Making my living from what I craft is something I love but it certainly isn’t always easy. I sell my work every week at market and have learnt that a lot of my success comes down to my attitude, how I feel on the day.
5 Tips for Selling
So I’ve had to learn a few little tricks to get me in the right place for selling, whatever the day brings. Here are five of my favourite methods for being the best sales woman I can:
1. Smile into my heart.
This really simple action seems to release whatever feel good chemical I need within me to settle the nerves, be open to the lovely people who visit my stall, to be positive and call in the unicorns. It’s such a good little trick that I’ve brought it into many other aspects of my life, it’s even good for dismissing the build up towards road rage with selfish drivers.
2. Smile with my eyes.
One of the most important things for anyone negotiating or selling anything is to come from a place of sincerity and this is communicated best face to face when your eyes are smiling. If you’re thinking someone is an idiot or other ill thoughts about them it is exceptionally difficult to smile at them with your eyes and either way, smiling eyes or no, people will value your body language far more than what you actually say.
3. Picture difficult customers laughing with love.
We all have difficult customers from time to time and I find the best way to move from hard edges and no’s is to shift my attitude towards them by imagining what they’re like when they are laughing with someone they love. This usually helps me shift the dynamics of the situation into something positive but even if they choose to stay somewhere negative I know I’ve been as warm and friendly as possible. But I have made quite a few sales by shifting this negative situation.
4. Be part of positive conversations and avoid negative rumblings.
Selling is a confidence game, if you’re feeling crap about yourself then you’ll have a crappy sales day. It is that simple. All of us market girls who have been making our living by selling our work all refuse to get into negative conversations about how dreadful things are, whatever the situation. We might acknowledge a difficult day but we’ll swing the topic around to something positive. I have certainly told fellow (usually newer) stallholders that I can’t get into their negative conversations because I’m there to sell and I need to be feeling good about things. Yes, we all have dreadful sales days but we don’t want them and we don’t want to create them for ourselves. You can’t help it if it is stifling hot and customers can’t make up their minds about anything. You can give them a flyer with a reward for shopping online.
5. Turn around crappy sales days.
Continuing the theme that we can all have dreadful sales days, it happens to all of us. The key is deciding that you’ll make good out of it. Once you make that decision and shift your attitude the good things have room to come through. I generally get started on making necklaces, earrings and bracelets in my freshwater pearl and artisan glass ranges. Instead of peering out from my stall looking desperately for customers and stinking of desperation I look interesting to people passing by as I’m making jewellery. So they stop and I have an opening for a conversation. One time when it was raining cats and dogs I got talking with an international student who was doing her internship here and that one conversation resulted in me getting to work with interns. Fortunately I had already made the decision that day for something good to come from being at market in that weather.
Set Yourself Up for Success
I’m a firm believer in making your own luck, whether that is good or bad luck. Most of it comes down to attitude, a chunk has to do with turning up and getting started, a lot of wealth is in the follow up and motivation is usually beaten by determination, working away at something when you’d rather be flaking off.
After 16 years of having my own business I still struggle with some or all of this every week. I always have to remind myself of what I need to do.
I love going to market but I start day two of my market weekend forcing myself to get up in the morning and not have a sleep in. It usually involves a self talk about getting out there to earn my money so I can keep living this independent creative life that I thoroughly enjoy. I know what it is to do work that is a drag, I know every job has its crappy bits and I know that it is all down to me to make it happen and I like it like that.
So while art school won’t teach you what you need to learn to make a living from your creativity, you can learn from other artisans and artists who are doing it.
The Biggest Secret to Successful Selling
I think the biggest secret to successfully selling your work and making your living from your art and craft is to sincerely enjoy what you’re doing. I love going to market, being there in our little pop up community, catching up with my market family and having the whole world visit my stall. Being at The Rocks Markets I have customers from all corners of the world and all across Australia. It is wonderful.
The key to my success with selling my ceramic jewellery, even when there are only two or three shared words between me and the customer, is my enjoyment of it all. I’m not flogging my shit. I loath those terms. I think they are insulting and a fast way to throw away sales and customers. I love having my work become delightful parts of other people’s lives, presents from sisters traveling with work, gifts from husbands away following their football team, thank you presents to grandparents for baby sitting the kids while their folks are having a much needed weekend away. I love that my work is far better traveled that I’ll ever be, even if I did manage to visit every country my blue and white, red, green, purple, yellow, garden inspired designs are now, I’ll never get to all the towns, cities, villages and farms they live at. That fires up my imagination and lights up my spirit.
I’m sharing my work with people from all manner of places and it is becoming stories in their lives. That’s wonderful. That’s what selling your work can be. That’s more than just giving you your independence and letting you live a happier life. That’s your fulfilling life being part of an amazing sphere of creativity.
It can all be ignited by smiling into your heart and to have a great day, whatever you’re doing.