LEAD ‘EM IN!
I have worked in Marketing Departments my entire life. In order to engage a customer, you must speak to their hearts. Once you get them emotionally invested, you have their attention. It is like fishing… you put the right bait on the hook and the fish bite and get hooked.
I use this technique at my comic con appearances. This past weekend, I was at Hill Country Comic Con (show report will be posted soon) and the technique worked once again like a charm. I had a corner table and the vendor who was setup next to me was amazed at the number of people I talked to throughout the day. I explained that is is so simple. You must engage the crowd, making the conversation all about them at first.
Let me share my secret. I am always wanting to improve artist’s alley as well as the success of my dear friends promoting their talents in artist’s alley. Plus, this will tie in my comic strip with today’s blog.
STEP ONE: STAND UP
Get off your butt. No one can see you if you are sitting behind your table. I know that some artists are cranking out commissions at the show and cannot stand up when they are drawing someone’s commission. If you are not drawing, you need to be engaging. I get a few commissions at every show but I refuse to do them during show hours. If I can get the commissions requested BEFORE the show, I will get them completed in the days leading up to the show. If someone at the show wants a commissioned drawing, I will try and do it that night at the hotel so they can pick it up the next day. If someone asks for one on the last day of a show, I tell them I will do it and mail it free of charge. I have never lost a commission because I cannot crank it out during the show. I have two commissions I took home from Hill Country Comic Con. In the words of the great Vince McMahon, standing the entire time is what’s, “best for business”,
STEP TWO: MAKE EYE CONTACT AND SMILE
Everyone who walks by my table receives a smile with direct eye contact. That friendly glance is enough sometimes to break the ice. The smile and the eye contact says two things…. ONE: You are confident in your work… and TWO, you are successful. Comic con attendees only want to invest in successful artists. Sure, they may purchase a print or drawing of Batman from an artist because they love Batman without any real connection for the artist and his/her work…. but if they do see your potential you demonstrate through the engagement, they will return to purchase more art at future shows. This confidence is crucial to building a returning following.
STEP THREE: ENGAGE
This is where I tie in today’s comic strip! You must welcome each passer-by with a warm, sincere greeting. I just simply ask how they are doing and if they are enjoying the show. I never make the initial greeting about me. You must make the conversation about them. If they are even a tad bit interested in talking to you, they will turn towards you and engage. For me, I see a 98% success rate. Last weekend I only had two people who answered “Doing great” or “Fine, just fine” and then turn to keep walking. The rest of the hoards of convention attendees turned to engage. At this point you continue the conversation. I ask if they have attended a comic con before. Their answer then directs which pitch I take to sell my work.
STEP FOUR: HAVE A STORY
You need to have a story. Without a reason for being in artist’s alley, you have no hook to grab and keep the attention of your audience. For me, I am in newspapers so I hook them in with the fact that I create a very successful comic strip for newspapers across the United States. Then I show them my original strip art and explain how I draw them. I show them the pencil sketch I drew up prior to hand lettering and inking my art. After that they are reeled in when they see the traditional methods used to create my comic strip.
STEP FIVE: LEAVE THEM WITH CONTACT INFORMATION
Have a good business card ready to hand out. If there are several people in the party, give them each a card… even the young kids. Make sure everyone in the group has your info so the chances of your website being reviewed remain high should a card or two get lost.
I will have a post prepared soon recapping Hill Country Comic Con. The show was amazing, There is so much to report. I need a little time to organize my brain’s data and collect my thoughts.
Please share today’s blog and help me get syndicated. THANKS!
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