I love love lovecraft shows, fairs and bazaars of all types. Since I spent many weekends at craft shows selling handmade soap to help bootstrap Bramble Berry, I have a very special place in my heart for crafters and artisans and try to buy as much as I can from small businesses represented at these shows.
- “I’m having a great time. There are lots of people to talk to.”
- “Isn’t the array of crafters incredible?”
- “It’s been a lot of fun!”
- “I’ve been getting good feedback on this product.”
- “The contacts I’ve made this weekend have been invaluable.”
- “I may have picked up a few new wholesale accounts so I’m thrilled”
- “This is a great place to test out new products.”
- “Oh my goodness, this is incredible; I’ve been getting so many goodies from other crafters here. You should definitely check out XYZ over there. They have great XYZs.”
- “I am so thankful that the weather has held up the way it has. It’s just so beautiful/warm/clear/crisp/inviting/balmy.”
- “The floor traffic is great. The promoters really did a wonderful job of getting a crowd in here.”
- “It’s been exciting to see what sells. Right now, my XYZ soap/lotion/bath fizzy/scrub is selling really well. I think it’s because it conveys happiness/the spirit of the season/calm/insert whatever adjective you want here.”
I was thinking about the downer soap lady on the way home and realized that not only did I not pick up and smell her soap – which is SO uncharacteristic of me, I love to smell everything – but then I felt a little off the shopping game at the next several booths. It’s as if she conveyed the attitude that we weren’t in the fun, cool shopping place, we were in the loser shopping place and it impacted my shopping. So it wasn’t until we hit the friendly soap booth that I thought about spending money again.
Shopping is so psychological!
She hit the nail on the head – shopping is psychological! People buy with their emotions and rationalize the choices later, after they’ve made the buying decision. So, when you’re at your craft shows this season, be sure to have handy phrases and a big smile to put on – even if your show isn’t what you expected. And you never know, by changing your own attitude, you may help to change the attitude of the customers in your booth helping to turn a so-so show into a great one.
Key West by Palms says
This is such a good story. Positive attitude brings positive attitude.
Your post hit it right on the head! I sometimes struggle with a negative attitude and work hard at being positive especially with customers or potential customers. We did a show a few weeks ago and because things are tight, we shared a booth with a friend who makes candles. She had a very bad attitude and was almost rude to the people who stopped by to sniff but didn't purchase. We always try to encourage people to smell our soaps, sometimes it leads to a purchase, other times just fun conversation. Needless to say, at the end of the weekend, we had done 4 times the business she did and she vowed never to do a craft show again. (Which is probably bet for everyone)
so true. I was at one last night and I wish I were just a bit sunnier! I wasn't a lumpy lump or a "terrible" spewer, but i wish I had more fizz in my step.
Another wonderful reminder! I'm usually considered an upbeat person, but I do have a habit of slipping into my "mas o menos" replies which doesn't help to elevate anyone's mood, including mine. I need to remember that everyone, not just potential customers, appreciates a bit of sunshine in their lives. 🙂
Wow, I'm surprised a vendor admitted that to you. I've been selling at craft shows for 7 years and would never say that to a customer no matter what I'm feeling. I always focus on the good things happening in my day.
Also if a customer isn't happy I do whatever I can to make it right whether it's a refund, a different product etc. Also I give them a full size bar of soap to let them know I appreciate their business(it happens rarely and I let the customer know how much I appreciate their feedback).
Great Article and this is so true…in fact I believe every time the news keeps reporting about double digit unemployment and it will continue to get worse, this causes people to tighten the purse strings further…thinking they may be next to lose theirs.
Me personally, I always try to keep things positive and I continue to add new products to stimulate interest and growth…if you remain stagnant, you can appear as though your company has stopped creating and developing new things. Even the smallest request by a single customer becomes my command and I meet that customers' need.
