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Archive for the ‘Sales’ Category

Getting to the Sale

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Early in my career as quiltmaker, I sold my work. I took commissions, I did juried craft shows, and I was the only quilter in a fine arts co-op with a storefront. I saw my share of objections to sales. I still see them today. The price is too high. I need to talk to my spouse first. I can’t make a decision today. I need to look at other items. I’m not sure I have space in my house. I’m sure you’ve heard some of those and others. Here are some ideas on how to get past buyer objections so you can get to the sale.

Anticipate objections

Whatever the objection, you can think of it as an opportunity to educate your buyer. Look at the most common objections you get and address them early in the sales process. For example, if you are often asked how to hang your art, talk about that before it comes up. If your sales are wholesale, explain your terms. If someone wants to see if your art fits in their space, let them know if this is/is not possible. If someone wants a different color, are you amenable to reproducing your work. You may even have written material that answers some of these questions with the display of your work at a show or gallery.

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Focus on MGAs First

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

As a creative entrepreneur you probably struggle with a never ending to-do list. I know I do. Even as your business grows and you have assistance, it can still seem overwhelming to get everything done in the allotted time you have. The goal of your business is to make money. Otherwise you have a hobby.

The key is to put money generating activities (MGAs) at the top of the list.

If you look at the last five things you did in your business, how many were related to sales or marketing in your business? You need to prioritize those activities if you are going to bring income into your business. Remember that money flows where your attention goes. Here are some tips to do that.

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What’s Your Self-Worth Quotient?

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

self-worth

This week I offered a complementary webinar titled “5 Smart Ways to Make Money Now in Your Creative Arts Business.” Before I shared the five strategies, I spent some time talking about your mindset and knowing your value. From my experience working with creative entrepreneurs, I often find they struggle with determining a value for their work and then charging for it. Here are some tips for dealing with your worth:

Know exactly what you are charging. Many creative arts entrepreneurs often are challenged by what to charge for their services. Many tend to undercharge because they don’t know what to charge. They look at what others are charging and figure it must be right. Do you ever wonder how that person came up with her price? She probably did what you did: looked around at what others were charging and figured it was right. Take the time to go back and determine how long it takes you to accomplish your work. Consider what your expenses are – overhead, taxes, materials, etc. Then determine what you need to make on an hourly basis to meet your expenses and make a profit.

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Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

CalendarWe have less than 30 days left in 2014. Have you taken stock of where you are? You actually do have time to make a difference in how your year turns out. First, go back and look at your numbers. What did you offer that gave you the best return? Perhaps it was a new pattern, perhaps it was a special you ran on longarm quilting, perhaps it was a class you ran online. Considering that, what can you do to bring in cash this month?

 

We have just had our share of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, so maybe you are “sales’d” out. How about offering that new pattern at a slightly increased price with a pattern that you are not as successful moving? If you do online teaching, perhaps you can offer pre-registration this month to bring in cash. And, if you are a longarmer, how about a discount on a second quilt if someone drops it off this month to be quilted? Of course, it likely won’t get quilted until January, but the topper has a commitment and you have some cash. I’m sure you have some other ideas.

 

As to looking ahead, have you been thinking about 2015 and how it will be different from 2014? Not everyone has started this process, so you aren’t alone if you haven’t. Here are some tips I use.

 

  1. Decide that next year will be different from last. Sounds easy, right? It’s about setting an intention and knowing why you are doing this. You need to connect with your “big why,” so that you goals will have meaning. It also keeps you moving each day.

 

  1. Schedule time to dream and then a time to strategize as a result. You need to look at the bigger picture and the only way to do that is to allow yourself the time. Get our your calendar and block that time off. Give yourself permission! Be the one who designs your own life!

 

  1. Consider what will happen as a result of your dreams becoming a reality. How will this be personally significant to you? We all have vast potential that hasn’t been tapped and now is the time to go for it.

 

I love this quote from Tony Robbins, motivational speaker:

 

“If you want to succeed in your life, remember this phrase. The past does not equal the future. Because you failed yesterday; or all day today; or a moment ago; or for the last six months;
the last 16 years; or the last fifty years of life, doesn’t mean anything … All that matters is: What are you going to do right now.”

