Tips & Talk 6 – Craft Show Convo Part 1 – Selection and Results

Woman selecting a product at a craft showCelebration Time! Craft shows are finally coming back and we’re all ready to be together and have face-to-face (screenless) conversations again.

Whether you’ve just started your business and are looking for your first sales, or you’ve just never considered a local consumer show as a way to sell your products, here’s how to figure out which show(s) is right for you.

Craft shows, farmer’s markets, church bazaars, county fairs and flea markets – there are a lot of options!

And guess what? There’s still more to do when the show is over and you’ve packed up and left. Now it’s time to analyze your results to decide if it’s a repeat for next time or you should move on. This isn’t as obvious a decision as you may think. It’s not only about sales.

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Transcript
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Hi there.

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I see that you made it over to the new tips

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and talk portion of the podcast.

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These are bite-sized topics that I pull from community questions and

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things that I'm observing in the world of handmade small business.

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I know it felt like it might never happen,

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but shows are back.

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Now I get that.

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Not everybody can do that yet,

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but it's happening.

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I think of it.

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Like we've all been stuck in a bird cage and now

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finally the door has been opened and we can fly out

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to freedom.

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This is actually going to be a two part series.

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So the first one right now is going to be how

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to select the shows that you should be in.

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And then how do you determine whether they were successful or

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not next week?

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We're going to be talking about the struggles and then how

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do you resolve them?

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What are the solutions today we're diving into?

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How do you select a show and how do you know

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if the results were right,

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so that you should do the show again,

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all of that I'm hearing from so many of you that

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your out at shows,

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and even if you were marginally doing shows up until this

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point, because we were social distancing,

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you know,

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kind of limited with what we can do with shows.

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Things are opening up again.

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And, Oh my gosh,

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what a breath of fresh air.

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We're talking about this a lot over in the breeze,

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my Facebook group and people have been asking,

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well, what type of shows should I attend?

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How do I know which show to select all of that?

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I have five different ways.

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You can decide whether a show could be right for you.

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Let me clarify this by saying,

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I'm not talking about wholesale shows to where you're wanting to

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get placement in retail shops,

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talking specifically about you direct to the consumer shows,

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okay, we can be talking about craft shows.

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They can also be called church bazaars,

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farmer's market,

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all of that.

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How do you determine which ones to go to where you

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shouldn't invest your time and your money,

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and then how do you make sure that you're getting results

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or you judge,

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whether you should go back and try that show again.

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The very first thing to look at is who's going to

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be walking the show and are they your customer?

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So many of you sell to a local audience.

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These craft shows are right up your alley because you're selling

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to a community.

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Who's going to be buying from you on a regular basis.

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Anyway, maybe predominantly women with children,

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all of that is that the audience that's going to be

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walking the show.

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And I say that because sometimes let's say you go to

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a County fair.

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You're thinking of analyzing and doing a show with a County

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fair. Well,

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who's going to that show.

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That's probably more families.

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Women are bringing their husbands and their kids,

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and it's a whole day out Saturday afternoon type thing,

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possibly a more of a local arc show might be more

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girlfriends going together.

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If there's an element to any of these shows that is

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involving music,

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a band stand,

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then maybe it's more couples who are dating.

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So try and see if you can figure out who the

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people are going to be,

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who are going to be walking that show.

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And if they are your potential customer,

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then that is a check Mark in the right box that

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this is a show you should be considering.

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All right.

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So first thing are the people who are attending the show,

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your potential customer.

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Second thing I would look at is who is the one

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who's putting on the show,

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who is the organizer.

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If they've been doing these shows for a long time,

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then that also slants everything in the favor of that.

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This should be a show that you should be considering.

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Not that you're going to discount any shows that are from

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brand new organizers,

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but the thing to consider is the experience that they have

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in putting on these shows.

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And then also,

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how are they going to be promoting the show?

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Do they just put it up and hope that people come

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in the case of a farmer's market?

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Many times this is a weekly show that's going to run

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for months or possibly a monthly show,

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weekly or monthly.

