4 ways to boost sales at craft fairs

Written by Susan Ratliff on October 8th, 2011. Posted in booth selling

When you think about the tradeshow industry, craft fairs don’t readily come to mind, but the craft industry is huge.  I know this side of the exhibit business well because I used the craft fair circuit in Phoenix to sell the products I made in my first business.  I started About Me of Arizona so I could stay home with my new son.  I made personalized children’s books on a computer that put a child’s name, family and friends in the story.  I produced those colorful, hardbound books in 4 minutes and delivered them to delighted parents at craft fairs, yard sales and swap meets.   The same rules for successful exhibit marketing that apply to a company selling medical software at a tradeshow also apply to the home-based business selling hand-made quilts.  Here are four tips that will increase the amount of each sale,  improve mail orders and encourage repeat sales.  They work well for anyone selling from a booth at a consumer show and are particularly effective for crafters.

 1.  Add-Ons:  The last time you visited a burger chain and placed your order at the counter what did the cashier ask you?  Would you like fries with that? Do you want to supersize? The easiest time to sell a customer is when they are ready to buy.  When merchandising your products consider ways to combine, pair, match or accessorize the items.  Make sure the matching earrings and bracelet are next to the stunning necklace.  Be sure the adorable booties are close to the hand painted baby bibs.  Make it easy to point out the silver holders that fit the beeswax candles they are buying.   What could you add to your inventory that would compliment your products?  Do you craft custom curtains.  Why not sell pillows to match.  Are you a carver of exotic wooden bowls.  Sell the polish to keep them looking beautiful.   Keep those impulse items close to the cash register and suggest the add on product with every sale.   

2. Reorder Forms: Make it simple and easy for customers to buy from you again. Conserve your expensive brochures and create an order form to give each customer with every sale.   Give them options to buy by phone, fax or email.  If you add an incentive and a deadline to make their next purchase you will see your sales increase.  

3. Labels:  Print up an adhesive label with your company name, phone number, email and website on it.  Place the sticker on the back, bottom or inside every item you sell. Whether your gifts travel around the country or around the globe your label will serve as an easy reminder to the new owner as to how to order another one.

4. Hang Tags:  Tie, pin, staple or attach something worth saving onto your product.  Include care instructions, ingredients, safety tips or a recipe.  Get friendly with a poem or interesting story or tidbit about what you’ve made.  Don’t forget your contact information too.

For more tips and information about the Exhibit Expert, Susan Ratliff go to www.susanratliffpresents.com








Is your booth staff a help or a hindrance?

Written by Susan Ratliff on July 20th, 2011. Posted in booth selling

You spend a ton to exhibit in shows.  Your long list of costs  include the real estate expense for that great booth location, the display and graphics costs for a professional impression, the marketing materials, give-a-ways and shipping fees to get everything to the show.  And don’t forget the time the sales staff spends out of the office and all the travel, accommodations and meals you have to pay for.

What you may not realize is that no matter where your booth is located, how impressive your display is, how cool your freebees are or how much pre-show marketing you did to attract attendees, it will all be wasted unless the people representing your company in the booth make a good first impression.  You think I am kidding?  Well here is a startling statistic from CEIR, the center for exhibition industry research. “80% of attendees base their opinions of your company on the actions of your employees at the booth”.  This is a
great incentive to provide advanced exhibit marketing training to the people who will be representing your company at the show. Unfortunately most businesses never get that memo.  The common practice is to send the sales team to work the booth. The assumption is that they’ve been selling for years so they should know how to sell on the show floor. This is somewhat true, but there are many differences between selling in the field and selling at a show.   Time to engage and qualify is limited, there are multiple distractions and the environment is noisy. A different sales strategy is required.  Unless taught otherwise, the sales person will
use the same pitch at the booth they use on the road or in the office.  The result is multiple representatives giving three different sets of information to prospects with no ability to determine why one person is successful booking appointments or selling products and the
others are not.  Without a consistent marketing message and call to action from each person in the booth you will be at a loss
to determine what works and what doesn’t.  Sales people are ego driven and take pride in their personal
techniques.  It is a difficult task to change someone’s behavior if they have been doing the same thing for years.  One way to get everyone on the same page and provide an opportunity to quantify results is by brainstorming with your team
before the show.  Develop a simple sales script that emphasizes customer benefits, showcases product features, highlights
services, qualifies or disqualifies and asks for the sale or lead.  If you write it down and require them to use it consistently, you will be able to track results from day to day.  A random approach by every different salesperson could never be tracked in that way.
Give it a try and let me know how it works out.

Susan Ratliff. The Exhibit Expert, www.susanratliffpresents.com