I came across this article by Patrice Lewis (author of The Home Craft Business:How to make it survive and thrive) for Crafts Report ( unfortunately isnt not linkable format so I have to cut and paste) and I thought it was very interesting as well as a little funny for those of us who encounter that rather "Difficult" customer at craft shows.
With the new 2010 Craft Show Season already in full swing, its a way for to to grow your business as well as get the word out about your product, but, as with everything, there’s a downside—a factor that literally every craftsperson has experienced:
The Difficult Customer.
You know the type I mean, the kind that backs you into a corner and regales you with details of Great Aunt Martha’s gallbladder operation. The one who knows more about how to make your product or run your business than you do. The one who tries to bargain down the price by criticizing every aspect of your product.The one who invites himself to sit down in the chair left vacant when your husband dashed to the restroom (and then proceeds to tell you all about Great Aunt Martha’s multiple root canals).
So how do you deal with do-gooders, busybodies,know-it-alls and other annoying and persistent types? When you’re a captive audience at a craft show or other selling venue—when your sales depend on you being pleasant and professional to browsers—how do you get rid of those people who have no intention of buying anything and apparently want to make sure no one else
So here are ways to deal with 10 types of difficult customers:
1. THE PROUD RELATIVE: They are always talking about their niece, son, etc., who does such fabulous work.
2.ARTSY TOURISTS: They love to go on about how they spent a lot of money on vacation buying some art or crafts (yet never consider spending a cent with you).
3.CONCERNED PARENTS: They ask endless questions about how to help their 33-year-old daughter—who has never worked a day in her life but has spent the past 15 years in college, graduate school, art academies, overseas study, etc.—to get rich in art overnight.
4.BRAGGERS: They brag endlessly about another artist.
5.THE OVERSHARER: They like to describe in minute detail every piece of arts and crafts that they have in every nook and cranny of their home.
6.WHINERS: They whine about how they just do not have time to do the arts and crafts for which they have boundless skills and talents, but were sidetracked by ___________ (fill in the excuse).
7. OLDER SINGLE MEN ON THE PROWL:“Usually I can tell whether someone is interested in my product or in having a conversation. I get a lot of older single men who will stop in for a conversation with a captive audience (me). I answer a few questions and then ask,‘Are you looking for a gift?’ Once I figure out that they are just there to talk, I busy myself with straightening or I turn my attention to another customer. Eventually they get the point and move on to another victim. I don’t feel a need to be accommodating to someone who is obviously
not exhibiting interest in my product just because they’re standing in my booth.”
8.SOCIALIZERS: “My booth can get crowded sometimes and I get former customers, other craftspeople or acquaintances stopping in to chat (not to purchase). I move myself to the side so that they have to move, too. I don’t want them standing in front of my product and blocking the view of someone who is there to buy.”
9. BORED HUSBANDS: “I keep my chairs behind my table, but I have offered a chair to husbands in tow just to keep them from being so bored the wife feels it’s time to move on. I will also chat up a husband to try to get him interested in the product his wife is looking at. It’s amazing how quickly you can turn a sour, bored expression into an interested one just by engaging them in the process, asking their opinion of how the jewelry looks on the wife or asking if they are having a good day.”
10.WITCHY CUSTOMER: “You have to be very firm about what you will put up with. Sometimes I get a customer who obviously doesn’t ‘get’my work and is really critical or asks for changes. I have empowered myself that I don’t have to sell to these people. If someone is nice and shows appreciation for what I do, I amhappy to work with them to make the piece work by changing a chain or adjusting the length. Ultimately, you get to make the decision to what ends you will go to make a sale. “All of these strategies are undertaken with a smile and extreme courtesy,”concludes Tischler.“I am never rude to anyone who enters my booth, I am just very
clear withmyself about what I will put up with. It’s a lot of hard work to make a product, run a business and set up booths. And, on top of that, I also have to pay additional income taxes. If I am going to deal with annoying, cranky, hard-to-please people, I might as well get a 9-to-5 job and stop paying self-employment taxes.”
On a personal note I find that looking them in the eye and saying “And which of my products
were you interested in buying today?" really works on all these types of customers .
AND ...if all this fails, just start waving your hands and telling them to "Get Away From My Booth" always works, though the cops may be called, lol