Saturday, July 14, 2012

Salesmanship, Craft Show Style

This week Cari Shannon has offered to do a guest article for us.  And even nicer to offer our readers a coupon in her shop!   Cari is the Owner of Coquette Bath & Home™ (CoquetteBath on Etsy and other online venues) makes wonderfully scented things for your body, your life and your home. Single mom of two college age kids, she also likes to write on topics of handmade, her products, marketing, and general rants about life and everything. You can contact her at Since you've read this far, how about something great for you? Use code URAMAZING for a 15% discount in her Etsy shop through the end of 2012. Cause you are amazing, really.

Perfume Sampler

On with the show.  Now for Cari's article (drum roll please)...

About an hour or so ago, I was in my local Lowes buying paint. Now, I know that this beginning doesn't quite fit the headline above, but give me a few moments. I can explain.

I have a hallway that I must paint...and although I do HAVE paint, I decided that I wanted something a bit brighter. It wasn't a totally necessary trip (because, as I mentioned, I already have paint) but nevermind, there I was, standing in Lowes trying to decide which of about 30 very similar beige colors to purchase. I'm putting my house on the market next year and so, if I have to paint, I'm using a neutral color, which so isn't me, but that's a totally different tale...

I found the paint chip thing and gave it to the lady. She didn't seem all that busy, despite it being the middle of the day...nearly noon.  While waiting for the paint to be ready, I picked out a few paintbrushes, and gazed sadly at the bright happy colors that I had to avoid (for now...) 

Misty Morn Soap

When I returned to the counter to pick up my paint....mayhem. Now, I don't know why, but all of a sudden, it seemed like everyone in the nearby zip code was pushing beside the paint area. I knew that my paint had already been shaking and shaking. And it seemed that another lady, with a couple of little ones in tow, was also waiting for her paint. As well as a man who stacked a small pyramid of quart jars nearby and then stood, arms crossed. And there were more folks, too. Some just asking questions.

And every single blessed time that someone asked a question, this clerk would stop everything and bound over to them. Walking them down the aisles, disappearing from view. She took my paint out of the shaker and left when someone asked a question. She slammed on the lid to my can. And then left again, when a pair of ladies looking at some screen asked a question. In fact, prior to giving me my paint, she went back to help them 3 more times, too.

Now, here's the lesson for all of us who sell at craft shows. And, sorry to do this, I'm going to shout. IF YOU HAVE A CUSTOMER STANDING THERE, DON'T MAKE THEM WAIT WHILE YOU SCHMOOZE WITH EVERYONE ELSE.

It bears repeating, but I don't want to yell again. Did these other people have a reason to be there and ask questions? Of course they did. But who was first? Who was waiting. Is it reasonable or kind or even good business to keep your customer (who is already committed to spending money) waiting?

Lip Balms

Well, if you have to ask, then you don't know. So let me be clear. No. No way. No how. And never.

I don't sell food, or clothing or basic shelter. So, while my fabulously scented products are...well,..fabulous, I know that anyone who stops to shop at my table is doing me a big favor. They are considering parting with their hard earned money. And it is my job to not only encourage them to do so, but to help them pick out the best things for them. And that means time. And that means attention. And that does mean that my job is to make them feel comfortable doing so.

Have I been at a show and had 10 people stop at once? Yep. I have. And that's always a challenge. But while I do greet everyone and encourage sniffing and testing (I keep lots and lots of testers available), I don't race from one end of the table to the other. I move and swivel, of course. But to get the maximum revenue, I need to remain balanced and happy and helpful.

Something I wish this Lowes lady had done. Yep, I bought the paint. But I really wanted to have a long chat with her manager, too. While the slamming rush isn't her fault, it is not good customer service to leave a customer standing by while they could be getting a snocone. Not in Texas heat. Not ever.

Check out Cari on Etsy and don't forget to use your coupon! 

1 comment:

  1. I'm loving all your beautiful aqua blues in the bathroom.The dark brown and light blue is stunning together.


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