I believe in me!
Confidently talking about your handmade products is not an easy task. You might as well be standing in the street shouting about how fabulous you think you are. Or at least that is how it feels. All eyes on you right? I get it. I've been running Handmade in Norway for nearly two years now. Writing and talking about myself and the work I am doing to help small creative businesses to stand tall. But I've had moments where I'd rather have slid under a table and hidden all day long. Out of sight, where so no one could find me.
Let me tell you, my shy demeanour has hindered me somewhat in the past. I have had to get my head around believing in me. I have had to find reasons to stand tall myself.
But you know what I got there and so can you all. It's time for the crafters and artisans, hobbyists and makers of the world to to stand tall and be proud, be confident and believe in yourselves!
Here's a mini pep talk from someone who has been there. I hope this will get you thinking.
You create and creation is a gift
Feeling is believing
You can learn to believe and be confident
You create and creation is a gift. Not everyone can do what you do. You are unique, you are awesome!
That feeling, you know the one... peaceful concentration. You love creating, you can get lost in it. Time slips by and a moment becomes three hours. You're focused and fulfilled. That is confirmation that you have something special.
You can learn. You can learn new crafts, new techniques, new styles. Confidence is not a personal trait, it is something you learn, it is also skill. As you have learned to use your hands to create, so you can learn to use your mind and heart to believe, and see the value in what you do. Not just the satisfaction value that your skill gives you, but the value that it holds for others. The fascination they have for a skill they do not themselves possess.
People will only believe if you do - Confidence is self fulfilling.
Oh so true. Oh so horribly true!
Let's think about this, we'll mull it over together. Here's a conversation I've heard a few too many times. See how this sounds to you?
Seller: "Hi" (looks down quickly to not appear desperate to sell)
Customer: "These are nice!" - (points to a tray of rings)
Seller: "Thanks" (hesitates whilst having flashbacks of countless hours of work, sore fingers, late nights and backache).
Customer: "OK then, bye!"
There was a moment of hesitation there, did you notice? Did you feel a bit sorry for the seller. Yes, so did I, but I also feel sorry for the customer. The customer reached out and wanted to interact but got nothing. There was a missed opportunity there, a common interest that slipped away.
Let's try again. How about this one?
Seller: "Hi there"
Customer: "These are nice!"
Seller: "Thanks, they're handcrafted... It's oxidized silver"
Customer: "Right, did you make them all yourself then?"
Seller: "I did yes, I have a little studio space at home" (flashback to desk squeezed in to the corner of the bedroom). "It's not much, but then I don't need much space"
Customer: "Wow! that's fantastic!" (imagines a tranquil crafting space with ample natural light and birdsong filtering in through the open window).
Seller: (Smiles) "You're welcome to try one on if you like. I have a few different sizes"
Customer: "Thanks" (Hesitates)
Seller: "Honestly it's ok, it's free to try them on" (smiles)
Customer: (laughs and slips the ring on to their finger)
Do you see the difference? I'm not going to patronise you by dissecting the conversation. You can see where the seller could have hesitated and watched their mojo walk away, trailing after another lost customer. But they didn't. The answer was honest and humble. Suggestive of a quiet confidence.
You can suggest confidence and it will have the same effect. You don't have to brim with self appreciation to make a sale. In fact that most often turns people away. People buy from people, I've said it time and time again. I've seen it time and time again. Being yourself and showing an interest in the customer, will create a relaxed conversation. And a conversation is all it takes to introduce your particular brand of handmade happiness to someone's life. It won't guarantee you a sale, maybe not this time. But use the opportunity to put a business card in their hand and you've just increased your chances ten-fold.
Suggesting confidence is a good stepping stone to believing in yourself. As others believe so will you.
Remember that this is not about being a super salesman. You're not going to sell to each and every person that walks by. But meeting people with a smile and an open mind will show respect. Following up on their comments will sew the seed of conversation, and conversations could open up for a sale. Interacting and letting the passion you have for your craft shine through., will certainly lead to you feeling fabulous, and what could be better than that?
So hold your head up high, remember how awesome you are and let others see it too!
Happy handcrafting - Be proud, no need to be loud - Just don't hide under the table!
Creativity & Community