 

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WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

Do You Find Selling Icky?

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Baby crying Baby Icky

In conversations with several of my clients recently, the topic of sales came up. Really it was the topic of not feeling comfortable selling. So I ask you, does selling feel icky to you?

 

No one likes to be sold to, and we all have opinions about people who sell. Do you know that Gallup® does an annual survey on honesty and ethical standards of people in a variety of fields?  Car salespeople come in close to the bottom of the list, and have consistently been near or at the bottom of the list for years. (Being from the DC area, I found it interesting that members of Congress and lobbyists were even lower.)

 

If you go to that same list, what professions do you think occupy the top positions? In 2013, it was nurses. Why do you think that is? I think it comes down to the fact that nurses are compassionate, caring people and that comes through to their patients.

 

What would happen if you took this same compassion and care in “selling” to your clients? It’s not hard. It just requires a mindset shift. To me it is about providing a service to your clients or customers. You are not selling; you are providing a service; you are solving their problems.

 

How do you do this? First, you listen to your customers. Learn what their problems are. Then you are able to help them with what you have to offer. It is about being authentic and operating in integrity. If you believe in your product or service, and in yourself, it is not hard to “sell” what you have.

 

Start with a mindset shift from “selling” to “serving.”

 

I would love to hear your comments on this below or go to our Facebook page.

 

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver Golletz is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

 

 

Chasing Rainbows

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

rainbowLast week was such a storm-filled one that I found myself searching for rainbows each time the rain stopped. And, I found a real beauty just across the street. I started thinking about the fact that rainbows are dependent on the storm and started comparing that to our business life.

My first thought was that we all have storms in our business, whether that is feeling overwhelmed by our work or not being able to get done what’s on our list because a “crisis” or storm brews. Times we are not in control. We also have financial storms, weeks or more with dismal sales.

The thing is all the storms pass, and we hopefully have rainbows: turning those to-dos into ta-das or developing better sales the next week. Is it possible to get to the rainbows without the heavy storms? Maybe yes, maybe no. Here are just a few ideas to consider:

  1. Chart your business activity, specifically your financials. All businesses have sales cycles, times when sales are up and times when sales are down. And, it is often a pattern. If you do not look at what is happening in your business on a regular basis, you can not expect to make adjustments and get to those rainbows. It is about creating a history so that you know that the first two weeks of September are always slow and you can develop a plan of action to combat that.
  1. Using that same history, you can predict when you will need to add some additional help. If history shows that you are always busy and overwhelmed during December, then plan ahead for help. Also give thought to whether the new hire should start at the beginning of the busy time, where she is thrown into the fire, or whether you need to be available for training, in which case a slower time might be better.
  1. Understand how you work. Are any of those storms because you are not paying specific attention to your needs? For example, do you allow interruptions during the times when you should be working in your brilliance? Or do you do all the “it only takes five minutes” items allowing a storm to brew rather than working on the important tasks, which will take longer?
  1. Do you have a Plan B or contingency plan for unexpected storms? Thinking ahead about the potential storms and having a plan will make a difference.
  1. If you find that the rainbows continue to elude you, spend time journaling about the situation or talk it out with a trusted advisor. If you do this, you will probably come to a better understanding and possibly a good solution.

Do you ever look for rainbows in your business? What is your tip to find more rainbows?

 

Meet Celine Perkins

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

In the Summer 2012 issue of The Professional Quilter, Eileen Doughty profiled Celine Perkins, pattern designer and owner of Perkins Dry Goods. Here’s an excerpt of the article:

How else do you advertise your business?

I advertise regularly in American Quilt Retailer. At Market, I do Schoolhouse workshop sessions and contribute to the FabShop Dinner as a table sponsor. (The Fabric Shop Network is a trade association for independent quilt and fabric retailers; they publish FabShop News. They have a dinner for shop owner members right before Market opens.) I’ve been a sponsor for several years, usually donating prize bags for two tables.

I have also participated as an organizer for two Booth Hop events at the 2010 Minneapolis and Kansas City Markets. Last fall in Houston, I joined in the Aurifil Booth Hop.

