As an artist or crafter, you have more than enough creativity to create beautiful works of art or crafts that people want to buy. The actual creative process is a time for you to create what you want, but once the project is complete, that is when you need to immediately start thinking about your customers.
Here’s the thing - and we’re stating the obvious here - customers are the ones who make it so you can pay the bills and keep working as a creative professional. It is a good idea to always keep your customers in mind, especially if you are selling your products to them directly. The following are a few tips and ideas to help you attract and keep your customers.
- Think like a customer: One of the best things you can do to help your business is to put yourself in place of a customer. Look at your website. Is it easy to navigate and can customers easily purchase from the site? How does your booth look? Is it inviting and attract attention? Chances are if you are not impressed, your customers won’t be impressed either. Do what you need to do to make your business attractive to customers.
- First impressions are everything: This tip goes hand in hand with tip #1. If the customer has a bad experience with you, your website, your booth, your arts or crafts, or anything else associated with you, there might not ever be another opportunity for you to win them back. And what’s worse, these customers will tell their friends and family about the experience and tell them to avoid your business as well. On the other hand, a great first impression could lead to a loyal and faithful customer (and their family and friends) for years to come. Make sure any customer - or potential customer - leaves feeling good about you and your business.
- Nailing the “last” impression is crucial as well: After a customer has purchased an item (or they are leaving without purchasing), the “goodbye” you give them means a lot. Sometimes it can be difficult with lots of customers waiting for you to help them, but it is always a good idea to treat a customer as if they are your most important. If there’s no other customers waiting for you, walk the customer to the door. Ask them to come again. Thank them more than once for their purchase. If they didn’t buy anything, still thank them for coming in and do not let them see your disappointment (or, let’s face it, sometimes resentment) that they didn’t make a purchase. Who knows - they may have just forgot their credit card and will be back in two minutes to purchase every art piece or craft in the store! (We can dream, right?). A good “goodbye” can lead to repeat customers.
- Listen to your customers: Occasionally customers will tell you something about your business. When what they tell you is good, you are ecstatic, but when it is something negative, you might tend to feel hurt, angry, or even defensive. No matter what the customer tells you, thank them for their feedback and think long and hard about what they told you. If you feel their comment is something you should consider (creating more of a particular craft, for example), do what you can to accommodate their request. If their request is legitimate but you don’t have the resources to accommodate them right now (lowering prices or fixing the parking at your establishment), let them know that you will address these issues as soon as possible. And, of course, sometimes there are requests that you simply cannot fulfill (painting your entire store bright pink because that is the customer’s favorite color). In this case, still thank the customer for the comment and make them feel appreciated.
- Avoid just “going through the motions”: Your customers can tell when you are in a rut. If you’re not excited to interact with them, they will leave and take their money with them. Obviously, this is not good for business. A great idea is to treat each interaction with a customer as a way to meet new people or learn more about your loyal customers. Let them know and feel that you appreciate them.
Following these tips will give you a much better chance to gain and keep customers.
Do you have other tips you want to share? Want to discuss the tips we listed? Please comment below.