Don’t judge – Engagement is key!

As an events organiser in Devon, I get out to as many events as possible, from craft fairs and wedding shows right up to Royal County Shows and I see it time and time again; exhibitors judging the potential customers. They notice someone approaching, but instead of looking up from their phone, smiling, greeting and engaging the customer – They go back to playing Candy Crush or browsing Facebook. If you do this, you might as well stay at home! Let me tell you why…

Potentials love a chat – Almost always people come to events for something to do on a quiet Sunday morning, they might be lonely or just want to get out the house. Sure, they may not have bought anything, yet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to. Get talking to these people, even if they don’t buy anything, they will remember you, recommend you and it makes your stall look much more welcoming!

Put the book or phone away – As a potential customer I won’t dare approach a stall where the exhibitor looks busy with something else, I feel rude. Maybe it’s because I’m terribly British, either way if you don’t bother to show an interest in me, then I won’t be inclined to approach you. Put away that phone, put down that book, right now you are at work. Desperate for something to do whilst sitting there? Talk to the people around you, make new business connections and enjoy the day.

Turn that frown upside down – It’s an early start, you’re tired before you have even started, it’s understandable that you are not the most chirpy person right now, but as soon as the doors open you are on show to the public. Get out from behind your stall, smile and engage the customers.

Don’t disregard anyone – Going from event to event I get a varied response from exhibitors. Some refuse to converse, some ignore me and some couldn’t be more enthusiastic to hear about new events. The ones that are rude and don’t engage? The customers just walk on by. The smiling, enthusiastic, engaging exhibitors are sold out and having fun along the way. Don’t judge potential customers on age, style or family size.

I don’t really know what to do, can you help me?! – If you’re completely at a loss, look around you. Who is doing well? What are they doing that you are not? Go to some events before and see what exhibitors are doing that is working. Still stuck? Go see ‘How Sweet‘ – Some of the best customer service and engagement that I have ever seen.

rebecca olarte “ladyfest craft fair” 20 October 2007. Online image. Flickr. 14 July 2013. <>