Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Art of the Sale



This week my skin is needing to be a bit thicker. I’m sales girl. I used to think that accounting was my least favorite part of my art business but I think it’s really sales I find most uncomfortable. Sales is fine outside in the summer sun at the Spenard Farmers Market where customers bring me a piece of garden art they really want to buy and I take their money, say thank you and I’m happy that they are happy –money in hand, done. There are always a few comments like
“my husband could make that,” or “did your husband make this stuff and you’re just selling it for him?” or “keep going, it's just a bunch of rusted old metal” –comments that I take in stride. But the one thing that can send me in a raving bad mood is to get hung up on the telephone, which happened a couple weeks ago following up on an Art Quilt Pattern solicitation –even though I was ASKED to call the store back. Arrrgh. Following up on pattern orders, inquiries and doing my weekly sales calls takes sales finesse. Sales is necessary but sometimes I feel out of practice for that part of my job. I’m sure there are tried and true techniques, sales “manners” or witty comebacks (I’m thinking Dale Carnegie here) seal-the-deal types of verbiage for the art of the sale, but I don’t possess those skills, nor do I really want to. 90% of my sales calls, commissions and customer service are happy and smooth but a hang-up can hurt my feelings. I know, I know, “toughen-up buttercup!” I’m also still exploring options on my wireless credit card situation for sales. My friend Elise, did send me information on Intuit GoPayment that another artist friend of ours is currently using on her iPhone. I put it out on FB and found couple of other artists are also happily using their iPhones for credit card sales. One person also bought the Bluetooth wireless printer but hasn’t set it up yet. The rates seem reasonable especially if you are already using an Android, Blackberry, or iPhone and you can figure a way out to print receipts, the system seems doable.

Even though the temps are still barely above zero and snow is blanketing the ground for the next couple of months, the Spenard Farmers Market is firing up. We’ve had several work sessions and my volunteer job as the vendor coordinator has me selling the Market to new farmers and vendors this year. That’s been an easy sell so far! If you know anybody that would like to participate in the 2011 Season have them download a

vendor application here.

Next Friday is the deadline for the Quilted Raven’s Iditarod Quilt challenge. I hope to set the sales calls aside today for both the Market and my art business and finish up my husky dog entry. If I can figure out how best to sew them on, he’ll have 3-D ears. It’s not too late here is a link to enter the Challenge. Oh, and here is a picture of one of the felted sheep I made this last weekend. Baaaaa!

6 comments:

Tracey Broome said...

In my early 30's I worked as a sales rep in the outdoor industry for a few years and boy was it good training for what I am doing now. I don't really like sales either, but when I am in the right frame of mind I can be good at it. It is an annoying part of the business though.... and "eff"
those hangups, not worth the mental anguish!!

ang said...

hmmmm did ya call back??? go the wireless you'll never go back!!

Gary's third pottery blog said...

wicked sweet sheep, anyway :)

HENHOUSE POTTERY said...

I think selling your own art is really worse than selling "products" that you don't have a vested interested in (a pound of flesh, as it were). It somehow makes the rejection sting so much more...they aren't just rejecting you as a sales person, they are rejecting what you made. It always hurts my feelings, too. When I was in Moab two years ago, the owner of one of the gift shops asked me to call them when I got back to SLC so they could place an order for the pottery I'd taken with me to show them in person. When I called less than a week later, the owner was very dismissive, even though she'd seemed very excited in person. It took a long time before I wanted to market my work in person to the "tourist trap" gift shops by the National Parks...

Ann said...

I SO agree with Tracey-- forget that quilt shop. I have. Permanently. :) I prefer to think about all the people you make so happy with your art, like all the people who are going to see that adorable husky during the month that the challenge quilts are displayed! Mine might be ready to be unveiled on Friday. You'll just have to envision what it looks like bound.

Linda Starr said...

The photo of the first guy is priceless, I agree with Julia, it is hard to sell something you are vested in, although I find when I talk about my art in general terms folks seem to get as excited as I am about it.