So far this month we have been looking at Craft Shows with the release of my new course and today I wanted to bring in Ophelie who helps build confidence in introverted entrepreneurs to speak to us about confidence at a craft show.
If you're anything like me, you love spending hours in your workshop. You have that creative mind that helps you to turn any idea into jewellery/ bags/ furniture/ cupcakes. You know, by heart, what to do first and next.
The blueprint is running in your head to craft astonishing handmade products. No need to say that you look for the highest quality possible for your supplies. Crafting in the comfort of your home is as natural as breathing. More importantly, you KNOW you're good at it!
But the truth is, you are running a business. On the one hand, you have to come up with a product. That product could be anything from a handmade jar of strawberry jam to a tailored wedding dress. On the other hand, you have to sell those products to live/ to pay your bills/ to earn money.
In a word, you have to SELL.
I know, I know... Suddenly, your confidence level may have fallen into the abyss. Your throat is drying out (nope, you're not living a desert). You may start babbling, and you start looking for the closest curtains to hide behind. There's a good chance that you are wishing for a gentle sponsor who would buy everything without asking a question. While it may happen, let me be honest: it’s rare!
So, you have two options: Giving up or Getting up.
Sit in your comfy armchair, pour a cup of coffee, grab a pen and paper, I've got something that could change the way you sell. In fact, you can stay 100% authentic as long as you know how you can raise your self-confidence to the top.
I'm going to share my best tips with you to:
- deal with your happy customers,
- handle your own anxiety
It’s NOT that hard. How do I know it’s possible? I’m Introvert, and I’m so proud of it. In the last 10 years, I’ve self-hosted about 100 live events, webinars, workshops. I’ve managed large groups (400+) without a blink and talked to 600+ total strangers in 6 hours to get my survey done. Now, I help Introvert Entrepreneurs to enjoy public speaking and Livestream situations so they can connect easily with their audience AND respect their quiet personality.
Before we dive in
I want you to be aware that being an introvert or an extrovert has NOTHING to do with your self-confidence.
In a down to earth approach, it's the "confidence in oneself and in one's powers and abilities". Researchers believe that self-confidence is partly learnt in the early stages. They also emphasise that self-confidence can be strengthened as we grow up.
Think about your self-confidence as a muscle you can grow as much as you want. You don't have to compare it with anyone else but you. It's a journey, and it's a pleasure to support you in the early steps.
Grab your pen, the fun begins NOW.
How to deal with your potential customers (even the angry ones)
Tip #1: Try to bring a friend/ a parent/ your BFF with you
Picture it: You're busy setting up your shop, placing your items and looking for these damn stickers at the bottom of your bag. Then, you're hearing: "Hello, do you have this one in blue?"
There's a good chance that you don't even know what they're talking about nor what to answer. Let me introduce you the "early bird customers".
Those sweet clients who are waiting for the doors to open, rushing into the show, so happy to avoid the crowd. The point is, most of the time, they arrive way too early, and you don't know what to do with them.
When you come with your BFF, he/she will be able to set up your top-notch boutique while YOU have time answering initial questions. Please, go back to Sara's recommendations about setting up, I won't cover it here.
Also, your BFF will lower the pressure on your shoulders. There's nothing more awkward than waiting for customers to show up all day long. You may walk from right to left (or left to right...), and you may feel the fear in your stomach. When you are with your BFF, you are more natural. You feel at ease. You are approachable. It will help you to attract more customers WITHOUT looking desperate.
Tip #2: Your partner will help to reduce waiting customers, delight them…
If you're anything like me, you've got one head, one mouth and two arms. So, unless you're hiring an octopus, you can't multitask AND maintain a high client care quality.
When you've got 25 potential customers around you, you can't answer all, cash payments, and prepare gift packages at the same time. That's where your BFF comes to the rescue! He/she can delight your customers, answer simple questions or manage the cash machine.
He/She gives you time to focus on one problem at a time. You don't lose your sanity, and you stay calm.
Tip #3: All you need is a smile!
You don't need fancy techniques or salesy script to make more sales. You just need to tap into your customer's emotions. The easiest and simplest way to do it begins with a smile.
