Introverted, shy, nervous, or none of above but wanting to become a better salesperson? There are 3 steps to do so.
We often feel we have good knowledge of our product, our customers, and ourselves but it’s important to get really specific for a deeper understanding of each area.
These 3 steps can also help small talk feel a lot more purposeful. You’re not just pointing out the features of your products, you’re sharing what makes them relevant to you and your customers.
Getting into the details of you, your products, and your customers will help you build a better connection.
And connections are what help you sell.
These are 3 lessons I share in MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS.
STEP 1 – KNOW YOUR PRODUCTS
This shouldn’t be hard since you create your products but it’s not just knowing what you sell, it’s knowing what makes it different. Your Unique Selling Position (USP) is what sets you apart from your competitors. I’ll help you uncover your USP in this free email course.
“Being made by you” makes your products unique but doesn’t make a strong case for why people should buy from you instead of the other guy or gal.
You can point out how your products are different from your competitors or you can explain how yours excel.
Do your products or business stand out in any of the following areas?
Do your products make people feel they’re a part of a special group or have access to something most people don’t? Limited lines might make people feel they own something very few others do. You might tailor products towards a specific niche or allow customization so people feel the product was made exclusively for them.
Let’s say Jane sells pottery. She may come out with a new line of dishes at the beginning of each month. The line combines her signature style with a trend or theme of the month (e.g. pastel colors and floral imprints for spring). She would launch that line to her newsletter subscribers first (here are 365+ ideas for your newsletters and steps to FINALLY get your newsletter started in 10 minutes for free) offering them first dibs gives an exclusive reason to sign up for their newsletter. Then she may announce the collection on social media. Marketing for the new line would let people know there’s limited stock and once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.
Or let’s say Kate sells dog clothes, she may have a different approach to a USP involving exclusivity. She knows her customers love their dogs more than anything so she may brainstorm ways to add customized touches to her products. She may allow customers to customize the color combinations of the clothes to match an upcoming event (e.g. Easter colors for the Easter brunch they’re hosting) or the owner’s wardrobe (e.g. if the owner always wears black and red, the dog clothes could be customized to black and red). She could even limit how many custom orders she takes each month, giving her USP an extra-exclusive factor.
Is there anything about your products that makes them a little more “hardcore” than others of their kind? Seth Godin explains this concept in his book THE PURPLE COW. Could your products be considered “too” much of something? Too bright, too big, too subtle, too weird, too healthy, etc. Play up that side to give yourself an angle that is too extreme for some, but just right for others.
Some may find Jessica’s chunky knit, oversized infinity scarves too bulky but they’re perfect for people who like to dress in basics but make bold statements with their accessories.
Most people like subtle scents and some people can’t stand even a hint of fragrance. But for people who like their bathrooms to smell like a bouquet of flowers, they’ll buy Jill’s handmade soaps using strong, long-lasting scents. Too strong-smelling for most but just right for some.
Excitement is hard to hide and it’s infectious. Maybe you love the fabrics you source, the technique you use or how your products can be used. You may be selling a basic product but if you’re excited about it because the materials are completely biodegradable, share that and watch your shoppers get excited about it too. They may not know at first glance what makes your products exciting so be sure to communicate the passion behind them.
When businesses or products do exactly what shoppers expect, people are less likely to be impressed or talk about them.
When customers are blown away, you not only make a sale, you get a cheerleader who will tell other people how exceptional your product or business is.
What would surprise shoppers from a business like yours and where do you go above and beyond? Where you source your materials, your attention to detail that creates products that last a lifetime, the surprising ingredients, or how you give back? Take a look at your competitors; in the handmade industry and outside of it. Are you solving problems that others aren’t? Or rising above where others fall flat?
Imagine when Kate sells a piece of custom dog clothing she collects the dog’s name. Let’s say the name of a customer’s dog is Spot. The tag on the clothing may say “custom made for Spot” or the shipping label may read “C/O Spot” which adds a special touch to each purchase and goes above and beyond what most businesses do or what’s expected.
The more you become an expert in your field, the easier it is to talk about your products and the more people feel they’re getting value (and the more you can charge for your products).
You may know that jojoba oil is in your lotion but do you know the plant it’s derived from and all of its benefits? Do you know which ingredients big brands use in place of it to save on costs and how harmful that ingredient is? Although you likely won’t share this information with everyone you talk to, having it in your back pocket gives you a sense of confidence.
Make sure you share information your customers will be interested in and use language they’ll understand. No big, fancy words to describe the chemistry behind your bath bomb’s fizz when the customer is just interested in smelling pretty after a bath.
STEP 2 – KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS
Even though every person on the planet could potentially use your product, the fact of the matter is, every person won’t buy it.
Which tactic do you think works better? Telling every customer the 101 benefits of your products in hopes one will match their needs, or knowing you’re selling to people who struggle with dry skin and tailoring your approach to the common traits they possess?
Keep the customer you can best serve in mind when answering the following questions.
What’s important to them?
Knowing what your ideal customer cares about will help you point out product features that are in line with their interests and use words that make their ears perk up.
- What get’s them excited?
- Which of your product features are important to them?
- What do they value in a company?
As important as it is to know what they like, it’s equally important to know their dislikes and what might be frustrating to them.
