So you have enter the wholesale market. You have set up several accounts in retail stores, got yourself some good sales reps, and even exhibited at a wholesale show. Things are going well, so you figure it is time to sit back and let your sales rep do all the work. Right? WRONG! Never totally give up selling your products yourself!
Most producers I have worked with would rather be busy in their studio creating rather than selling. But, from my perspective, seeing first hand how your products are doing — getting feedback directly from consumers — is still an important part of your business. In other words, don’t put your craft booth away just yet!
Personally, some of the most important feedback we received on our gourmet food line was received during the times we set up a kiosk in the local mall for the holidays. Working one-on-one with end consumers helped us understand what labels worked best, what flavors of a particular product was most popular and what consumers were looking for, but could not easily find.
The Arts Business Institute posted an article on this same technique from the perspective of an artist hosting a special showing in a gallery. Here are some of her tips:
1. You become a consultative partner with your retailers. No one is more of an expert on your artwork than you are.
2. You become more effective when making artist appearances. When you have sales experience, you gain confidence and also are in a position to boost sales of your work because you are more adept at sharing your inspiration and your story.
3. You make more informed decisions on your line. Think about your bestsellers. Did you know that you probably should keep them forever? Discontinue the slow sellers, and explore how you can expand your bestselling collections into even more sales.
4. When you are clear on why customers buy your work, you stay more focused. A sale is made when the customer values your work more than they value the money they are handing over to buy it.
5. Face-to-face selling get the most honest feedback. Sometimes the best ideas come directly from your customers’ mouths. Being in business means that you are also in customer service.
Continuing to have your fingers on the pulse of your end consumer is just as important as any other part of your business. The feedback you receive can be invaluable. So …. don’t give up those shows yet!!