Our human brain is capable of funny things. For example, if you smile at a person you've never seen, he/she will smile at you as well.
Why? It's a reflex. It triggers the brain with a positive first impression. Then, it's easier to engage the conversation in a friendly mode. Don't rush into selling your goods. Be smart and accessible.
Think about how British people start a conversation. They have that natural ability to talk about the weather, the time, the day or the cuppa of tea without a blink.
Tip #4: Prepare key questions to help your customers
It's almost a mindset shift you need to do. When it comes to selling your products, it's NEVER about you. It's ALWAYS about your customers. You are here to serve them and to help them to find the product they need.
In plain old English, it means you are the ONLY one who can guide them to make the best buy. No matter the reason, your answers may change the way customers see your creation.
When you have some fundamental questions ready to use in your head, you will look very professional, and you won't look bossy. Bonus point, you won't have to think about a question on the go.
To give you a range, these issues could be around:
- security (ask about the age of the kid who will play with your toy) Is it safe for
a baby born or toddler?
- size (applicable for jewels, clothes...)
- how to use your products (especially if it's quite unusual. Ask if they want
ideas to use it)
- gift box or not? (basic but so valuable)
Don't forget to brief your BFF about simple questions he/she may be able to
- the type of payments you accept
- the gift box/wrap available
- how to join you on Facebook
- your website
If you want some ideas about how to break the ice, grab my emergency list
Always be ready to manage the trolls (aka « profiling your customers »)
This one could be tricky at first sight. But, let me tell you, you don't have to wear a Mentalist mantle to do it. You need good old fashioned tips and a twist of curiosity.
Tip #1: Don't try to avoid them!
Trolls and rude customers are a reality. No matter what you do (or not), what you say (or not), they will be ready to point your so called "mistakes".
It has NOTHING to do with you. You may have spent thousands of hours to create what they want, they will toss the idea with contempt or disgust.
It reminds me one of my first clients. I've worked 25+ hours on her logo. It was the exact reproduction of her own design. I was so proud of it. But when I came to her office to deliver it, she rejected the idea, and I never got paid.
The early you learn how to set up healthy boundaries, the merrier it is for you and your business. Think of it as a vaccine, you got it, you're safe to move on.
Tip #2: Don’t be too emotionally attached to the mean comments.
I know it's not always easy because your products are handmade or you're passionate about what you do. I get it! You're heart driven, and it's awesome as an entrepreneur. But the truth is, no everyone has the ability to see your products with your eyes.
Remember: It’s not about you, it’s about them (always). You can't be everyone's cup of tea, and that's perfectly okay. In fact, it's a chance! If there's only one dress/ one purse/ one bag for every people in the world, it would be so boring. You are bringing diversity, fun, and authenticity to the world. But, the other side of the coin is, you need to accept that some people will not be ready for you and your ideas.
It's just a fact! Nothing personal! When you go shopping, you don't buy everything from everyone. Your customers are doing the exact same thing. Do you think Louis Vuitton will get mad because you prefer Coco Chanel? No way
Tip #3: Anticipate with a polite but clear answer
This is one of my favourite tactic (especially if you're introvert). Sometimes we're not good a finding what to answer on the go. So, I always take the time to prepare some polite sentences to get rid of trolls and look professional.
Stay calm, smile and don't undervalue your work. Explain your smart point of view with something like:
"Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Indeed, we are not creating what you need, but I sincerely hope you'll find what you're looking for soon."
I've created more "emergency answers" in the free download
Tip #4: Be clear about what you do
Trolls love to dive into the little, tiny cracks they could see in your organisation. Don't let them do it and be ready to "fight" if needed.
In practice, you should:
1. Know your obligations
Depending on where your craft show is, look at liability, legal mentions, guarantee or whatever applies locally. I know Sara will cover it so think about it as a reminder.
2. Avoid overpromised
There's nothing more damaging that failing to deliver. No matter if it's a product, a service or a cup of tea (yes, again). If you KNOW you can't do it, please don't tell about it. Play it safe, do what you're excellent at and be recognised for your creations. You'll still have time to branch out, try other paths...