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That's going to run all the way from whatever your season

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is. So here in Chicago,

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usually our farmer's markets run from,

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I'm going to say the middle of may until the end

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of September or something like that.

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So if it's a regular consistent show and they're promoting that

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show regularly,

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then you're going to get the advantage of that.

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And it integrates into their schedule because if,

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especially if it's weekly,

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then they're going to think,

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Oh, every Wednesday morning,

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I'm going to go and get my fresh produce and my

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fresh flowers and some candles or whatever else at the farmer's

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market. Okay.

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So that's another way to think about and analyze whether this

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is a show you would want to go to another great

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way to find out how shows are being put on how

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well they're being promoted organization of a show is by talking

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to other vendors who are there either at the show with

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you at the time,

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or have already done the show in prior years.

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So reaching out to other people who have participated and getting

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some feedback from them is always helpful.

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Another thing to consider is the time of year,

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if you are a knitter and all you sell are wool,

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hats and scarves and mittens spring show may not be appropriate

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for you,

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but end of the summer early fall show and obviously into

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the holidays would be perfect.

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Absolutely perfect for you.

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Of course,

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given that example that I just gave,

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if you only sell things that are for winter,

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is there some,

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a spinoff of a product that would be good for the

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spring because you're losing out on a whole half a year.

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If you only have products that are good for winter time,

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right? So is the time of year appropriate and the location.

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And the reason I say location is specifically how difficult is

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it for people to get there if people are spending a

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Saturday afternoon,

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but they have to park three miles away from where a

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show is because there simply isn't any parking.

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Yes, that speaks to the popularity of the show.

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And that could be good,

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but if it's not,

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because there are so many people coming to the show,

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they're just as inadequate parking,

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then people might not come.

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So how accessible is the show based on parking,

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whether it's right downtown community,

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where people can see it,

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the ease of accessibility is also going to relate to how

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many people are actually going to attend the show.

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And then the final thing of course is price.

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And I really want you to be careful in terms of

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rejecting a show,

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just because it's really expensive,

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because think about it.

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If it costs you let's say $400 to be at a

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show, but you're going to make $2,000

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then potentially the show was worth it.

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And what if you make $5,000

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that might be better than a show that only costs you

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a hundred dollars to attend and you didn't make a single

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sale. So don't automatically discount the initial price of a show,

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go through and look at these other things that I was

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just talking about first,

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before you decide yes or no to a show.

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So let me summarize the overall areas that you should be

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looking at when you're considering a face-to-face craft show to decide

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whether you want to participate,

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who is attending the show and are they your audience?

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What's the reputation of the organizer?

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Have they been in business for a while or do they

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have a good reputation in terms of being organized and promoting

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the show,

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talk to some other vendors to see what their experience has

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been at the show?

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Is it the right time of year for you with the

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product that you sell?

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How about the location?

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Is it easily accessible and in a traffic pattern where people

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will naturally walk through because sometimes you attract people just organically

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and some people will just happen upon the show because they're

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in the area.

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And then finally the price type with the price at the

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very end specifically,

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because I don't want that to be the first thing where

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you totally decide,

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Nope, this.

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So isn't for me,

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it's too expensive.

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Okay. Now I want to get into the Results of the

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show and how you determine whether the show was successful or

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not. And teaser,

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it's not all about just how many sales you made at

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the show.

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How do you judge then whether the show is a success

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or not.

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And I have to tell you,

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after you've analyzed and gone through my checklist and actually entered

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a show,

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you've set yourself up in the best light that you possibly

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can for our show.

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Now, at the end,

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was it a success?

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You always Have to test shows.

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Okay. And I say that because I've heard some people saying,

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you know what?

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Someone called me up.

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They told me I should do this show just because there's

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a lot of traffic.

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They thought it would be really interesting.

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And there wasn't anybody in my category at the show.

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And they said,

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it's really not.

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What I would think would be a great show for me,

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but then they go and it's fabulous.

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So that's where I say the Results you have to test

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a show.

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The other thing is be careful when you're analyzing your results.

