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Hi all; I have been doing craft fairs for a little while, and I have a decent product; my downfall is the selling point; I have tried to find older posts - for some reason, my "forum" now displays horribly like old HTML layout - which makes this impossible - but how do you engage customers, without running them off, but at the same time, acknowledging them and increasing sales? I always greet them, watch body language to see how to proceed next; I don't pounce on them if they are "just looking"...but I can't seem to find a way that works for me....any suggestions?

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I wrote a blog post about my approach to salesmanship.

http://www.goodelephant.com/blog/the-art-festival-plan-part-4

If you don't want to read the whole thing, it can be summed up as this: Make every person who enters your booth feel like they are welcome to stay as long as they want without buying anything. 

Also consider that salesmanship is not your problem. There are so many factors that determine sales. You might be prcing your work incorrectly, or you might be choosing bad shows. 

Pieter Mostert likes this

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Great advice in Mea’s blog.

Not everyone is good at booth sales but I believe everyone can be taught to do it better.

Smile ... it works wonders, makes you feel good and makes browsers feel welcome.

Stand ... nothing more off putting than the salesperson jumping up and coming towards you.

Speak ... not kidding ... have had lots of potters not even speak to me when I entered their booth space. Just a “Hello””Nice day!””Welcome” works to break the ice.  Welcome folks then leave them alone to look but stay aware in case they have a question.

Dont ask any questions they can answer with “no” ... or “just looking”.

 

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Thank you - will read the blog you posted (GEP)....I did read that standing gives a much better presence than sitting - will try that :)  I just started pottery a few years ago, most of the items I have now are decorative; I know I need more functional things, which will help.  Maybe that is a followup question - if you have items that are more "decorative" - how do you sell a vase lol; I have done hang tags which has been suggested on here, I also have setup examples which has helped.

One more question - what do you do with your items that are not 100%?  Example: I had some jewelry cups for earrings and brushes that the glaze was too think n the bottom; they are still nice and functional, just not as perfect as I like.  do you put them on a "markdown" shelf?  Do you throw them away so you don't have a "shelf of shame" lol - 

thank you all - appreciate the help

C.

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I spend most of my booth time sitting, but I use a high stool so I am still close to eye level with most customers. I have problem feet which probably wouldn't tolerate standing all day. I just bought a cushion my chair, so now my backside will be comfortable too. 

Combining decorative and functional in one booth is tricky business. I wouldn't do it. What sells the best is a cohesive body of work that you really love to make. In all of my years of art fairs, I've never seen a mixed booth having good sales.

Imperfect pieces are saved for my annual Open Studio. They don't come with me to shows. I meet lots of new people at every show, and I want to make a good first impression. My Open Studio guests are people who already know me and my work. They deserve to get the bargains, and in that context they're not going to wonder if I understand the word "quality."

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Keep your seconds as Mea says for other venues not shows.

I used to save mine for home sales but gave  up home sales after 19 years of them. Now I take them to one local show that is a lot of students whole look for seconds. I now save them for that deal.

Edited by Mark C.

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Ask open questions: instead of asking someone if they’re looking for something (which can be answered with a yes or a no), ask them what they’re looking for, or who they’re shopping for today, and then help them find a piece. (Help solve problems).  I also will invite people to touch things in my booth, to give them a chance to enjoy the tactility of the pieces. (If people hold things, it can give them a sense of ownership.)

Edited by Callie Beller Diesel
Adding info
Min, RonSa, D.M.Ernst and 1 other like this

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One more thing I just thought of, which comes in handy often. Sometimes it's easy to guess that the person in your booth is also a potter, based on how they inspect your pots or something they say. "You must be a potter" is a great conversation starter, and I genuinely like hearing them talk about their work and their path. Other potters are great customers!

D.M.Ernst, cloudhutworks and Pres like this

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 I try to stand, but a long day makes it hard. It's also quite a thigh burner, if you're getting out of a chair every time someone walks up.I'm looking for a tall stool to prop against. I engage people, it may be off putting to some, but I feel like I see money walking off, if I just sit and occupy myself. My only other choice is to be actually working on something, like a demo.

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Most folks have a high chair(also know as sales chairs)-I own one but never use it. I always use two low  custom padded chairs as my table is lower (32 inch and has a registered  on it) and my paper roller is upright and my wrapper needs a chair. I never get up for every customer.I will stand a lot at register during a busy day.

If you jump up at every customer looking thats not good for anyone-People do not expect you be up for every looker.I tend to be way casual about this point. I do what feels natural.Also different setups require different approaches . My last 15 day sale has a sit down sales station -you need top sit with cash box and low wrapping setup.

good shoes and  insert supports are a must-also what you stand on can help you.

I'm a tall person so its harder to get up and down.Its easier to stay up often

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We have a couple of folding directors chairs with the footrests.  Much taller than a regular chair height so I can slide off it and I'm about the same height standing as when sitting so it's not like I'm jumping up in peoples face when I get off it to talk. I stand most of the time but do use the chair when things slow down. I also like having the full back support rather than a backless stool. 

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IKEA is about a 12 hour drive-round trip in SF area.

I have been to one once. back in the 90s.

Min -I used those chairs in the 70-80s and moved to lighter better made chairs although some of those wood ones where made like tanks and held up well.

Back in the day 30 years ago serious craft fair folks all had handmade wood tall chairs-they slowly got replaced with aluminum high toppers(I have one)

That are light and tall.I think your packing station height will dictate the chair height.My sales table is a tall one and I keep a bag box under it as well as a 12 volt car battery jumper which I invert power to run cash register on table top-sales tax rate programed in.I make draws when the bills pile up.I also keep my visa capture (mini I pad) on top of register.

I keep the big bills in money pouch on my body always.

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