And negative comments must be ignored and in most cases I'll spin it the other way and then I'll flee from the negative person…they are what I call a time vampire. ie my blurb over at Indie business that you addressed Anne Marie on negative marketing tactics. Kind of puts a bad taste in your mouth and can set the tone for the day to be sure.
I love all of your videos..always so upbeat. Thanks for being here!
keeping the glass half full is always my goal 🙂
You are so right. Attitude is everything. It can make or break you. Funny how 1 negative comment can throw off the rest of the day. Glad a majority of the attendees were having a ball.
Kiptivio, Thanks for the heads up about the fan. Very cool news. And what a relief!
InnerEarthSoaps, Congrats on the engagement. What a wonderful story to illustrate the concept of being personable and friendly.
Milk and Cookeez, You are going to have such a fun time at your first holiday boutique. Your products are very inviting and packaged in a fun and appealing manner. I can't wai to hear how you do.
Sharon, Kudos to you for making the choice to be positive and upbeat. I hope that you see it reflected with either better holiday sales or with the way you feel at the end of the holiday sales season. Either would be a win.
You're spot on Anne-Marie! A positive, friendly attitude goes a long way and I always try to convey this to customers when I do markets.
A perfect example is when Nathan bought my engagement ring. We were at a handcrafted market and one stallholder was a jeweller. He had some some display engagement rings – just with cubic zirconia, but as examples of what he could make with diamonds. We stopped and had a quick look, and from the start the jeweller was fantastic. He urged me to try it on, then proceeded to point out the features (antique filigree on the shoulder, size of the diamond, etc), and to tell us all about the difference in cut & clarity of diamonds in relation to price, what types of gold were available and so on. We stayed and chatted to him for about 30 minutes. He was very personable and friendly, not pushy at all. he even told us a couple of stories about himself – how he got into jewellery-making and how he used to have a little jewllery shop nearby. In the end we walked away with his card, and the whole way home we couldn't stop talking about how friendly and nice he had been, and what good value the ring was, and how we hadn't seen anything like it before etc etc. We were really buzzing. Needless to say, Nathan emailed him a few weeks later and he made the engagement ring for us. We have now been engaged for 2 months 🙂
Long story short … make that connection with your customers! We would never have walked past the jeweller and just pointed at the ring and said "Can we have one of those please?". It was the whole experience that made it so special for us.
Anne-Marie, I've come back to this blog entry and re-read it several times. It has really impacted me — not only in regard to sales, but in regard to keeping a sunny disposition even though I'm dealing with some health problems right now.
Thanks for the inspiration and focus. 🙂
I TOTALLY agree with your post! Being Positive is the way to go! "Fake it 'til you make it!" should have been the downer soap lady's motto.
I went to a large juried craft fair this past weekend.. and walked out without buying anything. (Which is totally unlike me) Every booth I went to, it seemed like I was invading their space… or interrupting their day. There were no warm smiles, just looks of "Well, are you going to buy or not?". Maybe I'm just used to a response when I smile and greet someone… maybe these people thought that since it was a juried show, they were "above" meet & greet? Who knows! All I know, is that my money stayed safely tucked away in my wallet at the bottom of my purse.
I have a booth at a number of different venues throughout the year, and I ALWAYS smile and greet the people who wander through to see my products. Heck! I even smile and say "Hi" when I pass people on the street. (Yeah, that gets me odd looks too.. like I'm from another planet.. it's almost like people don't know how to be cordial anymore!) I wish more people would take the extra time to be friendly and share a smile.. not just when they're trying to sell something, but in their everyday life… I think it would make the world a much happier place! =o)
P.S. I put a fan on my bath bombs as soon as I frosted them this time, and haven't had a problem with dark spots. Maybe they just weren't drying out fast enough. (That sometimes happens in the Pacific Northwest) =o)
milk and cookeez says
What a great way to break it all down, thanks!
I will be doing my first Holiday Boutique in a about 10 days and Im so excited, and so nervous.
I have never sold at a true selling venue.
I have done meet and greets and Charity but no real selling places.
