Sales vs Promotions , Pricing Your Goods
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Building Trust -
The Basics Of Selling
There are a million different media in which you can sell your crafts and supplies. Each of these media will require a unique marketing approach. However, there are some basic tenets of selling which serve you well in any market place.
First of all, you have to decide what you want to sell. Then you have to define your target market. Do you hope to wholesale beads to designers and stores or do you want to sell finished jewelry directly to the end user? Would you rather sell one on one or would you prefer to hold jewelry parties? Narrow your scope even more by defining a price point at which you want to sell - mass market, high end or somewhere in the middle.
Once you have defined your target market, you have to create an image to appeal to that market. If you're selling high end jewelry, you'll want to use high end paper goods for your business stationary. When you chose your business cards, etc. you'll want them to all work together, to create a unified look.
You also have to define your policies. Will you sell on cash or consignment? When will you accept returns? Do you require a deposit on custom orders? Think of all the questions you'd want answered if you were the customer and develop answers to those questions. It helps to work out these questions with friends and families. Policies should always be in writing. People selling online can put their policies on their offerings. People selling in the brick and mortar world can type their policies into a word processor and print it out on their letterhead.
Now that you've defined your product, market place and policies, you're ready to start getting the word out that you're in business. Since it is 10 times harder to land a new client than it is to sell to an existing account, you'll want to start by approaching people you know. If you're selling online at ebay - try building your feedback up to ten by buying if you can. That first star builds a feeling of trust and a sense of community among buyers. If you're selling to stores, try approaching a store where you're known.
The key to making sales is to develop and maintain trust - be specific in what you say, do what you say you will do and follow up, follow up, follow up.
First of all, be specific in what you say you'll do. It's vague to tell someone you'll call them soon to set up a party. Instead, set a date and time that is mutually convenient for that phone call. Then write that appointment on your calendar and keep it. Explain any anticipated delays in your follow up - 'My new catalog is currently at the printers - I'll mail you one the first week of June'. A key to making your deliveries on time is to double the time you think it will take for you to deliver. If you think you'll ship the next day (Tuesday), you can always tell the customer you will ship no later then Wednesday.
Once you've landed that first sale, it's extremely important to set your client's expectations properly. This is particularly true when you're making a piece of jewelry for someone. Make sure everyone concerned agrees on the deliverables. Once again, the order should be written with both parties given a receipt. A sample order could read '7 inch Czech fire polish aqua bicone bracelet with Bali sterling spacers and heart clasp. Cost 20.00. Delivery date 6/15/03. Payment due upon delivery' I always make it a point to have my return policy clearly stated on my order forms and invoices. If an order sheet sounds too formal for you, you can always write a 'thank you' note to the customer and put the details of the transaction in the thank you note.
With all the planning you've done, you should be able to present your deliverables in a timely manner. But what if something goes terribly wrong and you find you just can't make that deadline? Call your customer as soon as possible to explain the delay. See if they can live with that delay. It may be no big thing to the customer - in which case, you can send them a Thank You card for their patience or understanding. If you feel it's necessary to 'make it up to them', you can always throw in something extra. An online business can pick up expedited shipping. A jewelry seller can throw in a pair of earrings to go with that bracelet. Anyone can offer the customer a discount on their next order in appreciation for their patience.
When your goods are ready, package them appropriately. It is my opinion that glass beads should never be sent through the mail in an unpadded envelope. If someone is buying a piece of jewelry, put the piece into a gift box.
Try not to let the delivery of the item be the end of the relationship with your customer. Do your best to stay in touch. Most online sellers maintain email lists and send out monthly newsletters. Artists who place jewelry into local brick and mortar stores can always call or stop in for feedback on their items.
And, last but not least, ask for referrals from satisfied customers. Party givers frequently give hosts presents for every future party booked at their party. If you've furnished the jewelry for a bridal party, ask the bride if you can use her as a reference. Try to get the reference in writing. Put the letter in a scrap book along with pictures of the bridal jewelry. It'll go a long way in making that next sale. To close the circle, you will want to thank the customer for the referral and let them know where it led.
In short, you will always be looking for ways to stay in touch with your customers - let them know how important they are to you and you'll become important to them.
Is there an aspect of marketing that you'd like to see discussed?
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