When people go to a craft fair, trade show, vendor market or farmers market they go because they are looking for unique, custom-made, hand-made or hand crafted items. They also go to see the amazing booth setups that small business owners put together to entice customers to stop by their booth. We all know this so why is it that when I got to market’s I see half done set ups, empty tables, owners do not have business literature, they are not smiling, they are on the phone or just not there mentally?
Here are 10 MISTAKES TO AVOID AT ANY MARKET.
1. You’re unprepared…and it shows
You get to the show, but you’ve forgotten part of your display, bags for people to carry their goods out, selling slips, or enough products to restock when things get low. I see this at the market’s I host and it drives me up the wall. Before you bust a grape(pay for any market) you should already have these basic materials ready to go especially if you where doing business before you even thought about going to market.
The biggest and most embarrassing thing you can do is going to any market and you are not prepared. Before you sign up get an estimate of how many people will be attending (hopefully the coordinator, event manager or trade show owner can provide at least that), find out the demographics where the market will take place, create a list accordingly of products plus a little extra for restock and make sure you have the above items as well. The number one thing that will turn a customer off is if they can’t get a basic bag to put all the stuff they bought from you in.
2. You’re unfriendly
I cannot tell you how important it is for the survival of your business and your reputation to be nice to EVERYONE. If you cannot be fair, treat others with respect, make them feel welcomed or be genuinely nice then you should not even be in business let alone at a market asking people for their money.
Yes there will be those customers that come to your table and judge the heck out of your product, out loud and in your face without a care in the world but you still have to smile and be nice. You cannot be mean to people who browse and don’t buy anything because they may order from you online or come back after they looked around the whole market.
When people walk up to your table you need to treat it as if this is your last means of survival. You may not feel comfortable being a salesperson, but your going to come off as entitled and unfriendly if you do not open your mouth. Everyone in business is a salesperson rather they believe it or not and if you want to make money you have to speak. If you do not do this and you do not sell anything you cannot blame foot traffic, lack of marketing of the event( you should have marketed for your own sake anyway) and you cannot take it out on organizer.
A good practice is to say hi to everyone that walks into your booth and make eye contact with them. If you see someone browsing for a bit, try striking up a conversation (after you greet them and after about 5 minutes of them looking around). Sitting in the back of your booth saying nothing, or talking to the friend you have helping you out, will only hurt you. Create a welcoming space in your booth. After all, you catch more bees with honey.
3. There’s nothing about the booth that stands out
This mistake is one of the harder ones to rectify especially if you did not plan in advance. Whatever you are selling use that to build your booth overall theme. I would recommend booth music that vibes with your products, brand colors, a raffle of some kind. a free sample or candy for the kids. If there’s nothing of interest right out front, people will be less likely to stop by and you can’t blame them especially if you didn’t care enough to make your booth attractive for them.
4. Too little or too many products
Again, ask for an approximate number of attendees and make or order to that need. If you have too many products out and they’re not in any organized fashion, your booth is going to appear cluttered and overwhelming. If you have too few, people won’t be inclined to come in because they’ll have quickly browsed everything when they walked by plus no one wants the bottom of the barrel.
The key is balance. You want to offer enough products that they can’t all be seen right as you glance in, but not so many that it becomes overwhelming. This means filling the table, but in a way that encourages people to browse. If you have shelving put some products on that and maybe some on another on the walls of your booth space that way people wont be standing on top of each other trying to see what you have. Number one tip is to keep your displays dynamic, you don’t want your products just sitting flat on the table.
5. You don’t have business cards
This is crucial. You should have business cards readily available to hand out. They’re a great marketing tool. Hand them out to people you’ve had conversations with, give them to everyone who purchases something, and have them lying around for people to grab. Even if they didn’t find what they were looking for in your booth, they may think of a friend who would love your products and pick up a card.
6. Prices are nowhere to be seen
You ever commented on a Facebook post of someone talking about their product but never list a price and when you ask they say ” I’ll pm you or what’s your email”? Well it’s what I call the ICEBREAKER tactic that sale people use to get people to ask them questions or start a conversation. DON’T be that person. It’s annoying and it turns people off when you cannot openly say what the prices are for your product.
Same thing when you go to market, make sure you have prices visible for customers to see. If they can’t afford it they can’t afford it but trying to make someone ask you is not cool either. This is by far one of the BIGGEST mistakes you can make. If an item isn’t priced, many people will assume that it’s super expensive. Other people will be too shy to ask what the price is. Don’t miss a sale opportunity just because you’ve forgotten or intentionally to price products. Make sure everything is clearly priced!
7. Your information is outdated
There is nothing worse than getting a business card or flyer and the information is incorrect or missing. Make sure everything on your business card and marketing materials are up to date.
8. You don’t have any change
If you’re only accepting cash( not smart these days) and you don’t have enough change, then you can kiss that sale goodbye. Make sure you have enough change before you start the show, and take inventory of it halfway through in case you need to run to an ATM or shop to grab some more.
9. There’s no variety in your pricing
Not everyone can afford to drop $70, so by having a variety of products at different prices you give everyone a chance to walk away with something they’ll like. Plus, it means more business for you. People are more likely to spend $15 at a few booths on a couple of items, then dropping $60 on just one, so make sure you can offer both options.
10. You don’t offer sale items or freebies
People always want a bargain. They love being able to tell all their friends, family, and coworkers about the deals they got (a big reason why people shop at markets). This can be tricky because you don’t want to end up losing money. Having at least a few items on sale will encourage those bargain hunters to buy. Plus, you could offer special deals. For example, if the customer spends 100 then they get a free item like a one-of-a-kind ornament. It might encourage people who are close to hitting that mark to purchase a few smaller items just to get that free item.