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"Some times, some days, I know exactly what I'm doing, exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. More often though, I live my life by the seat of my pants! Not that I take a lot of risks...just that I often have no clue what I'm doing or what will be next. I paint. Of this, I am certain."

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For Artists Part One

I don't have a degree in business. What I have is common, but creative sense, and over twenty years of retail experience. I talk to people. I ask questions and listen to their answers. I read books and magazines about business, economic trends, colour, design and people.

This is where my thoughts and ideas come from.

I'm hoping that you'll enjoy my perspective and find something to encourage, inspire and think about as you get ready for your next show, head off to your store, or start a new project!

The show I did in March was a lot of fun. I not only got a few minutes on television, but on radio too! And, my sales were good as well!! I got a chance to speak with a number of vendors. Many of them seasoned show participants and all very talented! We discussed our expectations and the challenges we face when retailing in a "show to show" business. This got me to thinking about what OUR responsibilities are. What should WE be doing to ensure a good show?

Let's assume the show's producer has done their job. Our location is good, we've seen the posters, flyers and advertisements, heard the radio spots and there are people here. It's true...the number of people may not be as great as in shows past, but the way I see it, it's up to us now, to make sure these people are happy they are here. After all, they have come to buy our stuff!!

In a retail store setting, it's said that a person decides in the first seven minutes whether or not they are going to buy something. It's my guess, that in a show setting, we have five minutes (or less!) to "help" the customer with that decision.

GREET YOUR CUSTOMER!

From the book "Hey, I'm the Customer", there is an entire section dedicated to greeting the customer. I am continually stunned at the number of vendors who set up their cash counter in the back of their space. AND SIT THERE! It is not enough for you to "just show up" and think you can make a profit. Not anymore...no, those days are long gone. Your space is your store for the duration of the show and the people passing through are your customers...or mine.

Are we friends? Maybe. Competition? Definitely.

Once those show doors open, we ARE competing for the time and money of those who chose to attend. They came to shop! I want them to be happy in MY space, buying MY stuff. If I have less than seven minutes to do it in, then my first impression had better be a good one! But, I also want them happy with their entire show experience!   If they aren't, then they don't come back next time and we all lose.

This business of doing shows sure is an interesting one! I have met all kinds of people! Some, I seek out at other shows and some I avoid. I have given that some thought and have to wonder if the customer avoids the same folks I do and why. Are you friendly? Are you glad to see me?

I know you can't remember everybody! "Everybody" knows that too. That's ok, so long as you are smiling while you are talking to me! Do you make me believe you are glad to be there? OR are you tired and grumpy....and telling me you are? Are you excited and proud about your new product? Do you HAVE new product???

Have a "think" on these, my first of (hopefully) many observations and contemplations. I intend to delve deeper into some of these and more!

YOUR thoughts would be fun to hear too!

Lori-Anne

PS. Hey, I'm the Customer is a book written by Ron Willingham and is a great book on front line tips for providing superior customer service.

All content © Lori-Anne Crittenden 2003-2006 unless otherwise specified.