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Saturday, June 09, 2012

The Business Chat - 7 tips for taking care of your best sales tool

For the past few months you’ve been working like crazy, creating fabulous art. It’s ready to be seen by the world. You built a gorgeous booth. Everything is packed. Every detail has been thought of. Or has it? Have you taken some time to look after your most important sales tool?
You are your most important sales tool. When you’re prepping for a show you spend so much time thinking of your work, your display, your packaging, your marketing that sometimes you don’t look after you. Without you nothing is going to get sold. It’s important that you make sure that you have everything you need to be comfortable and well looked after so that you’re in the best shape you can be in. If you’re hungry and cold you’re not going to be in the best frame of mind to sell. Take a few minutes and read these tips on prepping yourself for a show.

1. Proper footware
It doesn’t matter how super-cute those shoes are, if you can’t stand in them for 10 hours they don’t work. Not only must you be able to stand around in your shoes, you have to carry all your display in and out of the park. This is one place you can skip any thoughts of fashion and go straight for practical. If necessary, bring an extra pair of shoes. Actually, you might want to anyway. If you start off in running shoes and the day warms up, maybe have a pair of sandals tucked away for mid-afternoon
2.  Lots of water. 
Talking is thirsty work! Don’t assume that you’ll be able to run off and pick up a cold drink, bring lots. I take 2 litres of water a day. A thermos of hot tea or coffee is always a good thing both for the pick me up and the warmth.
3. Food is your friend
I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry I am one grumpy girl. Grumpy isn’t a good sales attitude. I know in your show package they said there would be all sorts of food available, however you don’t have time to go running around looking for food and that food may be really far away from you. The chance of you having the time to sit down and eat a meal slowly over a decent time break is non-existent. Take a lot of hand food that can be eaten fast. Sandwiches are fine so long as they’re not messy. Cut veggies, fruit, bags of nuts and granola bars are good. Tupperware of meals that need to be heated up and eaten with a fork are not. Most veteran exhibitors carry a small cooler so that snacks such as cut up pieces of cheese and drinks can be kept cold. Whatever you decide to take with  you, make sure it’s in insect proof containers and that  you have plenty of it. It’s hard work you’re doing, you  need fuel!
4. Dress for the weather
It is really important that you look good in your booth. I’m not saying you have to be a fashion statement, but you do have to dress like your work. You are a huge part of your brand. By this I mean that you need to reflect the same look as your work. If you are making expensive, intricate woven pieces, then perhaps leave the tie-dye shirt at home. If you are making $10 hemp bracelets, then the demure white shirt and suit jackets isn’t really the look you want. Pick your clothes carefully. You want clothes that blend into the background so that your jewelry is the first thing a customer sees.
At the same time as dressing for your booth it’s really important that you dress for the weather. If it is cold, wear a sweater. Or two. And a jacket.  I also pack fingerless gloves and a hat.
If it’s raining, rubber rainboots are a must. Wet feet for 10 hours are no fun. Wool socks in the rainboots are a good idea.  Also take a long raincoat with a hood (you can’t hold an umbrella when you’re carrying your display).  Take the umbrella anyways.
The best choice is to wear a lot of layers so that you can tailor yourself to the weather as the day goes on. It may be warm when you’re walking around, but just standing in one spot means that you cool down.
5. Sunscreen
Check the expiry date on it. (no, I didn’t make that mistake, a friend did, wow what a burn).
6. Lip balm, sunglasses
Did I mention that talking is hard work? You’ll need the lip balm (with a strong SPF). I try not to wear sunglasses because I do like eye contact however there are times you need them.
7. Treats
Absolutely!!! At some point you’ll be really tired and wondering why you do this. There’s very little in my world that a well-timed truffle can’t fix. Whatever floats your boat.

1 comment:

Zena said...

"...a well-timed truffle."

That's pure poetry, that is.

Thanks for all the advice. It's true: aside from blisters, there's nothing worse than cold, wet feet...