Even when I wasnt "Selling" at the events, i was selling! Not because I am a hard seller-far from it, but I kept up a happy face, wasn't pushy, but told people of the benifits of my products and caught their attention with my display-they wanted to visit.
If this woman would have just been a bit more enthusiastic, she may have sold a lot. Obviously you went to visit her with the hopes of finding something that interested you, but you couldn't buy anything because of the negativity.
Selling is Purely psychological-how else can Mc Donalds sell you an egg nog milkshake when everyone knows there is nothing eggnog about it? They make it warm and cozy and traditional, they remind you that tradition is why you need it. Sure, it tastes good, but it isnt egg nog with ice cream-they just make you feel like it is.
Sorry-I went off-my Psychology degree reared it's head-back to soaping 🙂
Cathy Winsby says
Great post Anne-Marie! I agree one hundred percent. Positive sells and negative does not!
I've found that no matter what the situation, a persons personal energy/emotions are contagious.
You know when you come home from work after having a great day, you're happy as a lark and BAM! someone at home is in a foul mood and you suddenly lose that happy feeling?
It's not pleasent then and it certainly isn't pleasent when you're the shopper.
Thanks for the reminder and great suggestions.
Donna, Good luck at your first show. Remember to bring good signage and let it do the talking for you when you're mobbed with customers and can't possibly talk to them all.
Karin, That's great feedback about your awesome sales. Having too many sales and not enough product is an enviable position to be in (compared to the alternative). You might consider Hot Process to help get your stocks back up more quickly?
AsliceOfDelight, Gosh, thanks for the networking your doing on our behalf. I appreciate that! =) And it sounds like you have totally the right way to approach the show – being delighted with new customers and engaging in the experience.
I'm such an emotional shopper myself and so receptive to other peoples energies, if I had come upon that booth it would have definitely been a downer for me as well. Such small things can ruin a great moment.
Thanks for the wonderful tips and for bringing this to our attention. It is a good reminder to be mindful of our energy when we are selling.
Natural Soap says
I cannot agree more. Service is such an important part of the retail sector. Within a market where there is very little differentiation between products, more emphasis has to be placed upon the service in order to generate a sale. That lady should have welcomed you with a smile and remained positive throughout the service experience, even if she didn't feel positive. By offering an excellent service experience, no doubt you would have stayed around a little longer and sampled her products at least!
Blogger Grrl says
Having a positive attitude and being upbeat with customers is the way to sell. All of your comments in the post are spot-on. There have been days that are dismal, but I would never let my customers know how worried I am.
Starting a conversation with customers is a great way to shake off those feelings. She could have talked to you about her products!
"How are sales today?"
"They are about to get a lot better after you sample this fantastic lotion I made. Want to try it?" *big smile*
It's not that hard. I always try to focus on the people, and talk to them. I get them to talk about themselves: "What scents do you enjoy? Are you buying for yourself or a friend?"
If we draw the attention back to the customer in the conversation, they will have a positive experience with us, and will remember it.
Great topic. Your encounter with the downer soap lady and your decision not to buy this women's product is a prime example of how emotions can affect one’s decision to purchase goods. I just recently read an article in the business section of the paper that described how emotions can effect one's decision to buy or not to buy and how this interaction between emotion and commerce is affecting our national economy. I would love to study this area of economics – there are a number of posts on the Internet about the ‘Economics of Emotions’ it is fascinating stuff.
This insight is absolutely invaluable! I have found that when I say the truth in an affirming way, I get more excited about my products and prospects and it is truly contagious!
Thanks for the reminder. I, like Bridgette, will keep a copy of this list to remind me of this key principle.
This is a great post. I took this year off from most shows but will be resuming next year. I am going to print this info and tuck it in my booth so when I have those moments I can refer back to this and keep a positive attitude no matter what.