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If all of a sudden the sky opened up and you

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had thunder enlightening for four hours of a five-hour show,

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gosh, that wasn't something that you could do anything about,

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but it clearly would affect the traffic going through the show.

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So you can't automatically then say that the show didn't work

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because you didn't really get a chance to give the show

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the best test that it possibly could.

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So the first thing is be careful when you are testing

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that you take into account any parameters that didn't allow it

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to be a fair test.

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The second thing when you're judging success of the show is

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not just to do each show once.

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If you do your local craft show and there may be

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doing three or four shows over the course of the year,

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you were seeing the traffic in the show,

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they look to be your customer.

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You felt like it was organized.

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Well, they promoted well,

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and you got,

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let's say you broke.

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Even. I would do that show again.

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When people start seeing you over and over again,

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show after show after show,

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they become more comfortable with you.

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You start developing relationships with people who are coming to the

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booth and your sales will start growing over time.

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If it's the right show for you.

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So don't test a show one time and decide,

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Nope, this show doesn't work for me.

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Also along those same lines,

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don't just do one craft show.

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Let's say you have miserable Results.

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And then say,

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craft shows overall as an entire category,

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don't work for you.

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Maybe you misread the audience and it wasn't the appropriate audience.

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Or maybe as I was just talking about,

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there was a weather situation.

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You need to do several shows before you can decide whether

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they are the right thing to be putting into your product

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mix or not.

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And I would suggest to everybody,

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if you have a handmade product and you're just starting,

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they are absolutely the best place to start when you're trying

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out your product.

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And you're seeing if there's a market.

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And why do I say that?

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It leads to my next point here about whether the show

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was successful or not.

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What do you learn from people who are coming up to

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your table?

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What if they're looking at products and they just can't make

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a decision,

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so they walk away,

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huh? Maybe I have too many options.

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I'm confusing people.

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And I need to limit my options next time and see

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if that works better.

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You've gotten great market information for yourself.

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What if people come and they are asking for something different

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than you had,

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like they're saying,

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well, do you have this in a different size?

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Or do they have this in different colors?

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You're getting new research in about your product.

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So this is a huge opportunity for you to learn more

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about the receptiveness of your product.

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So just those learnings alone are so valuable and worth.

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Some of the entrance costs.

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Let's say you just broke even on a show.

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If you captured so much more information from the show about

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your product and things that you can adjust to make it

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better for next time,

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that's in the plus column of a successful show as well.

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Another thing is leads.

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Maybe you had a number of people coming up and taking

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interest in your product.

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And you had,

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if you follow what I suggest some way to capture their

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email addresses,

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maybe you did a sweepstakes or some type of a giveaway

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so that they put their email into a bucket.

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Still. It shows a lot of times we're doing this physical.

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It might be a QR code.

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You're now with the pandemic.

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A lot of people are doing more touchless still at the

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shows. So maybe you do a QR code scan to enter

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into a raffle,

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but you've collected some type of an email address or something

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where they are now a prospect of yours that you can

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talk to later.

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You can suggest that they follow you on social media so

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that when you're doing your next show,

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they know you're going to be there.

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They can come find you relationship building.

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So what type of leads are you getting from these shows?

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If you're getting a lot of really good qualified leads and

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not so many sales that still in the plus category,

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the other thing I would look at is how much traffic

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is actually walking the show.

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Are you seeing that there are a lot of people coming

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by or are they just dribbling and traveling in that also

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speaks to how well the show was promoted.

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If it was a good time of year,

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if it's a good location,

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it's kind of validation of what you were thinking about when

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you were analyzing the show before you came in.

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And finally the most obvious.

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And again,

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I put this down at the bottom.

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Not because it's not important,

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but because I don't want it to be the very first

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thing that you look at,

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of course it always is,

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but I want you to consider other things.

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And that is overall sales.

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I would say that a show where you don't even break,

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even, especially if you're just starting out or you just break,

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even still could be a successful show.

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If you have made contact with people,

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learn some other things about your products and maybe it's the

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way you were displaying things.

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Maybe people were confused.

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They kept asking you the price of things.

