Sunday, September 21, 2008

Craft Show Tips & Tricks - Selling the Benefits of Your Handmade Craft


I have done so many shows with my work (which has changed from prints to collages to jewelry) over the years and I am always surprised at how many online sellers of art and crafts do not sell at craft shows.

Shows can be a great way to get your work seen, see what customers respond to and make some real bucks. I have made as much as $6000.00 (gross) at a 3 day music festival with an average price point of $20.00 (lots of work and lots of fun and way worth it).

I have also made $50.00 in sales at a street fair where I made $1500.00 the year before, so as with most things in life worth doing it is hard to know for s
 ure what will happen, but there are alot of things you can do to get the most from your day.

Selling the BENEFITS of your work at a show

I attended a seminar of features and benefits training many years ago that seemed hokey to me at the time, but sometimes comes in handy now. Basically your product

(yes, I am afraid our precious art is also a product)

has features that are cool but what the customer wants to know about is the benefit to them. One of the "products" I sell are little lockets made from recycled auto parts that have magnetic, changeable lids.

Now when customers would approach them, I would say "these are made from a little recycled auto part" and they would usually go "oooh" and then get kind of glassy eyed

(I still cannot understand why people do not see the benefit in having an auto part hanging around their neck)

then I would say the top is magnetic and you get to choose 3
  tops so you can mix and match - well that was when they perked up.

The problem was that in a busy show- I didn't always get to that part before their eyes wandered. It didn't take me long to realize that what I thought was the coolest part - the auto part that seemed so clever to me - was not the benefit (or selling point) for most customers- so I started talking about the magnetic lids first and putting them in people's hands

(the lids clicking off and on are somewhat irresistible to us fidgeters)

and my sales went way up.

I did a show recently with a guy on Etsy named Vinnie (somethingwhimsical) who sells these little BOB (bunch of bolts) necklaces and every time a customer approached and smiled at his necklaces he would say "they come with an instruction book".

(I heard this about a hundred times that day- I still hear it in my sleep)

Now this instruction book is really something else- it is cool and clever and witty, but maybe not the first "selling" benefit to the customer.

When his wife was nearby she would chirp in with - they are called BOB for bunch of bolts and also named as a homage to Vinnie's father BOB who made these for him as a child- well that was the grabber to people because it made it personal and a little story that they loved even more than the alien story in the instruction book and they would be hooked.

Often you are the benefit and the selling point to the customer. I once did a show with another Etsy seller (briefmoments) who sells these gorgeous kaleidoscope pendants.

Now as soon as a customer approached, Maribeth would immediately OWN her work. She would say "I make these from bits and pieces of my photographs" and then go on to explain her process. People were immediately intrigued and because she was so enthusiastic (and her work so gorgeous) she sold tons that day.

This was her first craft show and my 30th plus, but I learned something very important from watching her OWN her work.

So now instead of saying "these are made from a recycled auto part" (not the first thing I bring up but I do say it), I say " I clean, drill and solder these from a recycled steel car part" - the "I" is the important part because the benefit is the handmade part- why would the customer pay me more than they would pay at Walmart - well, because I am a talented. amazing artist and I made it! OWN your work!

As an artist you are selling a piece of yourself with every little piece of art that you manage to part with.

The customer wants to know you; they need to know you. Save a part of your display area for a little 'self-tribute' section- set up newspaper stories, any articles you are in, books you are in. You can put pictures of your work in a book very inexpensively and it makes you look very impressive to potential customers.

Photos of your work being worn or used are great for shows. A photo of yourself with your own little story - is a must. I sometimes set up a laptop which flashes pics of my work and it draws people in. It also contains recycling info on cork and steel and helps to make me memorable.

You could go overboard with this- remember we are not DaVinci- but we are the creators of our own amazing work and if we are not impressed with it no one else will be either!

2 comments:

Walrus Tusk said...

This is wonderful advise. I think I might just have to add my story to my crafts. You always amaze me. I love your shops and your amazing creative vision.

ana carina said...

This is amazing. Really, amazing.
This made me THINK. And that's always a good thing.
Thank you so much for your advice, very very useful info!
nanouke