Step right up, step right up, it’s show time people! I have 2 very large shows in the next 4 weeks so I’m psyching myself up for this. They’re long hours (12 hours a day for 11 days), they’re hard work, they’re 40% of my annual income. Surviving requires a lot of mental preparation, I thought I’d share some of it.
First thing I do before any event is to set my goals. For every single thing you do in your business you need to understand why you are doing it and what you want the outcome to be. If you don’t know exactly what you want from a show then how do you know if it was successful?
Money is usually the primary goal however sometimes there might be other reasons for doing an event. I’ve done events to test out new displays, get feedback on a new line, build publicity, whatever it is you need to set yourself a goal. Me, I have a money number in mind (make it specific) and a goal for getting a number of names onto my mailing list. Make your numbers specific. Saying “I will to make money” isn’t as good as “I will make $5,000”. Same goes for the number of names onto your mailing list. If you are trying for feedback on new work then steer people to the new work and ask them for their opinion.
Next I calculate some key numbers for the show.
Show costs per hour. Take the amount you have paid for the show, divide this by the number of selling hours. This is what it is costing you to be in that show every single hour. I tell myself that I have to make this back or else. This number isn’t taking into account things like cost of goods sold or the gas I put in my car to get there. It is purely and simply the minimum amount I have to make per hour to justify being there. Let’s say that you are doing a show that cost $300 and the hours are 10 – 6 for 2 days. That is $300/16 or $18.75 per hour. OK, that’s not a hard number to make. It helps to know this when you’re tired or bored and just want to sit down and ignore people. You have paid $18.75 to be there. I don’t know about you but I didn’t pay money to read a book or text my friend. I paid that money to sell my work and I know how much I have to sell. Suck it up and sell.
Target sales quota. I know how much I want to sell. I know how many hours I have to do this. If my goal is $2,000 and I have 16 hours then I need to sell $2,000/16 or $125 per hour. If you were working in a store on commission you’d have sales quotas. Just because you’re by yourself in a booth doesn’t mean you can’t have quotas. The only difference is that you aren’t competing against other sales people. Make a game of it. I’ve found that I can motivate myself more when I have rewards in mind. If I sell XXX then I can buy that new tool I want. Or that book or scarf. Whatever it takes, have this number in mind and close that sale.
I make sure I know my sales features inside and out. Your sales features are what sets you apart from your competition. They the answer to why someone would buy your work instead of someone else. Sales features are useful for that moment when a customer holds up your gorgeous creation and says “why is it so expensive?” Instead of rolling your eyes you can explain what went into making the piece. You can explain how it’s handmade and give a short description of your process, inspiration and ingredients. You can get enthusiastic about how useful it is and how it will make their life so much better.
My last bit of mental preparation involves a visualization exercise. I picture myself driving home from the show with a big bag of cash. I picture a glass of wine, a box of chocolate and a couch. The wine, chocolate and couch are the reward, but I have to meet my sales goals to get there. And knowing what’s at the end of the 12 hour days makes them easier to get through. The goal is not just to survive, but to thrive.