No icky sales pitch required
(Find your own creative way to sell)
We make, we mold, we stitch, we put lines on paper and paint on canvas. Our hands are a tool that can create something new from materials that on their own are quite unremarkable. Our hands are an extension of our creativity, guided by curiosity, a desire, a passion, a spark, an idea. We weave together graceful movements, refined and well-practiced, to form materials into our own creations.
It all sounds magical, and for those of us that follow a creative path, it certainly can be. Whether your creativity is reserved for a hobby, or you have made it part of a career, it is a part of us and will always be there, always shaping the way we see and experience the world.
An artistic touch
These expressions were inspired by people like us.
We have many good qualities. But salesmanship might not be one of them.
In this article I'm going to be talking about sales through written content, but this can all be translated into person to person interaction, like at a market for example.
Let's get real now. Most of us are far more interested in the making of things than the selling of things. Marketing strategies, sales funnels, and b2c sales. Well, this might as well be in a foreign language. But not just any old foreign language. It's like that language that sounds totally indistinguishable and aggressive to the ear. We've all thought the thought when we hear one of those foreigners. For all we know they could be telling their daughter that her hair looks pretty, but it sounds like the poor kid is getting a right good telling off. Some sales techniques sound like that. The information could be valuable, but the presentation is waaaay too full on.
Marketing strategies, sales funnels and b2c sales tactics. Well, this might as well be in a foreign language
Creatives can sell, but the presentation should be completely different. Reflecting the gracefulness of our artistic hands, our words should be softer. Think of it as a conversation, like the one we're having now. Yeah, you're right, it's not really a conversation is it? I'm doing all the talking, and you're sipping your coffee and reading.
Whilst not linguistically correct, I'm going to stick with the term 'conversation' because a) It's a comfortable term that I think you can live with and live by. And b) it describes a tone of voice that you need to adopt to nuzzle your way into your customer's lives. This helps them to be the loyal and attentive customer that you need them to be.
Essentially it does boil down to business, there's no way around that. But as makers, we can allow ourselves a bit of creative license and fluff it up a bit.
We are dealing with people.Our customers are people. Who exactly they are is something that you need to find out. More about that in another blog post. But I can tell you this now, the tone of voice you adopt will define how your customers experience their interaction with you. It will also heavily influence your comfort levels when you touch on the subject of sales. When I say tone of voice, I'm not just referring to your intonation and pitch. It's the whole package. It's the words and phrases you use and how you present yourself. The words should be your own words, the words of a real person that is passionate about what they do.
Have you ever had a conversation with a nervous person? How did you experience that conversation? It was awkward right? You were left feeling uncomfortable yourself. My point is that your discomfort with selling is enough to keep the customers away. So the tone of voice you adopt is a major player, both for you and for your customers. You ain't gonna sell anything by freaking people out.
Now I'm feeling like maybe I'm freaking you out a bit by saying this. So let me bring you back to the fluffy and enjoyable conversation that I want you to have with your customers.
It's a mixture of these elements,
Show them your passion for what you make
What got you started? where and how did you learn? What inspires you?
Open up to them
Show them who you are. Do you speak in a very dry, flat tone? No, so don't write that way either. Get creative with your words. You can also share relevant memories or encounters with them.
Give them something valuable
A tip, a free download, some of your time.
Show what you make
What do you make and what will it take for them to own it? In other words – how much does it cost?
Not all at once
Break it up into small bite-sized pieces.
Think of it as conversational tapas.
Now obviously you’re not going to be saying this all in one go. Remember what I said about freaking people out? Well, giving too much information in one go is another way to put people off, they zone out, your words become gobbledygook. You might as well just write several paragraphs of blah blah blahs. No, you want to break it down into bite-size pieces. Think of it as conversational tapas. It’s a whole meal, but consisting of small individual elements. Your conversation with your customers will consist of appetizers, small morsels of easily digestible information that are tasty enough to keep them coming back for more. We all know what happens when you eat tapas, you end up eating way more than you should. You just want more.
Talking to strangers can be scary
So try to think of your existing and potential customers as your friends. It doesn’t matter that you’ve never met them, wanting to meet them is the next best thing. Let that enthusiasm come through. Don’t be dry and uninteresting. Be real and be yourself.
You are creative ergo you are interesting!
Whatever you write and wherever you write it, be concise but friendly. You don’t have to be pushy, no icky sales tactics required. Getting people curious, drawing them into your own little creative world is a much more comfortable and effective way of selling creative products or services.
Don’t waste time researching how to sell, just be yourself and start meeting people. Online, at markets, social events, they’re all interactions with people. The approach is the same when you are promoting a creative business. It’s all about you! Your products, your skills, your influences and your business are as much a part of your personality as your sense of humour. So stop panicking about how to sell, and focus on which way you want the next conversation to go.
What do you want to tell your friends about this time?
Thanks for reading. I hope that you have gained something from this. If you'd like to speak to me personally I offer one-to-one consultations. I can help with branding and design, as well as give you advice on marketing and promoting your products online and at markets.
You can also check out the library of free workbooks in the HiN Academy. I've done my very best to gather together useful information based on my own skills and experience.
Creativity & Community
Founder of Handmade in Norway