Monday, November 10, 2014

The Business Chat - Dealing with rude questions

My booth is packed, my jewelry is packed, it’s time for the first craft show of the holiday season! Yes, I know, it was just Halloween, it seems crazy that in early November I am about to listen to Christmas carols, but that’s retail. 

In a retail landscape that is often feast or famine this is our feast time my crafty friends. Yet as much as I’m looking forward to the big windfall that is coming my way, I know that to get there I have to put on my sales hat and spend 21 days dealing with the general public. Oh joy and bliss. 

Fortunately I am a people person. Standing, smiling and making small talk comes easily for me. Most days. The trick to the holiday season is to keep that smile and the small talk going for 21 days (3 big shows), 11 hours a day. Not to mention that sometimes people can be.... challenging... at times. Over my 11 years of being in business I have heard my fair share of “interesting” questions and comments. Sometimes it is REALLY hard to keep the smile on answer politely. That however, is my job. 

When you do get hit with a rude or ridiculous question, try to laugh it off. When people make rude statements it is more of a reflection of the person saying it than it is of your work or you. Remember, you can’t please everyone and there’s no point in trying. And sometimes people are just idiots.  

For those who are new to being a retail salesperson here’s a list of some of the most common questions I get and my standard answers. Feel free to use them or come up with your own witty and creative responses.  

Q. If I buy 3 can I get the wholesale price?
A. “I do accept wholesale orders. If you have your reseller information handy you can place an order. My minimum opening order for new accounts is $500 and I fill the order in 2 - 4 weeks.” Smile. 

Even if you don’t sell wholesale or have a catalogue you sound nice and professional. And it shuts the conversation down. 

Q. “What’s the price for 2?” (Item is $25)
A. “That would be 2 x $25, $50!”
Q. “Don’t I get the second one at a cheaper price?” 
A. “No. But if you’d like to buy 10 I can give you one free!” 

Q. “My 3 year old could make that.”
A. “Wow, she’s really talented! Bye.” 

Q. “It’s the end of the day, I’ll give you $50 for that so you don’t have to carry it home. (an item with a $95 price tag).” 
A. “Oh it’s no problem to carry it home, I have a sherpa waiting!” 

Q. “95??? Is that dollars?” 
A. “Well I do accept Euros but only if you have exact change.” 

Q. “Will you take $50 for that?” 
A. “Yes. And then I’ll take another $45 for a total of $95, the price listed.” 

Q. For an item with a price listed at $95. “What’s the best price you could do for this?”
A. “$250. That would be the best for me.”

Q. “How much money do you make?”
A. “How much money do you make at your job?”

Q. How long did it take you to make this?
A. “Well, I practiced for 10 years first. Then it depends on the day, the humidity, and my caffeination level.”

Q. “Why is this so expensive?”
A. This is the big question you will hear a lot. This is where you begin a dialogue about your work. I tell them that my glass beads are handmade by me, and that they are all one of a kind pieces of art. It’s a good idea of write a list of what makes your work so special so that you’re prepared for this question.

Q. “Where do you get your supplies? I’d like to make these too.”
A. “Oh all over the place! I never stop shopping, it’s so much fun to discover secret little places. I do like to keep those secrets and let others have the fun of discovering them for themselves.” 

Are these snarky? Well perhaps they are. Personally I’d rather be snarky than broke and beaten down. 

If you have any questions to add to the list go ahead and put them in the comments. 


Kerry said...

I love it! There are people who ask questions and you just have to shake your head! I know the old adage that the customer is always right should apply but truly, those of us who sell to the public need to stand up for ourselves.

Jane Perala said...

Well said. Yes I have had all those questions thrown at me too. Sometimes at the end of a show my jaw hurts from gritting my teeth! Lol.