We have been doing VCon (a local science fiction & fantasy convention) for 5 years now; and this year as always was great fun. We always enjoy doing VCon as a convention – both the dealers and the guests are really nice and the atmosphere is fun. However, instead of doing a con report (which really, would be boring since we never see a Con as we work all weekend long); I thought I’d discuss the various sales lessons I’ve learnt watching all the vendors work.
Lesson 1 – Have Fun
Professor Whovianart epitomizes this – he just thoroughly enjoys himself at the con. He’s always happy, bouncy and just exuded fun. It makes congoers stop; chat with him and hang around his booth. He doesn’t have to sell his products to you, you sell it on yourself because you just enjoy your time with him. That sense of fun is easily picked up, and his tables are always busy.
Lesson 2 – Looks Matter
VCon is filled with beautiful costumes, corsets and clothes. There generally are 3 to 4 vendors selling those items, and all of them look gorgeous. Most importantly, most of the time the clothes are well displayed which just slows down the congoers, long enough for you to interact with them.
Another method I’ve noticed is the gimmick. Whether it’s a particularly well-displayed, outlandish or just cool item; it helps you attract attention and strike up a conversation.
Lesson 3- Put it in their Hands
Felix & Kitty do this really well by dressing up anyone who even looks mildly interested in their clothes. By putting someone in their clothes, letting them see themselves how beautiful / handsome they look; they break down another barrier of objections. The more expensive the item is, the more important this is.
Lesson 4 – Keep them comfortable
Oh yes, definitely do this. More than a few vendors pull customers aside, giving them a space to browse / view their products in peace. Whether it’s a changing room or just a corner to take funds, keeping customers comfortable means they are more inclined to spend time with you, which leads to a higher chance of a sale.
Lesson 5 – Ask for the Sale
It doesn’t have to be a hard sell, but you have to ask for it. Sometimes, the very act of asking the question ‘should I write this up for you?’ or its ilk is enough to make the sale when a customer hesitates. Sometimes, it’s what you need to get them to tell you what they actually want – which might not be the game / jewelry / item you are looking for.
Lesson 6 – Take it all
I mean payment types that is. The vendors who have the most options for taking payments often do the best, especially on later days as ready cash runs low.
Lesson 8 – Grease the Wheels
This is something VCon does very well. They give $2 away to each attendee ($1 if you are there for a single day) to spend in the Vendor’s room. This is the only place you can spend the money; which makes certain that most attendees (a) visit the vendor’s room and (b) are looking to buy something
Lesson 9 – Variety is the spice of life
Lastly, and leading on to the above; it’s always good to have a variety of items that can be bought at different price points. BC Chains does well with their mini-badges that can be bought for a few dollars as well as their more expensive items. It also includes just variations on the same thing; like a corset design in multiple colours / fabrics or earrings with different stones.
Lesson 10 – There’s Space for Everyone
This year, among the vendors there were 2 individuals selling Chainmail jewelry / items, 5 (or was that 6?) clothing vendors, 2 book publishers, a leather worker, 2 game stores and a leather-worker. That’s pretty close to what we’ve had for 5 years, with a few new vendors coming and going. Everyone builds their own clientele, their own sales and the atmosphere is pretty cordial. It’s not a zero-sum game, and so everyone just has fun.