Last Monday in the Boston Globe’s Business section “Business Filter” a small, one paragraph article titled “Customers Hate You” caught my eye.
According to a recent Marketing Daily report 62% of Americans say companies don’t care much about their needs; 62%. That is up from 52% in 2004.
And what does that have to do with you? Well, if you sell your work at retail art and craft shows, it seems to mean that you better pay attention to your customers. Though the Marketing Daily report targeted large companies and corporations, I think you can extrapolate this to the art and craft show circuit.
How often have you gone to an art and craft show, walked into an artist’s booth, and have not been acknowledged with a simple “hello”?
Have you ever wanted to make a purchase or perhaps place a special order only to get some strange vibe or attitude from the artist which caused you not to make the purchase?
Now I’m not saying we, as artists, can’t have a bad day. Perhaps in the run-up to the show you’ve come down with a cold and go into the show feeling less than ideal. Perhaps it is a slow show; people aren’t buying or people just aren’t coming to the show.
Yet when that potential customer walks into your booth, as much as you may not feel like it, you need to acknowlege the person and put on your best “game face.” It doesn’t mean you need to turn into the proverbial used car salesperson. It does mean, however, that by simply saying “Hi. If you have any questions feel free to ask” you’ve welcomed this person into your booth.
Most customers welcome this simple recognition. You’ve acknowledged their presence. They know you’re aware of them. And then you can back away. Simple conversation may follow; a question about your work, your inspiration; whatever. It doesn’t guarantee a purchase. However, you’ve made a positive impression and perhaps they’ll take your business card for future reference.
And in these days of stress, anxiety, and customers feeling their needs aren’t being met, a positive impression really can go a long way.