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5 More Convention Tips

This article originally appeared over on Sam's blog - www.artistjourney.wordpress.com

It was recently brought to my attention that there were some little things I missed in previous convention articles. As someone who does a lot of conventions, certain things become obvious and therefore get taken for granted. At Gen Con this year I got to spend some time with several folks who were setting up at their first convention. This helped me see the convention atmosphere with fresh eyes.

Tip #1 Engage People at Your Booth

Initially many artists feel like if they leave, or draw, or paint, or generally get out of people’s way then they will be helping to sell their art. This is just not so. If you look busy drawing or painting, people will avoid you because they don’t want to bother you. Instead you need to stand up, look people in the eye and say “Hello.” Look like you want to talk to people and more people will approach you.

If you want to draw or paint, make sure to have a booth buddy who will engage passersby on your behalf.

Tip #2 You Need a Blanket

When you close up shop, take the blanket and lay it over your table. This is the universal sign for being closed. You might even want a couple of blankets so you can use one as a table cloth and use others to drape over paintings or other things not directly on your table.

Tip #3 I’ll Be Right Back

If you’re working a show by yourself, you will need to handle the bathroom problem. You can ask a neighbor to watch your booth, but I recently saw a genius plan by Tommy Arnold. Tommy made a sign that said “Be Back in 5 Minutes, If You’re Still Here You Get $5 Off.” BAM! Tommy just changed the game from lost sales to people waiting at his booth. Brilliant!

Check out Episode 85 of my web-show One Fantastic Week where we talk to Tommy at length about his convention experience.

Tip #4 Tip Jar

Make a tip jar, something with a clever phrase or out of something cool. No matter how you do it just have one. You may not use it at every show, but if you’ve been doing a lot of art for games or really anything that fans might bring by to have you sign, you need one. Most fans understand that bringing a stack of cards to sign uses your time. They usually will drop a couple of bucks in order to say thank you. If you do lots of commission work, sketches, card alters, that sort of thing, people will also tip if they really like what you do for them.

Tip #5 A Place to Keep Money

This might seem obvious, but a lot of first time con goers forget this. Assuming you are successful you will be handling money. That means you need change, and a place to keep it. If you have a really good show you could be holding onto an uncomfortable amount of cash. There are lots of solutions: money pouch, waist band, lock box, etc… Pick one, just don’t forget to bring at least enough change for a $100 bill. If your first sale is to someone who only has a $100 you want to take his money!

-Sam

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This November 5-8, 2015 I will be joining 5 other amazing artists at a workshop to help artists thrive as independent creators. I’m going to be doing a lecture on salesmanship where I walk attendees through all the stages of a sale, provide tips and tricks for sealing a deal, and how to present your work in a way that encourages people to buy it. Unlike my online articles I will be talking specifics, including real world examples with sales numbers, and helping each attendee develop a script to help them become better sales people in a style that fits their personality.

If you’re interested in joining me, you need to sign up soon. The deadline for registration is September 21st! SIGN UP HERE.