There is no better opportunity to make a connection than an in-person event. Try these strategies at your next show or opening.
Make them feel welcome. Smile and greet your customer, and share a bit about your work when they step into your booth. Hiding out behind a book or waiting for them to ask a question won’t result in many sales. Be available without hovering, and keep a positive, welcoming attitude.
Understand their mindset. Shoppers are interested in themselves most of all, so you will need to speak about your work as it relates to them. Are your prints ready to hang? Is your wearable art hand washable? Is your work recycled? Lead-free? Microwave safe? All of these are benefits, and may help lead to the purchase.
Encourage touching. Touch is a huge factor in closing the sale. When your display makes your work accessible, people will naturally want to touch. Encourage this by placing an item in their hand. Let them experience the weight and texture. Handing something to a shopper also encourages a sense of ownership.
Share your story. Most people really enjoy meeting the artist – it can be a thrill for them to speak with a talented and creative individual. Talk about your process. Did you invent a new technique? What unique materials are you working with? How were you inspired to create? Stories are a powerful way to share your handmade work with customers. When they show their purchase to others, they will repeat those stories, because they have become part of the ownership experience.
Provide great customer service. Do you take special orders? Can you ship? Do you accept returns? Do you offer repair guarantees? Have all of your policies and terms set, and know them. For example, be able to give an idea of turnaround time for a commissioned piece, or be able to say if you can deliver to a local customer’s home to do an installation of your work.
The more you listen and communicate clearly with your customers the better. Customers who are confused or feel that their questions aren’t answered are unlikely to purchase. Make it easy to say yes!
Photography credit: Lisa Jaworski. Find her work here.