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Saturday, December 06, 2014

The Business Chat - Wah! This show sucks!

“This show sucks! There’s no people here. These people are stupid. There’s too much jewelry/pottery/[insert craft here]! This organizer is terrible! No one is buying! It’s too hot for people to buy!” Blah blah blah. 

At today’s craft show I heard a lot of comments like this. I heard them in MY booth. Fellow crafters kept wandering into my booth to whine. No, it’s not a great year for this show. Yes, foot traffic is down. However, here’s what I have to say. 

Dear fellow crafter, it’s not the show, the show doesn’t suck, you do. You didn’t do your job before the show and therefore no one is purposefully coming to shop at your booth. And during the show you aren’t doing your job – which is staying in your booth and being nice to people – therefore no one is buying your work. 

Simply showing up and placing your work on display is not enough. Think about a traditional brick and mortar store. If all it took to have a successful store was merely opening the front doors you wouldn’t have a mailbox full of flyers. The reason stores send out flyers and advertise is to drive traffic into the store. Your booth (or your website) is a store. You need to drive traffic to it. It is your business, not the show organizers. A show organizer’s business is the show. It is their job to bring customers to the show. It is your job to drive the customers from the front entrance into your booth. 

Here’s a checklist of things to do to bring people to your booth at a show.
  • Tell your mailing list about the show. After all, these are your fans.
  • Announce your participation in your newsletter
  • Put the event on your website
  • Blog about the upcoming show
  • List the show on your facebook fan page
  • Tweet about the show
These are all things that are free to do, they just take a little time. When you are preparing for a show these things should be built into your pre-show work schedule. 
When reading this if your first thought is, “but I’m brand new and don’t have any of these things” your second thought should be, “hey, I need to start a newsletter and a facebook fan page!” No it won’t happen overnight, or before the show. Start thinking about when you’re going to get these things. Put them on your work schedule and start learning how to do these things. 

If you don’t yet have a mailing list to send announcements to then your most important job at the show is to spend the show talking to every single person who stops by your booth. Convert these people to fans. Ask them to sign up for your mailing list. Give them your card with your contact information on it. Let them know where they can find you again, maybe make a flyer listing your next show(s) and your online information. 

Making your work is the easy part of your job, selling it is the hard part. Being in a show is the first step towards selling, bringing customers into your booth is the second step. Once you have them in there then you can close the deal. 

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