T&A #4: Arts Festival Mentality, And Disposition

And we’re back to the Arts Festival T&A series! It’s been months since I last posted something related to Arts Festivals or craft fairs. Figured it would be best to continue this series before moving on to more in-depth posts about other T&A posts, such as TAODC.

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Not everyone realizes this, but it’s critical to know how to act, converse and be around your customers during a major craft event. There won’t always have to be specific guidelines to follow, and you should always feel comfortable being who you are. That being said, having superb communication with customers is key to: (a) guiding them through the pros and cons of buying your product, especially the pros; (b) significantly improving diction and tons of other skills; and (c) figuring out how to properly market your product(s), and business. It’s important to have the right attitude to converse easily with fellow vendors as well.

People often talk about being “charismatic,” but what does it really mean? How do you expect others to converse and inquire about your product, and how will the conversation actually turn out? These are the kind of questions you may be asking yourself. And, after reading this post, you’ll figure out a way to answer those questions for yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚

How To Have The Right Attitude:

  • Observe what’s going on. Don’t merely walk around and think, “Okay, I’ve seen all there is to see, time to head back to my booth.” Try to initiate conversation, and be friendly. Get to know other vendors. If no one is interested, doesn’t want to talk, or is simply too busy, that’s alright. Don’t push it. Just be open to the possibility of being sociable. Most likely, those around you at a festival are lovely people. It’s simply a matter of introducing yourself and having a friendly conversation.
  • There will be times when there is another vendor at the same event showcasing a similar product. Try to stand out, but not too much. You don’t want to advertise to your competition. This doesn’t mean you have to be sneaky in how you go about marketing; just be wary. If there are too many artists specializing in the same craft, you have to figure out how to distinguish yourself from everyone else.
  • The old practice-in-front-of-a-mirror approach actually has its benefits; sometimes, not always. If, for some reason, you’re too distracted watching yourself talk, don’t do it. Remember, be comfortable with who you are, and that you’re in control of your attitude and actions. You’re manning the booth, so you’re in charge. And have fun!

How To Gauge The Dispositions Of Others:

  • Take note of which items in your booth certain customers head for. Try to figure out why they are drawn to that product (or ask them, either when they’re deciding or after they’ve made their purchase). Assuming they don’t buy the product, look for something within reach or walking distance in your booth that’s similar to what initially caught their attention; what you think they would like based on their style.
  • Be amiable, but don’t overdo it. It’s alright to follow what side of the table or booth a customer is walking toward, but don’t hover too much. I can personally attest that being on the customer’s side of the fence is sometimes nerve-wracking; having the added pressure doesn’t always help. It can be hard to decide what to buy, especially if the person is a tad indecisive. And, if you’re like me, you may feel judged on whatever decision you make; or for taking too long to decide, if at all. So in sum, don’t be too pushy. It can look bad if the potential customer eventually walks off, or if there are others visiting your booth but you pay more attention to one over another. Show interest, and don’t forget to smile.
  • In any event, wherever it is or whatever the market is, someone will ask why your products are “so expensive.” If you’re a high-end crafter who works professionally, you’ve probably heard this a lot. Be prepared to defend your product. The initial reasons most people use are: the amount of time put into making the items; cost of materials; transport; advertising and photography; and so on. That being said, don’t make your potential customers feel ignorant. Remember, this isn’t a personal question (most of the time). By asking, they’re not saying your work is of lower value; they’re just looking at their budget.

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