8 top tips for making the most of craft fairs
These tips apply equally to craft fairs, wedding fairs and Christmas fairs!!
1. Do your RESEARCH!!
This is so important; make sure that the fair you are attending will be attended by buyers who will want what you are selling!!! Your chances of selling handcrafted jewellery or hand stitched quilts at a fair for toy enthusiasts!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions to the event host:
- how many stalls there will be?
- will there be others selling the same as you?
- will there be electricity available?
- does the host have a way to accept credit card payments?
- How many visitors for they expect?
- How will the fair be promoted?
The more you know about the event the easier it is to plan for.
Make sure your name and logo is displayed clearly, with your website address if you have one. You want customers who love what you do to be able to find you outside of the craft fair too! Keep your branding consistent so that if someone visits your website they know they are in the right place because everything ‘feels’ the same.
You do this by keeping everything co-ordinated across your business. If your products are colourful, loud and fun then make your craft stall like that too – be true to your business across all platforms.
First impressions count in attracting people to visit your stall – so appeal to your ideal customer!
Example: if you want to appeal to mom’s who have children in tow don’t have a pristine white and clean stall!
3. Help your customer with your layout!
Sometimes less is more!
If you clutter your stall with too much choice you can confuse your customers and they don’t know where to look first and walk away in a daze. So be clear about what you are selling, and don’t fill up your space for the sake of it.
Keep extra stock under your stall that you can pull out to talk to your customers about – it gives you an extra reason to talk to them and find out how you can help them. You don’t have to show everything, especially if space is tight!
If electricity is available then use lighting to ‘spotlight’ products, if there is no electricity can you use battery powered lights to draw people’s eyes? If not an option then you can use splashes of colour to drive eyes around your table.
If you sell wearable items then encourage visitors to your stall to try on – have a mirror so they can admire themselves wearing your work! A fab technique is to let people feel and hold and experience the quality of work for themselves – once your customers are holding an item it is harder to put down!
4. Be approachable!
Wear a smile, a piece of your own work (if appropriate) and be friendly.
Some customers will want to talk to you and ask advice others will be shy and just want to look.
If you are nervous then script yourself some opening questions to start engaging anyone who approaches your stall.
‘If you need any help please ask’ is an easy one but a better opener is ‘Is there anything in particular you are looking for today?’
This can generate a conversation about how they are looking for a gift for someone or a treat for themselves. A really nice trick here is to know what other stalls are selling and to be able to offer solutions from other stalls if your products don’t quite do the job! Don’t try and squeeze a round peg into a square hole by making your products fit! Customers will appreciate your honesty and integrity!
5. Be prepared for FAQ and objections
You know your products better than anyone and you will know what your customers concerns are – they are often the same regardless of where they buy! So make sure you have clear answers ready or you have even dealt with the issues before they arise. Being prepared is key here.
If you sell knitted items a concern maybe how they wash – so have a sheet with washing instructions and an example of an item which has been washed following those instructions.
Often when buying people create excuses about why they can’t buy, sometimes these can involve price. Plan your responses to the most common so you don’t feel tongue tied. The best way to counter a price issue is to talk about the benefits and added value. Address why your handmade products are better because you only use the finest materials, everything is made carefully by you personally. Explain the benefits of the material you choose and why.
6. Grab their attention
What can you do that will make your stall stand out? This could be by having a theme, offering free sweets or stickers, even by having music – if you are allowed. Or by having a video or slideshow of your work being displayed (tablets are great for this)
Often themes are set by the occasion – if you are selling at a Christmas fair then you would be silly not to have a Christmas feel to your stall. But at a craft fair if you are selling handmade birthday cards why not dress your stall for a birthday party?
Try and be original on a level that will appeal to your ideal customer!!
If you customer will have children with them come up with a solution which will help minimise the distraction they cause – maybe have a small colouring in section. If you sell jewellery make this a design your own jewellery colouring competition, or colour in your own jumper.
You need to grab attention and then make it as easy as possible for your customer to stay and browse.
7. Collect customer details!
This is by far the best way to maximise your day. Offer a giveaway (not drawn on the day), or an incentive of some kind (the children’s colouring competition idea above) to collect your customers and potential customers email addresses. Make sure they know that they will be added to your mailing list, and that you won’t spam them or sell their details and that they are free to unsubscribe t anytime.
Then when you are finished for the day you can add the emails to your Mailchimp account (or whoever it is you use to manage your list) and send them an email thanking them for visiting you today with a link to your website or Facebook page – or wherever you want them to be able to find you and to let them know you will be drawing the winner on x date and to wish them luck. Do not try and sell in this email simply thank them for their time. If you are emailing a customer who purchased from you at the fair then thank them for their purchase too.
This enables you to stay in touch with people who like what you do – they obviously like buying handcrafts or they wouldn’t visit a craft fair, and if they were happy to give you their email address they like what you make and want to hear from you!!
Make sure you follow up!!!
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale
Not in a pushy way but in a friendly conversational way!!
Look out for signs that your customer is interested – a big one is pulling their purse out!! But otherwise the way they are asking questions also makes a difference. Sometimes you won’t need to ask but make sure you aren’t afraid to ask – simply saying something like, ‘I can see you are tempted, would you like to buy this today?’ And then stay quiet!
This is where you can lose the sale by talking, wait for your customer – they are taking time to think and to assess the decision – give them that time!
If someone isn’t ready to buy that is fine, now might not be the right time. So share your business card, and collect their details by offering them the chance to enter your giveaway.
If they choose to buy then ask for their email address so you can stay in touch with them and enter them into your giveaway.
Tip: If you can accept credit cards make sure you have a sign on your stall – make it as easy as possible for your customers!!
Final tip: When you are planning your craft stalls make sure you think about it for the customer’s perspective.
Do you have a top tip? tell me in the comments below.