Everything is attitude. A year ago I had an epiphany. I do almost 20 shows a year and last year was terrible financially. Nothing was working and it was showing in my attitude until one day I said to myself "self, you can not control the economy." Once I let the worlds problems go my attitude improved and now I am once again happy at shows and selling a fair amount of handcrafted soaps again.
i think you opened my eyes this morning is all i will say!! postive, yes it does affect!!
this was a brilliantly inspiring post. I am off to do my 1st xmas contemporary craft show of the year next weekend..and I shall be taking a very positive attitude along with me in my bag!
WOW – thanks for 'pumping me up' and keeping me motivated for my next fair and anytime I'm in a position to respond about my new business. I've done 3 fairs – which is not alot at all yet already everyone has been a learning experience. I'm *always* having fun – and I say that with true authenticity and your comments reconfirm for me that I'm on the right path doing/saying the right/positive things because it is natural. It's fun to meet new people, be surprised by familiar faces showing up at your booth, talk about soap, talk about the soaping suppliers I use (hint hint), learn more about customers and hear their stories and thank them with delight for supporting my craft. Thanks for the post especially as we gear up for these events.
I shop emotionally, and planned my products that way as well. I had so much success just from word of mouth that I sold about 80 pounds of soap without even going to a show, or spending anything on advertising to the general public. I made a brochure myself, printed them on my printer, and sold everything. Thanks to a promotion at work, I haven't had time to re-make much, and had to drop out of a show. Even in this economy–or perhaps especially in this economy–people are willing to spend money on quality, hand-made items. It's that emotional thing–we crave that comfort.
I'm going to my first show this holiday season a local school's holiday fair. I can't wait. I will definitely take some of your positive phrases along with me. Thanks.
Kelly, I adore your enthusiasm. You have such a great way of putting things. And you're right, there is something in the theory of the law of attraction that says that if you're thinking and speaking dour thoughts, yes, that's just what you'll get.
Your thoughts become things (or so the saying goes).
About your 'no soap to sell' – DUDE! What a great "problem" to have. I would love love love to sell your soap … or you could try your hand at hot process? Let me know if you need resources for that. And I'll do a tutorial or a video on that process eventually but my week is crazed (7:15 HR conference call tomorrow, 8:30 meeting with building draftsman tomorrow morning and a 9:30 mentoring meeting on social media … and that's the first three hours of tomorrow!).
Jess, Aw, so sad! I guess someone is going to get a great gift of a wonderful journal from you? Because there's no reason to keep it if you won't use it, eh?
You guys are great; thanks for popping in with positive comments right away. =))
I remember saying just that,"Oh, it's a terrible day!", but only to a friend.
She told me to stop moaning and start being positive. It worked a treat and I turned my day around!
di Palermo Body says
You're so right! It's all about the attitude. When people are buying your products they are buying the experience you give them. Why would people waste money on a bad experience?
I have a very similar situation with a crafter at a recent show, I bought some beautiful notebooks from him and his last comment to me as I left was so rude and caught me off guard. Needless today I haven't even touched the notebooks because every time I think about writing in them I recall that rude experience. Not good 🙁
Thanks for all the great cheerful comment suggestions.
Kelly Taylor says
oh and by the time i got home there was an email from someone there that day inviting me to another show at a brand new elementary school right down the street from my house; this is MY territory! yes! and it is in 3 short weeks.
yikes, i sold almost all my soap and now…Anne-Marie i might have to actually buy some from you……
or not planning on alot of success?
Kelly Taylor says
That is so great! Isn't there a phrase that kind in so many words says something about the law of attraction?
I went to a really big show this last weekend. I did have an absolute blast, I did make great contacts, and I did sell product; not my target but I was just so happy to be there that I had a constant group of people around my booth! I think people can pick up on your emotions and your passion.
I watched several other vendors, they barely said anything to any living soul the whole time they were there. And they kept looking at me like i was a gook from outer space.
If you are gonna be in sales, then put on your happy face!
Burnt Mill Candles and Soap says
great tips! I am going to start doing craft shows soon so I am going to remember some of those answers 🙂