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So, you know,

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now, Oh,

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I either need to put prices on all my products or

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I need to have some type of banner or a sign

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that says what my products cost,

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where there a lot of people who were interested in buying,

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but your checkout process was just so long that people started

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walking away because they didn't have time to wait.

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Or they got pulled away because their child got into something

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that was running off to another booth or something.

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Do you need to speed up your checkout process?

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You know,

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things like that you learn.

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So that could also have affected sales,

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even though people were interested in buying.

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They did.

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So when you,

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you think of your overall sales,

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I want you to think of the experience in total and

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analyze it in that manner.

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So again,

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the summary in terms of judging the success.

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So the show is as follows.

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Make sure you just don't do one show and just say,

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okay, craft shows don't work for me.

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Make sure that you do several shows.

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And if a show looked like it was marginal,

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do it a second time because people get to know you

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and will have seen you and you'll be building credibility.

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So don't just judge based on one show,

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how was the traffic in the show?

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Were there a lot of people coming through plus traffic equals

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opportunity if they weren't you're right audience.

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And there are a lot of people passing by then it's

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your responsibility to attract them into your booth,

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by how you show up as a person,

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by how your booth is displayed by the experience people get

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at the booth,

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all of those things.

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What types of observations did you have from customers?

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Are there things that you should tweak so that the next

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show you can really land it because you've learned so much

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more. Have you gotten a lot of leads?

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Let's say you,

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the show broke even,

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but you got 50 new leads of people who were really

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interested in your product.

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They just didn't buy it.

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Maybe they're going to buy for the holidays.

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Okay? These are all people then that you can be marketing

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to moving forward.

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These are 50 more people who,

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if you wouldn't have done that show,

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you never would have been able to stay in communication with

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moving forward.

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And finally then of course,

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overall the sales.

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So how did your sales do the best shows obviously are,

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I'm going to say,

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I'd love to see you double at least your show investment.

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If you can do more,

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obviously better,

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the more,

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the better,

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and some people,

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10 times their shows.

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But a lot of these people who are doing that have

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done what I've just said,

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they've analyzed and they're going to the right shows first.

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And then they're observing what's going on in the shows.

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How can they make it better and better and better and

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better. So these people who are getting these really great results

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have been doing this for a while.

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They are craft show experts.

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If you will.

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I think there is nothing like in-person shows because of the

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feedback that you're getting,

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because you're right together with each other,

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because you can talk individually to people's interests and needs.

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You can direct them to the right product.

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You start building a relationship with them.

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You can make sure that you get their email if they

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don't purchase right away so that you'll be able to communicate

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with them further.

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You can ask them to follow you on social.

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So they'll know the shows that you're going to be at

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in the future.

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All of those things make for the best opportunity for you

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to connect and grow your customer base.

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And of course get sales so exciting that we're back out,

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live again,

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being able to be around people again,

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and being able to capture all that face-to-face shows are able

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to provide for us.

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Go out,

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look and see what shows are available in your community.

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Run them through my little test list here of whether they're

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a good show for you or not.

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And if you do go to these shows,

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then circle back and analyze those results and do that actually

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right after you've done the show,

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because if you're doing a couple of shows,

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you might forget like our memories fade as time goes on.

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So do it right after that show has taken place,

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make some notes for yourself of what was good about the

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show. What was maybe not as good about the show that

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you could control and that you couldn't control.

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I E whether right,

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so that you then can go back.

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If a show annualizes comes back the next year,

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you can determine whether you should do it or not based

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on what you remember and learned when you access your notes

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from the prior year.

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Next week is going to be part two of the craft

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show convo.

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And we're going to talk about the struggles and then the

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solutions to those struggles for craft shows.

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So you'll be able to take these two together and make

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the craft shows all that they can possibly be for you.

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I can't wait to hear that you're out there and all

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the success you have at your next craft show.

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That's a wrap going to get to the point kind of

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girl. And this is what you can expect from these quick

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midweek sessions.

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Now it's your turn go out and fulfill that dream of

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yours. Share your handmade products with us.

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We want them,

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