Today we're talking about five things you can do when a market goes poorly. Now, I wanted to start off by just saying that a market going poorly can mean a few different things. One, it can mean you don't have any sales. Two, it could mean that you have some sales, but you don't do enough to make your booth fee back. The third is that you don't get as much revenue as you expected. It's up to you to define what a poor market is, and it is up to you to know your revenue, profit, margins and your time value to really understand which markets are worth it and which ones go poorly or which ones go well.
I also want to add before we get into our five tips, that there are a lot of variables that go into making a market successful. Some of them are within your control and some of them are out of your control and some of them are in the market host's control. Some of these variables that I'm talking about that are on the host is advertising, getting people there to shop, having an organized layout. Some of the variables that are within your control are having awesome products, having a beautiful display, having your products priced right, and having a good branding strategy. Then there are things that are just outside of everybody's control. Things like the weather will often contribute to markets. I just did one that was in the middle of this crazy spring snowstorm and it was up in the mountains, so that one was not as highly visited as others. That is nobody's fault.
No let's jump right into the five things you can do when a market goes poorly.
The first one is to evaluate your expectations. When I started doing markets, I feel like I didn't have very good expectations, and so I was consistently disappointed when I really was doing quite well. A few ways that you can kind of benchmark yourself is to reach out to other vendors that have done the market or the market hosts. When you reach out to vendors, you can say, Hey, I just did this event. This is how many sales are did I did, or how much I did in revenue , do you think that's about average? You can definitely ask the host. Now, people will not always answer your questions, but it never hurts to ask.
Another thing about expectations is to realize that things take time. It is very unlikely that you are going to set up at your first or even second or third market and make $40,000. Just realize that things take time and you can start and definitely improve and do more and more revenue as you get better at markets. If it is a central checkout market where you have set your stuff up and left it, when I go to take down my stuff, I like to look around at people's booths and see if they look full or empty. If most people's booths look pretty full and I didn't do as well, that is a sign to me that that across the market sales were low. T
Look for Trends
Another thing you can do is to look for trends. Now, I heard this quote and I'm not sure where, , But the quote is, there is no failure, just feedback. I love that because when I first started off, it was like, I definitely felt like there was failure and I feel like I could have been less dramatic about it and just seen it as feedback.
Look at products that didn't sell at all, and what do they have in common? If you are setting something out to sell multiple times and you don't sell a single one at multiple markets, that is very clear feedback that something in your product needs to shift.
Evaluate Market Fit
The third thing you can do when a market goes poorly is ask yourself, was this market a good fit for my brand? Basically you want to look around at the other vendors and maybe the people who are shopping at the market and see is my ideal customer, someone who is shopping at this market? An example is that there is a market I like to do that's in a college town, and then there is a market I like to do that's in the city. Those two markets have slightly different audiences. Depending on your product, you might not do well at either one of those. If you wanna learn more about how to find markets that are a good fit and get accepted to them, I have an ebook on that topic. It's called Ace Your Applications which you can check out here.
The fourth thing you can do when a market goes poorly is to keep a record. I highly recommend that after every market, you keep track of a few different things. I like to use a spreadsheet. I have got about two or three years worth of records, from my experience as a market vendor. I have a spreadsheet that I record the market, the date and the revenue, and then any notes that are helpful in making future decisions about markets.
In the notes I might put something like Holiday Christmas time small gifts sold really well, or this market was in the middle of a blizzard so that's why it was lower. Things like that. Then when I'm applying to markets, when I'm filling out my calendar, I can go back to the spreadsheet and get an idea on average at each market, how much I can expect to make, which really helps me, kind of focus my efforts and energy on the ones that are the most profitable for me.
Don't Take Things Personally
The fifth and final tip is to not take it personally. If a market goes poorly, please do not take it personally. Now, when I started out with markets, I was an emotional rollercoaster. I would go and take down a market and if I didn't sell well or if I didn't meet some expectation that I had come up with, I would be upset or in a bad mood.
I finally got to the point where it was like, I cannot keep doing these markets and have my mood for the evening dependent on how much I've sold. Try to stay in a good mindset and a positive mindset, and remember that your worth is not equal to yourselves or how much product you can sell at a market. It doesn't mean that you're not awesome. It doesn't mean that your products aren't cool. It doesn't mean you're not talented. It just means that either the market wasn't a good fit, your products need some altering, or you just need to try again. As long as you are teachable and adaptable and strategic, I really believe that you can find success selling at markets.
My last little bonus tip is that with markets I use the try twice rule. I'll try a market once and if it doesn't go great, I'll often give it one more try. Then if it's two times and it's consistently not worth it or by my definition goes poorly, then I will try and move on and find something else.