One day I was reading a marketing book when I came across an idea that stopped me dead. One little sentence so mind blowing and yet so obvious that I forgot to finish my cookie. (And if something comes between me and cookies you know it’s a big something). Here it is.
People don’t buy products, they buy solutions.
They have a problem, they buy something that solves the problem.
This means that our job as salespeople is to listen to the customer, work out what their problem is and present our work as the solution.
I hear you muttering away, just as I did at first. “There’s no problem, they just want earrings.” I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, if a customer just wanted earrings they’d go to a mall. The customer has sought out (through a craft show or online) HANDMADE earrings.
Time after time in my booth I hear, “wow, there’s so much talent here, I wish I could do something like this.”
Are you listening?
The customer’s problem is that they think they can’t create, that they aren’t artistic. And they think you are.
The customer is looking for a creative story. They want a piece of art, they want magic.
From an outsiders' perspective the life of an artist is a bit of a fantasy, it sounds glamorous and romantic. We play, we create, we bring visions to life, we give them something different than driving the kids to soccer and grocery shopping.
Whatever your skill is, it is something the customer can't do. It's magic. It's a little piece of your soul and they are willing to pay for it.
YOU are the product.
You need to sell you as a story. Give them a fully formed real live 3D artist. If you’re selling online presenting you the artist lends your work authenticity and depth. For those at a craft show I can guarantee at least 10 times a day you’ll be asked something along the lines of “how long have you been doing this?” or “where did you learn?”.
It’s hard when you’re starting out and haven’t yet fully claimed the word artist as you. Some people never really know what to say and just hum and fidget. But you, the savvy craftista, will be ready to continue the conversation and communicate your story. For communication is marketing and marketing leads to sales.
To get you started pick up your notebook and spend some time answering these questions on paper. Write several paragraphs on each question. If you feel too self-conscious at first write about yourself in the third person until you get the details down. (Or have a glass of wine and talk it out loud in an empty room).
- How did you become an artist?
- How did you learn your skill?
- What training have you had? Have you studied with any big names? Taken a course at a well-known school?
- How long have you been making your current work?
- What did you make or do before this?
- What was your creative path?
- Where does your inspiration come from?
- What is it about your current work/technique that lights your fire? Why do you do it?
- What new techniques do you want to learn? What’s in your artistic future?
- What do you love most about being an artist?
Tell the truth. Spin your story. It’s yours and it’s what makes you unique.