can have some value. Learn from any comments that may be helpful—you may get clues as to future modifications or new items to create
If a customer seems prepared to buy and has some hesitation, practice some sales techniques for overcoming objections. Find out what the real problem is—whether a woman isn't sure her husband will like it or if it will fit in her home—and see how you can solve it. Can you offer to make a custom item, ship it later or call her husband on the phone? Offer cash, check or credit card options to make buying an easy process.
When you find real fans of your work, do what you can to turn them into collectors. Make sure they have your upcoming show schedule and contact information and you have theirs. Tell them you'll keep in touch and let them know when you produce new items. Also, send every customer a thank you e-mail or card when you return home. It's a very personal touch and only done by high-end stores with exceptional customer service.
When concluding a sale, learn to be efficient in wrapping the item, taking the payment, giving the customer a receipt, your card or brochure and getting them to leave their contact information. They can either sign your guest book or fill out a form and drop it in a box for a drawing. Your expedience in finishing a sale allows you to move on to other customers who may be waiting for your attention. Have lots of pens, receipt books, shopping bags and marketing materials. You may also want to carry decorative gift boxes that would be easier to use for gifts than wrapping paper.
As you do more and more shows, you will come to create a profile of your ideal customer—their age, income bracket, interests, gender, how they dress, what they like, what they purchase most often and other characteristics that will help you plan your future craft items, pricing and display.
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