Post by Jerry Reynolds
Whether you are new to craft shows or are a seasoned veteran, one thing that you hear often is, “your products are beautiful” and then the prospective customer walks away. On one level it feels good that people recognize all the hard work that goes into your craft but it can feel hollow hearing those words time and time again.
The truth for the bulk of those customers is that before they saw your booth, they didn’t know you existed. Couple that with individual customer budgets and potentially other options at a given craft show, customers can be shy to make certain purchases.
The question we are often left with is, why did we miss these customers?
Customers go through what is called a sales funnel process. The process starts with a need and want, then awareness, timing, opportunity, options, service, and quality.
Need and Want: Generally this step of the funnel is out of your control. A customer is in need of an item that is either necessary for their daily lives or when they see it, it becomes something they want to add to their options within daily life.
Awareness: Often before people come across you at a show, they have never heard of you. Maybe they have been looking at options online and are comparing you to what they have seen.
Timing: First encounters are actually a huge opportunity to build a relationship with future customers. Create a memorable interaction for them and give them options on how to follow you so they will continue to see what you have to offer.
Opportunity: You have to be available. Whether selling through social media or in person, creating content, or being at multiple shows, that continually puts you in front of customers is vital.
Options: Once people see the quality of your products and have weighed it against other products, having a variety to choose from is important. While it is hard to have something specifically for everyone, having diversity in the selections you offer, often times can lead to special orders.
Service: At this point, you have made the sale. If they have the item in their hand as they walk away, make sure it was a great interaction and positive. If it was a special order, follow through exactly as you agreed. Setting the right expectations for delivery will make or break how someone receives their products.
Quality: You might think that quality should be higher on the list. The truth is, that quality is at the center of every step in the sales funnel. But in this instance, we are talking about practical use, everyday quality. If people love what you have made them, they can show it off to others. This is the best form of advertising and the final step in a great funnel: your previous customers bringing you new customers.
Understanding the sales funnel is truly about understanding the big picture. Take care of every potential customer as if they are ready to buy today. Downstream business, also known as future business stemming from your first interaction, is a massive part of what shows provide us as artists and craftsmen. People want to support other people, creating products that improve their lives in some way. So take advantage of the opportunity every interaction gives you to build a relationship that results in orders today and in the future.