A note from the FNO
Greetings FNO Artists and Craftspeople,
This month I present a very cool article about a quintessential staple
of every fair,
the "Be-Backs." We've all heard people say "I'll be back" upon
leaving a booth without making a purchase. This article by Quinn
McDonald of QuinnCreative.com explains the 5 different types of
be-backs and which to pay the most attention to!
Festival Network Online
Be-Backs: Love Them or
Hate Them, They are Here to Stay
by Quinn McDonald
She looked interested in my jewelry. "This is so different," she said,
moving to the next piece. "Now this one is really different," she said,
trying on another piece. "I can't believe how different these are," she
murmured, "none of them are alike, and they are all so different."
Finally she turned to me, and said, "I'm shopping for my sister."
Pleased, I said, "Do you see anything she might like?" The potential
customer sighed. "Well, no, I'm looking for something different. But I
might be back." Then she left.
Be-backs. Artists joke about them, mutter when they leave, roll their
eyes when they hear the phrase. But Be-Backs are a part of the show
artist's life, and knowing what to do may help you improve your sales.
The Eskimos may have a hundred different words for snow, but craft-show
goers have at least five meanings for "I'll be back."
"I'm looking for something nice to say as I leave." No craft show
attendee can make a purchase at every show or from every artist. But
they will never buy unless they come into your booth. It's your job to
delight them, entertain them, and make them like your work so much that
they will want to buy it. But you can't force someone to like your work
or to spend money they don't have. A browser who wants to leave without
insulting you will often say "I'll be back." It's the equivalent of
"I'll call you," that you used to hear (or say) at the end of a date.
To paraphrase the title of a popular book, it means they just aren't
that into your work. Let them go.
"I didn't find exactly what I wanted." Perhaps the browser sees
something that makes an impression, but it's not exactly what they had
thought of. Maybe it's not the right size or the color they had hoped.
This is a Be-Back worth talking to. Ideally, you have a greeting
or statement you make when someone comes into your booth. If you get a
response, you can add another statement and begin a relationship with
the browser. A friendly exchange is something a client will remember
more than the artist reading in the booth.
Do some detective work. After welcoming a prospect into your booth,
find out about their taste in color, style, shape. Do it by saying
something interesting about one of your pieces. Did you make the frame
for that photograph? Is the color of the plate a happy accident?
Once you engage a client with a short (about 15-20 second) story, an
interested prospect will have some sort of response. Are they shopping
for themselves or for a gift? What are they looking for? If you have
something similar that's not out, mention it. If you do custom work,
mention that, too. They may not have to leave to find what they want.
"I want to compare prices." It doesn't matter if you have high-end
items or a sales bin, some customers simply
must hunt for a bargain. I don't recommend lowering prices, ever, but
if you want the looker to become a buyer, you might want to hand the
Be-Back a card with your booth number written on it, and add, "If you
do come back to my booth, I can offer you X% off if you make the
purchase today." It's wise to have a date on the card as well. You want
that sale today, it's not a coupon for the future. How much to
discount? It doesn't have to be a huge percent, even a small amount can
make your booth more attractive than someone else's. But it is also
important to remember that price is not every shopper's hot button.
"I'm bored." There are always people who come to shows because they
need to kill time. You see them strolling the aisles talking on their
cell phones, not looking right or left. Sometimes they come with
friends and both stay deep in conversation while standing in your
booth. Worse still, they might come into your booth, handling
everything without seeing anything because they are absorbed in their
story. They want attention, but it's hard to get it and keep talking on
the phone, so they use a number of phrases to get your attention. They
will ask if you have a website, if you will be back at another show
later in the year, if you have a retail store with more inventory to
see, or for a card. They are hard to convert to clients, but since a
show is all about sales, it's worth a try.
Go ahead and speak to them, even though they are on the phone. Maybe
they can handle a second conversation. Try adding a detail about a
piece. If they are truly not interested, they will leave.
"I want to see everything at the show before I buy anything." There are
some people who cruise the entire show, marking down favorite booths.
They then make another pass, deciding what items to buy. They may even
make a third pass to decide between favorites. These shoppers are
persistent and careful shoppers, and of all the Be-Backs deserve your
full attention. If they show interest in a piece, tell them something
special about it, or give a brief description about how the piece is
made or how it can be used. These shoppers are attracted to friendly
and special attention, and worth your effort. Try to begin a
conversation with them about your work, their interests, what they have
seen at the show so far, or ask their opinion on a piece. Once you have
some information about them, try to help them visualize how they can
use your piece.
Many interested show-goers come to a show to live the life of an
artist. Give these people some attention and share something of
interest to them, and they will be the Be-Back who always comes back to
visit your booth.
(c) 2007-8. All rights reserved.
Quinn McDonald is an artist and a certified creativity coach who helps
her clients get unstuck and move forward. She runs workshops through
her business, QuinnCreative. See her work at QuinnCreative.com
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