When you first start a new creative business there is so much information available out there to support you. Information from small business experts, mentors and coaches aimed at supporting you and your business.
There is some brilliant resources on marketing, growing your online presence, utilising different apps and 'how to' guides but there seemed to be a lack of content around practical selling tips particularly aimed at the beginning when you are starting a new creative business.
When I first started my candle business I soon learnt that I needed to go and find some customers and that meant I needed to go and sell. When I did sign up to a first local craft market, other than bringing my own products I had no idea what I needed to do, bring or even what to do with myself.
I had no previous selling experience at all. None.
I remember madly researching on line for any practical top tips I could find, I even looked through Pinterest for stall display ideas but all with not much joy. I wanted to know what the top tips were for selling your products without being too persuasive.
I am a natural introvert and would rather sink into the background than be on a shining stage, but I can honestly say that I have been able to sell my products face to face very successfully. So I would love to share some of my essential top practical tips for selling at your first market that has helped me.
Educate rather than 'Sell too'
Selling is sometimes the uncomfortable part of being a creative and it doesn't always come naturally to a lot of people especially natural introverts like myself. I find that you can get around this giant step by talking about products.
Talking to people rather than cold selling.
By talking to the public or potential buyers, they are learning about your products and become genuinely informed before they can make a decision.
Different ways of doing this are:
-You can talk about your processes and your different techniques you use, which enables you to give a background of the products and provides a platform of customer education about the merits.
-You can talk about the ingredients, materials, wood or fabric you use. I talk to people about the sustainable, natural ingredients I use, which can help guide through the quality of the candles and gives a history of the eco-loveliness of the products.
For me this feels so much more comfortable and gives them a chance to explore, understand your brand and ask questions. I have never liked to be 'sold too' and so I do not expect to 'sell too' people. When you can openly discuss and educate people about your products it really does support the decision making about there valued purchases.
When I say red lipstick I mean, what can you bring with you to make you feel good about yourself, something to build your self confidence during the day. For me I wear Red Lipstick, this makes me feel confident and good about myself and I instantly become the proud confident maker and owner of the stall. I wear red lipstick for me so I can be the best creative I can be when I am selling at a market. It could be something as simple as a lucky charm, or a favourite outfit, a bracelet or a memento from home which you can surreptitiously put at the back of your stall and only you can see it.
Bring a friend
Having someone next to you that can support you at your first market is a definitely worth doing if you able to. They can be provide you with lots of moral support, essential chatter and even help you set up and look after the stall if you are busy with a customer. They can also be a lovely distraction in the quieter times and make great cups of tea. I have seen other stall holders bring there partners, Mothers and Fathers along for support.
When I first started I did call upon some of lovely friends who generously came along to help and provide such lovely moral support when I needed it! You could even give them one of your lovely products for there efforts!
Go and visit other stallholders
This is important because your neighbours will be your biggest supporters. The other stall holders around you, might well have been in the creative business for a long time and have lots of experience of not only markets, but selling and have probably seen lots of people come and go and therefore are the experts.
They will know some really useful practical top tips, for e.g they will know where the toilets are and who sells the best cakes!
They will also look after your stall if you need a quick trip to the refreshments and will help you if you need spare change. They will also buy your products! This is true and has happened to me many a times, normally in the quieter periods or at the end. If another stall holder buys your products (high five!) why not offer them a discount, this will go a long way and may even help you further down the line, because they may go to other events and they recommend them to you or even recommend your products to other customers! (another high five)
1. Educate rather than 'Sell Too'
2. Red Lipstick
3. Bring a friend
4. Go visit the other Stallholders
Lastly and most importantly, it can be a long day at a market if you have no one to talk to and you need to talk to someone and it would be lovely if you made acquaintances at the beginning, because by the end of the day you never know you could make a friend and become big supporters of each other!