Something for the kids
The key to getting parents to stop at your table and stay long enough to really get a feel for what you have to offer is to hook the kids first. What do kids like in a craft stall? Firstly something they can do something with and secondly something they can afford themselves. Mum and I have balloons on our stall, which we sell at cost, and they are wonderful in drawing in the littlies and their accompanying elders. I have seen other stall holders provide toddler ribbons, jelly beans, mini cupcakes, colouring competitions, toys etc. Even something simple like a personal toy sitting on the end of your table will attract a littlie in search of something more entertaining than Mum drinking her coffee and chatting to her ‘tall’ friends. I have previously had a Westpac helicopter on my table to collect donations in exchange for gift wrapping. I think every littlie that passed by picked it up and played with it. Even if their parent did not purchase from me, they stopped long enough to see what I had on offer and half of them took my card.
Something for Mum
When out with the kids on the weekend, Mums are invariably drawn to anything that shouts ‘me time’. If you have something for sale that will make Mum’s life easier or more enjoyable she will stop and check you out. Even better is if it is something she can sample. I have seen stall holders hand out tit bits of baking, coupons for coffee, small dollops of creams/potions or even just meaningful advice. Mum’s look forward to the moment they get to sit down with said item of baking and enjoy a moment of peace or coffee; Mum’s like the feeling of being pampered that they get when sampling creams/potions; Mum’s like the attention they receive when they engage in a meaningful conversation with someone who proclaims to be a knowledgeable party in said vocation. What you give away doesn’t need to cost you anything more than a moment of your time, but it might buy you a customer. Maybe not now, maybe not next week but you can count on that Mum telling other Mum’s she knows about how she felt when she sampled your product or engaged with you in conversation. You will get future customers from this exercise.
Something for the non shopper
Not everyone attending a craft market will be doing so with the intention to purchase. In fact a large number of those that attend are people just wanting to take a look with no intention of making a purchase. These typically ‘hands in pockets’ types are really trying to get a glimpse of your table without you noticing, as they are somewhat frightened of being ‘sold to’. What you need to do is attract the non shopper by engaging them in a polite chat about something you genuinely have interest in so they can feel your passion and then if the opportunity presents itself segway into your own line of products/services. If not, then you haven’t frightened them and they may relax as they make the rest of the way around the market. This approach will benefit other stall holders and ultimately you some day. You never know, they may take your card and make contact with you at a later date.
Broaden your audience
Broaden your audience without fundamentally changing what is it that you have to offer. You can market an item in many ways so that it can appeal to a broad range of people and be applicable in a broad range of uses. For example, I sell nappy clutches which are clearly labelled as such and are great for carrying a couple of nappies/diapers and wipes (plus bags). However, this is not the only applicable use. I have one on my table which holds my onesie bow ties showing that it can be a small purse or pouch. A logical leap from this display is that it can also be a makeup case or a handy toiletry bag for carrying in your handbag. The easiest way for someone to understand what the broad range of applicable uses for your item is, is to see them in use on your table. Whatever you sell, whatever your intention for its purpose or use, there are many more ways you could market it. It all depends on who you are marketing it to.
Understand your audience
In keeping with the previous paragraph, it is important to talk to your audience and understand what they are actually looking for. It is far better to sell something to someone who will use it and appreciate it than to simply make a quick sale and have a customer with misgivings due to the item not being a match for the purpose for which they purchased it (even if the sale was initiated by them). Positive feedback travels slowly yet negative feedback travels like wildfire. Make sure you understand your audience so you can do your best to meet their needs.
Most important of all is to have a sunny disposition. I am always drawn to those people who look like they are having a good time and enjoying themselves. Whether or not you are having a good day “fake it till you make it”. Trust me, if you look happy and relaxed you will attract more people to your table than those that look like they would rather be at home reading a good book. If you look approachable you will be approached.
Let me know how you go at your next market and I am especially interested in any new ideas you introduce. I would love you to come back and post here so everyone else can benefit.