Are You Losing Sales Opportunities?

A visit to an outdoor art and craft show reveals that many times exhibitors are not taking advantage of sales opportunities.


Outdoor Art and Craft Festival


A summer weekend, and the row of booths runs down a crowded main street. This show is filled with potters, painters, jewelers, sculptors, leather designers, and makers of all types. Shoppers throng the event, taking in the sights and speaking with the vendors about their wares. It seems like a successful fair. But what is missing?

A quick stop at the front of the show is made at a busy booth featuring sculpted concrete ornaments for walls and outdoor gardens. It’s all the exhibitor can do to wrap items and take cash – because he doesn’t accept credit cards. Oh, no! Although most items are $50 and under, some shoppers walk away because they expect to be able to use plastic to charge their purchases. This policy could be losing him hundreds of dollars in sales during the show. We bought one large item, but with limited cash in our wallets, we opted out of the second planned purchase. He just lost an opportunity.


Handmade Soap


Next stop, a pretty booth filled with handmade soaps and lotions. Smells fantastic! At $5.00 a bar, the soaps are a wonderful gift item, so three go in the bag. But, no business card goes in the bag. And, the label on the soaps doesn’t have a website where shoppers can find their products in the future. And, there is no guest book or list to sign up for emails from these soapmakers, either. So, we will most likely never see them again. They just squandered three chances to stay in touch with customers and make additional sales. This is especially negligent on their part, because body care products are purchased again and again. She just lost an opportunity.

Near the back of the show, a painter has lots of work hanging in his booth. But – he is nowhere to be found. A ten minute wait doesn’t bring him back, and inquiries with his neighbors aren’t effective because they cannot make sales for him. The painting of interest has no price on it. Oops! And, there is no business name, and no brochures or cards of any type in the booth. At the last second, the painter sprints into the booth, apologizing for his absence.

What are the dimensions of the painting? It turns out that he doesn’t know. Hmmm. It would help to have this information to be sure that it will fit into the planned wall space. Just before we walk away, he realizes that the grid the painting hangs on is two feet wide, therefore, the painting is 48” wide. OK, we’ll take it. This exhibitor barely squeaked by in making the sale, which probably paid his booth fee. But between the lack of assistance to man the booth, failure to price and inability to know his dimensions, he is in a position to lose many more opportunities.

Do any of these problems sound familiar? Before you do another show, make sure you are prepared to offer the best customer service possible to your customers, and maximize sales at the event as well as afterwards. Think ahead and know the next step to keep your collectors buying. Stay in touch with customers through email marketing and having a website with a shopping cart to sell more work.

People who have purchased from you already are the easiest to sell. How many will you stay in touch with after your next fair? Or will you be living from show to show, making sales only on that day? Review your strategies and resolve to make changes so you don’t lose any more opportunities.


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  1. The past show I’ve done, I was just getting over an illness and also didn’t do it. For the most part, I wish I did have my e-letter sign up and a better display.

    As a shopper, I’ve seen this all the time. With square and paypal, you can easily take card and business cards are cheap too. I don’t understand why I have to ask you for your contact info when it should be labeled on all of your products.

    • That’s so true! It wouldn’t have taken a lot of effort to gain those repeat customers, and make it more convenient for shoppers.

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