Maybees you are aware that when I'm not working for Traid, writing this blog or sewing stuff with anchors on, I also co-organise a Brighton-based craft market called Brighton Craftaganza. The first event was in March this year (see above and below), and maybe I'm biased but it kicked arse!!!! Well, the next event is THIS SATURDAY!!!! I'm not too panicked because I think all is in hand. Anyways, back to the point of this post....
Back at that first event in March, whilst Pat (Mr 'So, Zo...' and official Brighton Craftaganza photographer) was wandering around the stalls, he noticed some of the sellers had pretty killer sales techniques and were generating lots of interest in their products and yielding a lot of sales, whilst some sellers were almost off-putting in their passivity. Now, of course, not everyone likes to be approached when browsing at a craft fair or similar event, but the evidence of how many sales the more interactive sellers made in comparison to the others stood for itself. As a designer/maker/seller myself, I am more than aware of how difficult it can be to know how to act towards potential customers, where to position yourself and how to broach a conversation, if at all.
It’s no secret that most creative people hate selling. It can be awkward and embarrassing to sell in a face to face situation to people you don’t know. This is especially true when selling stuff you have made yourself. We are such critical ‘parents’ that we forget that the stuff we make is unique, handmade and therefore of great value. The paradox is that selling more stuff is brilliant for makers. The more you sell, the more time you can spend making more stuff. It is a positive cycle.
Pat, who has undertaken lots of sales technique training for his job, and read a lot about selling to improve his skills as a freelance copywriter, really felt that there are many simple-to-apply techniques that would help the crafting/handmade community generate more sales out the interest their work receives. We had several long discussions, also involving Anthony, an experienced Sales Trainer and then colleague of Pat's, where we figured out the most useful tips and tricks from a crafter's perspective. We turned this into the format for a symposium/discussion and hosted it at the Handmade shop back in September to a room full of crafters/designers/makers, many of whom will sell with us at the Christmas Craftaganza event. It was really great to be able to offer this event for free to local creatives, as Brighton Craftaganza is all about supporting creative talent AND proving that handmade products are just as good as, and in many ways much better than, their mass produced equivalents.
We received very positive feedback from that free event, but seeing as there was quite a lot of take on board, and many people who had wanted to attend but hadn't been able, we made a free downloadable PDF document (pictured above) covering the key points discussed in that symposium.
The document breaks down and analyses the structure or 'anatomy' of a sale. It discusses how to use basic selling theory to open communication, build rapport and communicate just how special and desireable your work is and, finally, some basic strategies to CLOSE THE SALE. If you are selling some of your work this Christmas, or know anyone else who is, feel free to download our document and see if it contains any tips that might help make the event even more of a success than it will already be!