The Selling Touch

HandsSensory experiences can make a big difference in closing the sale.




When speaking with potential buyers about your line, you should be telling your story, as well as talking features and benefits. But talking about a product isn’t the same as letting your prospective customers experience it. Appealing to the senses is a very powerful way to encourage that experience.

Touch is one of the easiest senses to reach with your handmade work. If your art or craft has an interesting texture or surface, make it accessible and encourage shoppers to handle each piece. Placing items in their hand helps to give a sense of ownership and often can close the sale easily. This is a good tactic to use in wholesale trade shows as well as at retail.

Wholesale expert Sandy Dell agrees. “When you have appealed to their senses, they start thinking about how they will display it, how their customers will like it, and how many they could sell, thus making the sales process move along faster.”


stone table


Arra David, a craftsman and co-owner of Sea Stones comments on the “tactile experience” of his booth.  Shoppers are drawn in from the aisle, he says, and find it hard to keep themselves from touching the decorative stones which are part of each piece in their collection.

So, unless what you make is very fragile or costly, don’t lock it away in a case. Ask your customers to experience it. A handmade pen with a nice weight to it says “quality” and this feature adds value to the item. Fabric should be hung in a in a tempting way, encouraging people to feel the texture and “hand” of the cloth, as you tell them about the weave, the process or your inspiration.


woven scarves


Is your handmade furniture sturdy and comfortable? Invite your customers to sit down. Let them hold the mug or utensils you are selling, so that they can imagine using these items themselves, and see how familiar they feel. Emotions are a huge part of the purchasing decision. The senses are a direct line to those emotions, and help you convey why your work is so special.

Combine touch with other senses to deepen the buying experience. Multisensory activity begins the “ownership experience” that artists will want to give their clientele. So ask them to look through your kaleidoscopes. Open and smell your handmade soaps. Play with the handmade wooden toys that you have created.  Stroke the wind chimes to hear the music.

When customers touch and interact in your booth, others become attracted as well. As more shoppers stop, your display becomes a drawing card and a destination not to be missed. So plan well before your next show on how you can use sensory experiences to entice buyers and grow your sales.


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  1. I feel the same way.
    As a fine-art photographer I work traditionally with film and make silver-gelatin prints on fiber paper.
    Holding an actual fiber print in hand with its rich texture, hues, tones, and colour is considerably different than viewing on a screen.
    Now if I could only find interested galleries and collectors.

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