July 28, 2017

What to Do & Not to Do at Art Events

You may have noticed a theme in my recent blog posts … Tips for Art Show Success. With lots of awesome fall and winter events on the horizon, I want to be sure you are all armed with best practices to make the most of your opportunities. We've talked about applying and preparing once accepted. The next step is putting on your salesperson hat. I know many of you drive the most sales during the holiday season because handmade goods make the best gifts! So how do we ensure that this year is even better than the last? Through many years of attending events, working with artists, participating in a few myself and research because I'm a bit of a nerd, I've seen what to do and what not to do when selling at shows. I hope this compilation of tips helps you rock your next festival!

Shoppers & Artists at Blue Genie during WEST

During the Event

Connecting with Buyers
  • First of all, know that many event attendees will not be ready to buy. Don’t get discouraged by window shoppers. Keep in mind that you're making an impression, and hopefully some will come back to you online or at another event.
  • Knowing the diversity of attendees - their interests, budgets and more - you should treat all shoppers the same. The big spenders may surprise you, and you don't want to give off the wrong vibe. Plus, many art collectors start with a small piece.
  • The best rule of thumb? Smile and be available. It doesn't matter whether you are an introvert or an extravert; you can still be yourself while selling your work. What's important is welcoming shoppers and catching people's interest. If one approach feels uncomfortable, take a step back and try another. Pushy doesn't make sales, Passion and connection do.
  • Make sure you have signage to speak for you when your hands are full or when you have shy shoppers. Prices and contact information are the most important.

Making Sales
  • Ask open ended questions to start a conversation with any shoppers who linger. The more they know about your work, the more likely they are to be interested. Plus, in talking to you, they may talk themselves into buying.
  • If you don't have your work marked, be sure you can easily tell people the prices when they ask. You don't want it to look like you're making up prices, and you don’t want to appear open to negotiating too low a fee for the time and effort you invested.
  • You will have people who try to haggle. It's up to you whether or not you want to offer a discount for paying in cash or buying multiples. You don't have to if you've set your prices at the right point for their quality and value. Don't be defensive or discouraged though; Stand up for your craftsmanship.
  • Where appropriate, consider offering an incentive to entice people buy at the event instead of waiting. This may be a discount or a special release only available at the show.
  • Make it easy for people to make a purchase by accepting a variety of payment methods and having lots of bills to make change. You don't want to lose a sale just because someone doesn't have the right cash.
  • Have business cards handy for window shoppers so they can keep in touch.

Post Market

  • Post a recap of the event on your social channels to document and let people see what they missed if they weren't able to attend. Activity helps build your reputation.
  • If you collected email addresses for your newsletter, add them to your list soon after the event. Also, consider sending a personalized email saying thanks for stopping by to help them remember you while the event is fresh in their mind.
  • If you gave out an Etsy or online store promo code, keep track of its use to know how many visitors came to purchase after meeting you. This can help you gauge the after effect of the show because you can accomplish more than just making sales there in person.

Stay tuned for advice from local artists in next week's post!