There’s a reason behind a purchase; are your customers looking to avoid frustration or gain pleasure? They may be looking for a product with specific features to solve a problem or they may just want to look cool, stay warm, or be comfy. Whichever purpose drives their purchasing, play that up when talking about your products.
What are their objections?
If you could listen to the thoughts that run through their head when considering a purchase, what do you think they would be? Once you imagine the internal dialogue, similar to yours when you’re considering a purchase, you can speak to any objections, concerns, or worries.
A customer with dry skin may have the following internal dialogue:
This face serum sounds good but I don’t know, I feel like I’ve tried everything and nothing ever works, my skin is always dry and flakey. I don’t want to get my hopes up again and end up with another jar of half-used product under my sink. It’s kind of expensive too. I’ve never heard of this brand so how do I know if they’re good?
After going through the psychology of a purchase, you can tailor your selling technique.
You may share your story about how you tried every cream on the market and finally found relief with the natural ingredients used in your products. Calling out an objection (e.g. “this won’t be another jar of cream on your shelf collecting dust”) before a shopper mentions it can make them feel you understand their worries. And a pamphlet sharing testimonials about your products may make shoppers more comfortable trying out a brand they’ve never heard of.
How do they prefer to shop?
Often times, our Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) ends up sounding a lot like ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with that.
We know ourselves inside and out and often create products to meet our needs before we start selling them.
So if you think knowing how your ideal customer likes to shop sounds unrealistic, think about how you like to shop. Do you like a quiet environment? Do you prefer to have the benefits explained to you or read about them on the package?
For example, a shopper with dry flakey skin on their face may be a little self-conscious about it. They would probably appreciate discretion when talking about common issues and may feel uncomfortable with too much eye contact. Using a softer voice to discuss product benefits and breaking up eye contact by looking at the products and pointing out the details may make a shopper feel more comfortable.
The more you can tailor the shopping experience to your ideal customer, the more comfortable they’ll feel and the longer they’ll stick around.
STEP 3 – KNOW YOURSELF
If you’ve built an authentic brand, then everything from your products to your labels will reflect your personality. Shouldn’t your selling style follow suit? Answer these questions to determine how to add more of your personality into your selling.
What’s important to you?
Think about the values that matter to you. They don’t necessarily need a deep meaning. Whether it’s having a creative outlet or doing your part to save the environment, there’s a reason you started your business.
The importance may be in the way you run your business. If you believe in exceptional customer service, make that apparent to the customer and explain all the ways you go above and beyond. The more you share your values with your customers, the greater connection they’ll feel to you and your brand.
What are your traits?
Being natural and authentic is at the foundation of every good salesperson.
When we try to be someone we’re not, we become uncomfortable and unsure of how to act.
Use your quirks, personality, and mannerisms when selling to match the rest of your branding. If your brand is calm and relaxing and reflects your personality, show your mellow side when speaking with people. If your brand is quirky, let your quirky side come out when selling.
Use strengths in your selling style as well.
What do people compliment you on? Kindness, sense of humor, and killer style are all things that can help you with sales. Cracking a joke or wearing an amazing outfit won’t sell a bar of soap but it will attract your ideal customer and help you make a connection. Once that connection is made, it makes everything that comes after easy as pie.
Being an introvert is also a strength. I put more thought than needed into what a one-worded email stating “thanks” means.
Just thanks? Are they upset? Let me go back and look at our interaction. Maybe I could have worded this differently. And no exclamation point or smiley face? Maybe I better lay off on mine when interacting with this person.
Waste of time? Some might call it that but I prefer to look at it as customer research. Although my assumptions may not be 100% accurate, I feel as though my thought process helps me analyze my customers and improve interactions.
When are you in your glory?
We all have those moments when we lose track of time because we’re enjoying ourselves so much. When does that happen for you? It may be when you’re:
- Working on your art
- Laughing with friends
- Sitting on a bench sipping coffee and people watching
Consider the ways you can add those enjoyments into selling. For example:
- Taking yourself back to the moment of creation will help you explain a piece to shoppers or even adding a small demonstration into your sales pitch
- Focusing on common interests with each shopper will make selling feel like you’re chatting with a friend
- Observing your shoppers and getting to know what makes them tick will add an element of people watching to your selling style
Add more of what you love into selling to gain more comfort.
On the other hand, what makes you uncomfortable and why? If you feel awkward in restaurants when your dining partner leaves you alone for a moment, what is it that makes you squirm? If it’s not knowing where to look, Google techniques on getting comfortable with eye-contact. Knowing what and why can help you avoid certain situations or point out what you need to work on.
Use the SELLING ESSENTIALS FOR INTROVERTS worksheet found in MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS to answer the questions for the 3 steps explained above.
You’ll also find more selling techniques in MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS – Improving Sales & Selling Techniques such as:
- Easy and comfortable ways to break the ice with craft show shoppers
- How to add the element of storytelling to make sales pitches even more effective
- How to put everything together and craft the perfect sales pitch
As well as tips for:
- Reading customers and creating an amazing experience for them from start to finish
- Calming nerves when you’re nervous
- How to make the most of a slow craft show.
Hey, I’m Erin 🙂 I write about small business and craft show techniques I’ve learned from being a small business owner for almost 2 decades, selling at dozens of craft shows, and earning a diploma in Visual Communication Design. I hope you find my advice helpful!