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Saturday, August 11, 2018

The World Of Sales

I'm not a salesperson, and I never will be. Even if I were 100% confident in my product/service and truly believed I was the best option, I wouldn't push a buyer into a sale. That's a personality flaw, but I'm convinced I can use it to my advantage. I'm interested in learning about sales and how the average salesperson manages to get repeat sales. I'm reading the little red book, written by Jeffery Gitomer about sales questions and answers. For the most part, this book refers to being a salesperson – maybe for car insurance or a magazine subscription. Not everything he writers about is applicable to who I am and where I see myself in the future. However – there is always something to be learned from the experience of others. Experience is honestly the most valuable currency and the more you read, the more wealthy you become. In that sense, I feel I'm already swimming in cash. But, it never hurts to have more, given the power of knowledge (money). Money talks, after all. Since I'm not very good at talking for myself, I figure I can let my knowledge do the talking. I just have to find the right way to present my wealth of knowledge to potential buyers of my products and services.

It is a learning curve, like everything else. I've talked about sales before. I worked as a waitress for a few years and my boss was always complaining that I didn't make enough money in sales. I wasn't like the other girls. I would watch my coworker walk up to a young couple on a date, sitting quietly at their table. I could tell by the way they were looking over the menu that they were trying to have a good time, on a budget. Yet, somehow, these girls would walk over and manage to sell this couple appetizers they didn't need and additional sides. They would sell drinks and then more drinks. It was almost admirable. My boss certainly never complained about the sales numbers these girls had. I say it was almost admirable because I know that it takes a certain kind of devil to push people into doing exactly what you want them to. Isn't that all sales are about?

Face it: If you're walking down the street and see someone selling jewelry, what do you do? You come to a slower walk to look at the wares. If you're interested, you stop and take a closer look. If you like what you see, you ask about the price. If you really like what you see, you don't care what the price is – you're already getting your wallet out. Does it matter if the vendor makes eye contact and smiles? Maybe. Does it matter if the vendor tells you all about the handmade craft and where they source their beads and how they are helping the environment by doing so? Maybe. But what matters the most in this sale? You wanted the item. Period. If you want something – you're going to buy it. If you're indifferent, you can be pushed into a sale by someone looking to make money off you.

Because I see the sales world this way – I can't see myself in it. I want, as much as the next artisan, to be swimming in real cash instead of the wealth of knowledge. But I don't want to get rich off people who were too soft to say no to a pushy salesperson. I want to get rich off people who WANT the product I am offering. People who WANT to know where I source my materials and that I'm helping support the local communities. People who WANT to connect and make a purchase. I want to network with clients more than I want their money. I want them to feel like they've made a friend or acquaintance, not just bought a product. Anyone can walk into any shop and buy anything off a shelf. That's not what being an artist is about. We put heart and soul into our work. Money can't buy that. The smile of a happy customer or being tagged in a social media post featuring a product – that's more valuable than money. It means the customer was happy enough to share their experience. It means they will come back when they run out of the product. It means they will recommend their friends, family, even coworkers.

The sales world is dog-eat-dog. You make a killing or you're killed. The art world is grinding poverty. The combination is soul-sucking, if you don't know how to dance through the tightrope and get things done in a way that makes everyone happy. I want to learn that dance. That's my goal for the second half of this year. I want to know how to make a sale without feeling like I had to twist someone's arm. I want to have a handful of happy customers that continuously buy my products, rather than a handful of sales from people I won't see again. I think building a client base is more important than sales, anyway. Just like every other aspect of my life – I have to do it my way or I won't be able to do it at all.