I have been a sales person most of my life. I started out at the age of 10 selling Girl Scout cookies and later, Christmas cards. Selling was fairly easy for me as I enjoyed talking with people, but I know that most people don’t feel the same about selling.
But all the fear and apprehension of selling your products can go away when you realize that selling is about relationships! People buy from you because they like you! Sounds simple, but it is true.
When I thought of sales, I thought of the used car salesman. I hate dealerships, and the process of buying a car. I thought in order to ‘sell’ my work, I have to be just like them, and I couldn’t do it. My business coach helped me ‘reframe’ the sale. Sales, she said, is all about relationships.
How many times have you started a conversation with a stranger and found that you had a ton of things in common? You talked for awhile and end up exchanging contact info, meet them at a place of mutual interest, or just call to talk about this and that …. Sounds a bit like dating, doesn’t it! Selling is really not that different. You exchange ideas, find out what you have in common with a potential buyer and focus on those areas. Next thing you know, you have made a sale!
Brenda goes on to describe a perfect scenario:
We all know customers love ‘the story’ of the art as much as they love ‘the art’. But they also love the personal nature of our business, they are drawn to the relationship with the artist! I’m sure you’ve had this experience: someone comes into your booth with no intention of buying. After chatting with you, they find they’ve fallen in love with the piece and buy it. They love the artwork AND the story but they’re also buying a part of us – be it our energy, vision, lifestyle, joy. Well, this concept of relationships is just an extension of that understanding.
When someone walks into my booth now, instead of selling my artwork I connect with that person. I find out why came in and what they’re looking at. Once a conversation begins (I of course allow customers to first enjoy the work without being bombarded) I share my vision and creative joy, but then I ASK QUESTIONS. Just like any exchange, it takes two sides participating to have a relationship, not just me going on about my work.
When you start a simple conversation with a potential buyer, you can find out all kinds of information. What they want, what they are looking for, what their pressing issues are …. and this technique works for wholesale buyers as well as craft/art show buyers.
Relationship first is the key to successful selling. I have and still use it in my own business!