You and Your Customers

Following is a collection of craft business tips from readers who share insights into dealing effectively with customers and understanding your target market.

Know Your Target Audience

I've been doing craft shows for a number of years, and here is my advice to anyone who wants to begin selling their crafts: Know your target audience!

It's very important to choose your shows based on the venues that will attract the people who want to buy your product. It doesn't matter how many people are there, if you are in the wrong place they will not buy.

For example, don't try to sell scented candles at a heavy metal convention. Unless you make candles that are shaped like instruments or bands, at any rate...

My next piece of advice is to make sure you are professional. Just because it's a craft show or a home party, that doesn't mean you shouldn't pay attention to your grooming, dress, and manners. It's like any other retail job. Never, never, never bash another crafter/company's product in an effort to sell your own! See professionalism.

Do your research. Attend some craft shows and look around at the way other people are displaying their products. Check out competitors pricing to make sure you're not over or under pricing your own products.

If you are going to do craft shows with a theme, FOLLOW THE RULES. If you are required to be in costume, for example, make an attempt at being in the right costume. Not only will this help you fit in and make the show more profitable, but the sponsors and staff will be more likely to invite you back, and to give a positive review about you to other shows.

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How to Talk to Potential Customers at a Home Party

1. If you have invited friends to invite their friends, have your friends introduce you to the new faces. Then focus on building a relationship with the new individuals, so that there is a repertoire there. Then they will then grow into a long term relationship, including one as a customer.

2. If you have invited people you don't know so well, invite some friends as well. Then have your friends get to know the new faces, creating a social network that you can then jump in with. For example, your friend gets to know someone for you, gives you a short canned bio, and then you meet the person for the first time and hit it off right away by building on those details you already know you have in common.

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Know Your Audience and Work It

by Nicole
(Newport News, VA)

Whatever you are selling, one of the most important things is to know your audience.

The way you present the product is important to the sale. You would not sell a bag of sand to someone in the desert, but you can sell them a bottle of water.

It is imperative that you know the wants and needs of the persons you are selling to. You should know their likes and dislikes, what specifically they are shopping for, and their budget. These questions are addressed easier for home parties, but they are still relevant for craft shows.

For a home party, have a survey included with the invitation so when they RSVP, they can send the survey back. Offer the customer a percentage off of their purchase if they return the survey. The survey should ask if the customer will be looking for something specific.

On the other hand, at craft shows, this is a little more difficult. Prior to the show, ask veterans of the show what type of customers generally come through. Also, find out the purpose of the show – is it for charity, is this an annual event, etc.

If these methods seem too pushy, just being pleasant and helpful is always the key to a customers' sale. Customers do not want to feel like they bought something they did not want or need. Your job is to make the customer happy and make them feel like they have been treated, not tricked.

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