Starting a conversation with your customers at a craft show is just so important and an art.The best way to persuade customers doesn’t come through pushy sales tactics or being aggressive – it is all in the warm and positive vibes of the seller.

11 Smart Ways To Start Conversations During Craft ShowsThere is something about being behind that table at a craft show that can be a little intimidating, especially if you are a little shy, and that is conversing with complete strangers.If you say the wrong thing shoppers may think you are pushy and be turned off.

If you say nothing they think you aren’t helpful, or not interested, and they may walk away.

So what should you do?

According to an Etsy top seller in vintagehouse1

“I was a top sales Rep for many years. Many times I took the number one slot in the company I worked for. Here is why I remained in the top ten.

ENGAGE ENGAGE ENGAGE!!! Most just won’t sell without it. If you feel like it’s too pushy to converse with a potential customer or hide or keep busy my guess is your not making a bunch of sales. Say a cheerful good morning or whatever time of day it is. Give them time to take in your booth. When they are about three quarters of the way through, begin to ask questions. Are you enjoying the show? What’s some of your favorite items? Are you looking for anything special today? etc.

Then ask if they have any questions? Begin to show them of few of your items ask them what they think of it? I know this seems pushy, maybe it is, but no one has ever run out of my booth yelling pushy. Try this at your next show. Count the number of people that enter your booth. Then count your sales at the end of the day. How many did you sell to? If you’re selling to less than 20% step up your conversation! I was a person who got out of the customers way at first, I also had poor sales! Now I sell to 30-40% of people that enter my booth.”

His advice might help you but here are some craft show conversations starters that you can use too:

  1. Hi how are you? (and smile)
  2. Let me know if I can help with anything and I do customized colors etc.
  3. I love your sweater, hair, jewelry etc. (Make sure that you really love it, people can tell when you are making things up.)
  4. Point out when you have something for sale that will match a customer’s outfit really well.
  5. Talk to the kids, ask them what grade they are in etc. The adults will often answer or tell you other things about the child leaving you opportunities to talk to the adults as well.
  6. Giveaways (or other candies that aren’t choking hazards) in a basket or bowl on the table. People will ask if they can have one or you can simply offer them one. The trick here is to use a small container and only put out a couple of dozen at a time. It keeps people from taking a handful and filling it back up gives you more opportunities for conversation.
  7. What is the best thing you’ve seen at the show so far?
  8. Is the sun shining yet? Or other appropriate weather related questions.
  9. Where are you from? Did you drive a long way?
  10. Do you buy handmade items often?
  11. Did you come to the show looking for something in particular?
    But sometimes, customers want to focus on shopping rather than talking to sellers. So, welcome buyers but don’t hover, step back, don’t stare and let them browse. And be sure to say “If you need anything, I’m here to help.”

Bonus: If appropriate wear some of your creations or display them in an unexpected way. This will lead to shoppers asking you questions.Asking generic questions makes you appear interested, friendly and not at all pushy.

Gary Capps

I live in the one of the most beautiful places in the world on the Sunshine Coast in Australia with my wife and our 2 dogs, Poppy and Mia. Since 2009 I have helped over 15,000 handmade business owners to grow their business with our software and free tools designed for todays entrepreneurial artisan.

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