So you’ve got a product aligned with your values… now you need to get savvy with selling.
Dealing with customers directly & receiving feedback directly is really important in my opinion, especially in the early days.
Hearing how customers respond to your product, questions asked that can help improve your product and feedback given as to perhaps why they’re not purchasing.
Feedback at times can be difficult to hear, but it’s valuable to get used to taking it as constructive criticism, not take it personally.
Ofcourse, if someone’s being down right rude or nasty, learning to ignore them is equally important, as they’re obviously not your target customer.
Have no idea who your target customer is?
The beautiful thing is… you get to decide!
Knowing from as early on as possible can make it a lot easier to create works with them in mind, rather than thinking everyone’s going to love your product and want to buy it, because they’re not… and that’s okay.
You don’t need to sell to everyone, you need to sell to someone you enjoy the company of and want to spend more time with.
Who do you want to see using your products?
Hearing the story of a customer who bought their shoes in Italy 15 years earlier and are still wearing them with pride, because of the quality, craftsmanship & timelessness of the design.
They’re the kind person I want to capture the attention of.
Hearing the story behind their purchase takes me off on a romantic daydream about wandering the streets of Italy making such discoveries myself… and the fact quality & craftsmanship is more important than current trend.
But where do you find people like this that you can introduce to your wares to?
Keep in mind, selling doesn’t just happen at markets.
On a recent day trip I was at a quaint little café on, sitting in the bay window near the front door, sipping my coffee, writing in my journal, when a girl about to leave stopped & said; “I must say, I just love your outfit… everything about it!”
We then got chatting.
SELLING WITHOUT SELLING
Conversations are often sparked based on what I’m wearing, the bag I’m carrying, my choice of jewellery etc…
Because I love what I do and whole heartedly believe in what I make & sell.
I proudly tell people my outfit’s made up of items I made myself or by those I sell on behalf of (local artisans & Australian designers) through Creators Nest.
So you could say I’m my own walking billboard… which I’m not ashamed of one bit.
As I often attract the attention of my target customer, someone who likes to stand strong in their unique style, appreciates quality crafted products, has an adventurous spirit, is still stylish in their appearance and is drawn to stories.
In this case my outfit was one big story just waiting to be told and heard.
Therefore, having somewhere to direct them to such as an upcoming market you’ll be trading at or your online store gives you the opportunity to turn a potential customer into a customer.
Which Market? Which online selling portal?
If you design & print tarot reading cards do you think it’d be wise to take up a stall at the local church fate where their belief system is counter to what you’re selling, you’d be better off taking a stall at an alternative music festival?
Similar considerations should be taken into account with selling online, would your target customer shop on Ebay to find a unique quality crafted item?
They may shop on Ebay, when they’re looking for a bargain, but my guess is they’re more likely to shop in a curated handcrafted selling portal for an item such as yours, on a site like Etsy over Ebay.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking no-one wants what I have to offer anyway, especially in the early days.
You might be setting yourself up for a self fulfilling prophecy if you’re hanging out in the wrong place, hoping your ideal customer will stumble across you and your products.
You’re better off working out where they hang out and go meet them there.
Be careful not to get caught up in the hype of being at the biggest event out there, just because a market or event attracts a LARGE number of people doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right place for you to trade.
Keep in mind the true cost of doing this and whether or not it’s feasible for you to trade at high priced markets or events where you’ll be one of 300 stall holders trying to attract the attention of a sea of people.
These can be extremely overwhelming & very costly for a small scale producer, who’s not ready to scale… yet… if ever… because you may choose to be boutique instead.
The boutique experience is more enjoyable for shoppers & makers, they enable engagement, emotional connection to be formed and have greater potential of leading to returning customers who enjoy investing in people.
Take out your journal, write down who you’re making your products for, who you hope will buy them.
Answer the following questions:
- What age group are they in?
- What do they do for a living?
- Are they someone who follows trends or stands strong in their individuality?
- Where do they live?
- Where do they escape to for weekend getaways?
- What would they love about what you make?
- Is how the find treasures like those you create a part of what them feel good? I’m guessing they’re not someone who only goes to a department store to get what they’re after, they’re probably someone who likes to explore & discover, meet & chat to makers/designers, feel like they have a human (& emotional) connection to the person behind the product.
This is just the beginning of the process of recognising your target customer, which helps you hang out where they are, giving you the opportunity to attract their attention & put them in front of your product.
DON’T DIMISS OTHERS YOU’LL ATTRACT
Having an ideal customer or target market in mind when creating & promoting your work doesn’t mean dismissing anyone who doesn’t fit this profile but values your work.
Who recently bought a handcrafted watch cuff, while he doesn’t meet my target customer profile in it’s entirety, but meets some of the characteristics. He knows himself, is comfortable being himself, has his own style & isn’t confined by trends. While he made his own cuff at first, he very quickly recognised the difference in quality & craftsmanship when he saw what I make, and was more than happy to invest in one to replace the one he’d made.
Who loves to collect things of the highest quality, sporting an amazing collection of fountain pens, vintage watches, hats & coats. Being a collector is not necessarily a criteria of my target market but it makes sense that he’s attracted to my work and often invests in bespoke order items to suit his needs.
Local Business Owner
Who has a penchant for feathers and proudly wares one of my feather & leather hat pin/brooches on the lapel of his sports jacket. While I didn’t design the hat pin & brooch with the intention of it being worn by a man, doesn’t mean a man can’t choose to wear it.
While it makes sense to create your wares with one person in mind it’s also important to recognise that others outside of that profile will be attracted to what you create.
In my case, my target customer profile is based on a female, but I have many loyal male customers who don’t just buy for the women in their lives, but also themselves.
However, if you try to create with the intention of making for all the possible customer types you’ll attract you’ll overwhelm yourself and meet no one’s needs or wants.
By tightening what you offer you’ll create a stronger brand which will appeal to more people than just the person you made it for.
Let’s recap what’s been covered:
- Think about who you have shared interests with and would like to spend more time with.
- Know who you’re making for, create & promote with them in mind.
- Hang out where they are… not where the masses are.
- Be open to the fact others who don’t fit your target customer profile will be interested in your work, but don’t try to create and promote with all your potential customers in mind.
So now you have your products aligned with your brand and you’ve got ideas on who your target customer is, you’re going to need to work on how to sell to them without selling in a cheesy selling kind of way, which is where story telling comes in to play. I’ll delve into that more in my next post.
Looking forward to soaring alongside of you…
Ps. Reminder from my previous post once you’ve aligned your values with your offering, ensuring the story you tell, words you use, images & packaging represents your brand is important. Then you’ll be selling without selling. Which makes having impromptu conversations with potential customers easier when you’re hanging out at the right place to meet them.
PPs. Want to catch up on what you’ve missed out on so far. Here’s a list of the previous posts: