A garage sale is a great opportunity for you to meet members of your neighborhood and communities you may never have been introduced to -- and by that token, it's a great way to make connections on a professional level. While you don't want to be an obnoxious shopper or host, you can still use the chance yard sales give you to pass on the word about your business or profession, whether you are a tax accountant with a large firm or run a craft business out of your garage.
Try to find common ground when you start up a conversation. If you can, steer the talk towards the field you're a part of, in the hopes that you can discover they need someone of your profession. Finding common ground is a good rule of thumb to remember in any conversation, but particularly when it comes to making business connections; feeling connected will make people more receptive to your sales pitch over others'.Take a large supply of business cards with you; as a host, keep them with you at the sales table, and as a shopper, stick them in your purse, fanny pack, or pocket. Talk to people casually, and when someone seems genuinely interested in you or what you do, give them a card (as a host, you can pass them out like receipts, if you'd like) and explain your business or profession. When giving away business cards, remember that people may see them as unwanted solicitations, so don't try to shove them on every human you make eye contact with.
If you find yourself talking to someone at length, bring up a need that a professional could fill. Perhaps you're the one who's on the lookout for someone to help you wrap up a legal issue or become your new vet; in that case, it gives them the chance to tell you if they or someone they know could fulfill that for you. Or perhaps you're the one who is trying to sell your services; in that case, it allows them to say, "Oh, yes, I do need my garden properly tilled!" or, "Yes, my son was thinking about buying his daughter some crafty hairbands!"
When someone expresses interest in what you do, ask them to pass on the word. You may not get direct business from them, but if you've made a favorable impression, they're likely to remember your business card in their purse or pocket and hand it to someone who needs, say, dog-washing services or the help of a therapist. Word-of-mouth advertising is just as important as any social media, because it feels more personal and therefore reliable to hear a real person recommend a product or professional.
How else can you use garage sales to promote your full-time or side business? Give us a shout here in the comments, and share your tips with the community!