Craft Marketing Tip: Don’t Oversell
By Linda Murdock

Here’s another craft marketing tip: Don’t Oversell. What does that mean? When a customer is about to buy something that they like, you, the craft person, keep talking about all the benefits and the hard work that went into making your product. You are so enthusiastic about it that you make the sale of an item all about yourself. It can make people uncomfortable, especially if it removes the buyer from the conversation. He or she may be thinking, “I’ve already said I want the item, why does she keep trying to sell it to me?”

It is natural to get excited when someone enjoys your craft so much that they want to buy it and take it home. However, there is a way of engaging that person without dominating the conversation. You might ask if the customer is buying for herself or as a gift. That might trigger a second purchase (as a gift for someone) and help you get the customer back into the picture.

If artisans appear too eager for a sale, they may chase the customer away. Once a potential buyer has an item in his or her hand, chances are the sale is a foregone conclusion. There is something about picking up an item that conveys ownership in the mind of the customer. Thus, unless you are selling something that is breakable, be aware that a customer handling an item is just one small step from becoming a sale.

Craft people need to tune into their hands-on buyers and know when to just say thanks and ring up the sale. You might offer to hold onto an item, while the buyer looks for other things they might like at your booth. By overselling or pushing the sale after it has been made, you take the chance that customers will change their mind or that they will hurriedly buy the product just to get away. This might cost you a second sale from the same buyer. Even worse, it might chase away other buyers, who have overheard the discussion and been frightened away.

This is not to say overzealous salespeople don’t make a lot of sales. They often do. How many of you have bought from them just to get away? The overall experience isn’t all that pleasant. Most artisans don’t want their customers to be forced to buy something, if they don’t really want it. It is much better if buyers walk away with the warm feeling that they have found the perfect one-of-a-kind gift.

Most craft people want acknowledgement and appreciation for their creativity almost as much as a sale. If a customer is interested, it doesn’t hurt to mention a discount if they buy two or show them an item that is on sale for that show only. Some people can’t resist a bargain. But here again, reading your customer is important. You don’t want to sound like a retail establishment, which the customer is obviously trying to get away from by coming to a craft show.

Most of your creative products speak for themselves. Buyers, who are also crafting people, recognize almost immediately the amount of work that an item takes to make or the originality of its presentation. For those who don’t craft, the details are not as visible. All they know is that they like it.

It is up to crafters to read the body language and facial expressions of each buyer to know when to sell a little more and when to let customers sell themselves. It is a fine line that comes with watching and listening and not just with talking. If customers seem hesitant, it might be that they want the item, but wished it came in a different color. Or they might like the color, but wished the item was available in a different style or size or length, as with a hat or scarf. If they like what they see, the right words from you can help them overlook some of these concerns. In other words, they like you, because you are listening to them, and they want to say thanks by buying something from you. Sometimes a sale is just that simple.

Copyright 2016 by Linda K Murdock. Linda Murdock owns her own business and has written 4 books, including a recent e-book listing things to do in Colorado. (See her All Things Colorado Wildlife video.) She blogs about Colorado and its crafty people. To find more tips on craft show selling and preparation, read her articles at

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