4 ways to decrease your own anxiety during the craft show
Tip #1: Rehearse before you go Live
If you've never taken some acting course, you're good for a boot camp. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting to spend money on acting classes. Yet, if you have time to practice with a friend, a spouse or a partner, you're going to learn so much.
Think about it as a game of roles where you are playing the vendor, and you have in front of you:
- a total fan of your work (yes, you're about to love this one)
- a complete troll
- a master at Serendipity (the one who will make you crazy after 10 000
questions but no buy)
Try to see how you react, what you see and what you can do. Practice as much as you can but please NEVER write the entire script. You want your arguments to be natural, friendly and accessible. Always focus on the benefits for the potential clients and NOT on the features of your products.
Tip #2: Know yourself and your own strengths
Our own personality can help us to go through a craft show, and we tend to forget it. If you don't know "who" you are, I encourage you to take the FREE test at www.16personalities.com
This test emphasises strengths and "weaknesses" in your personal and professional life. It identifies what you're good at and what should be
"updated". Depending on your result, you may find it challenging to meet so many strangers at once.
Don't be desperate. It's totally normal. You're not weird. You need to find your own way of dealing with a prolonged exposure to unknown people.
- take a 5 min break every 1 hour to recharge
- be there for 2 full hours then let your business partner be there for another 2 hours
- ... be creative :)
Not to mention that shyness and social anxiety have NOTHING to do with being an introvert. You can be an extrovert and experience shyness or social anxiety. Most of the time, you can practice and feel at ease with it (at least for a couple of hours). If it's way too hard for you or it seems out of your reach, don't push yourself too far and ask for help.
Bonus Point: Grab something that makes you smile (a pic, a pen, a small item). When our anxiety is over the roof, it helps us to calm down and release stress. I used that tip myself when I was a student in law and when I went through my PhD. I carried a little toy from my childhood in my purse, and it made me smiling each time.
Tip #3: Keep one sentence in mind
We talked about it earlier, but it's so crucial that I need to mention it again: « It’s not about you, it’s about them »
Use that sentence to take some distance with the questions you’ll get or the comments you’ll receive. Think of your craft show as a service you provide to your customers. You bring them some of your art and they « thank you » with a fair amount of money.
When you hide behind the curtains, it's damaging not only for you as a business owner but also to your clients. It's a disservice not to provide them what they need. They need your creations, your piece of art!
Tip #4: The "After" show Effect
It's easier to use that advice before the show, but if you have time during the show, it works as well.
I want you to take 5 minutes to jot down ideas to recharge, refuel, rest AFTER the craft show. What would you like to know after? I'm not talking about daydreaming. I'm suggesting tangible, real, feasible things you can do. It could be reading a book, having dinner with a friend, watching a movie...
List what you'd love to do and choose at least one item. It will be your reward for the fantastic "out of the box" day you spent selling your creations.
Think of it as a little treat after a long, long marathon. You deserve it, so celebrate your victory with some pampering time. My only caveat? Choose one NOW and block enough time to enjoy it. It's so easy to ditch "me time" when you're too tired.
It's time to wrap up!
You've decided to be a part of a craft show (and in itself, it's a huge reason to be proud of). Yet, I know that coming out of the comfort of your workshop to sell your products can raise your anxiety level to the top.
If you remember these simple tips, you'll not only be more comfortable, but you'll see how fun it is to sell your creations.
- It's not about you, it's about them. NOT selling is a disservice to your audience.
- Be prepared as early as possible to deal with trolls (if you need more ideas to manage them, feel free to grab your emergency list INSERT LINK)
- Bring someone with you or something to trigger your brain to stay calm
- Keep it so simple
- Pick a reward for your good job as early as you can (it's well deserved)
Be confident in your own abilities, and you'll see that self-confidence is easy to develop and to strengthen. I trust you!
Ask the expert was hosted today by;
I'm Ophelie and I'm the founder of the Intropreneur's web site where I help introvert online entrepreneurs to enjoy public speaking/ Livestream situations so they can reach more people and respect their quiet personality.