What have you experienced as a vendor at International Quilt Market?

I have been to 13 Markets since spring of 2005. I try to go to every one, for several reasons. At Market, you have a unique opportunity to meet your customers, face-to-face. You have fantastic networking and educational opportunities. You see what’s new and trending. You get inspired.

After driving back from Kansas City this year, I’m not convinced that it’s easier to drive than to fly! I fly to the majority of markets with my “booth in a bag.” I get a half-booth space (affordable and manageable for one person). I share hotel and car expenses with two or three other designers that I’ve gotten to know. We make a trip to Sam’s Club and Target for booth accessories when we all arrive. I also request that my booth be placed near these designers so we can help each other during the show.

Once I vended at International Quilt Festival in Chicago just to see what it was like. I found that it takes a lot of single pattern sales to pay for a booth!  That convinced me that the independent quilt shop is my primary customer and that Market is the best place to sell my product, not at a retail venue.

How do you split your time between all the various tasks of running your business?

That’s a really good question. My husband has always been impressed with how many plates I can keep in the air. I think this is kind of funny since I don’t always feel very organized, and sometimes I think being “over organized” is a defense mechanism. I make lists, sometimes too many, but lists nonetheless. And I am constantly thinking about what comes next.

My routine is to be in the office by 6:30 a.m. At about 8:30 a.m. I take a break (errands or the gym), then come back and work from 11:00 or so until 4:00 p.m., when I go to the post office or UPS. I work seven days a week, but go from one thing to the next, in and out of the studio, especially on weekends.

I try to stay connected with others in the quilt world, whether they are designer friends or shop owners. It can be very socially isolating to work for yourself in a one-man shop.

I see “Studio and Family Time” on your website schedule, for June and July. Do you have “rules” for keeping your business and personal lives separate (and sane)?

At dinner time, the computer is turned off, and the sewing machine is off-limits.

To relax, I go to the gym at least three times a week and walk with my husband after dinner every day that the weather allows. I lost a significant amount of weight in 2010-11 and through that process have learned to make my health more of a priority. It’s pretty amazing what happens when you get a little selfish with that kind of thing.

I also started knitting more seriously when a close friend opened a yarn shop. It’s a great excuse to spend time away from work with a good friend!

The “Studio and Family Time” came from a need to clear the calendar of business commitments during summer months. The kids are home from school, and there is usually a family vacation planned. My dad passed away a few years ago, and my mother now summers in Minneapolis. We spend a lot of time together. It’s a priority for me to be able to spend time with the family, and blocking out those months seemed like a good way to make that “public.”

If you would like to read more of Eileen’s article on Celine Perkins, it’s included in our Summer 2012 issue of The Professional Quilter and available to IAPQ members. The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

Please share your thoughts below.

Book Review: The Pumpkin Plan 

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

The Pumpkin Plan

The Pumpkin Plan
Mike Michalowicz
Penguin Books; $26.95

This week’s book isn’t directly about quilting, it is about building and sustaining your entrepreneurial business. The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field is an entertaining read that you can really learn from.

In the book, author Mike Michalowicz uses the growth of a freakishly large pumpkin – you know the kind you hear about at state fairs in the fall – as a metaphor for how an entrepreneur can successfully manage and grow a business. He addresses entrepreneurial burn-out, how to handle clients that sap your energy, how to staff your entrepreneurial business, and how to recognize when it is time to make a change in your offering. And throughout the chapters, he includes “Work the Plan” sections that will help you to create great success in your business.

Look for the book at your favorite book retailer. Here’s a link to  Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.

Have you thought about repurposing?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Whether your pace this summer is slower or not, it’s a good time to look at your business and see what you might be able to do with what you already have. It’s called repurposing and you see it all the time in other areas. Disney is a prime example. They often issue re-releases or special editions of their classics. They recreate the excitement, find additional audiences, and make more sales. How can you do this as a quilter or fiber artist? Here are some ideas:

1. If you are a pattern designer, go back to some of your older designs and remake them using different fabrics. Try a really traditional design in contemporary fabrics. Sometimes a fresh look is all that’s needed. Now you can re-issue and promote the pattern as a special or anniversary edition.

2. If you are a teacher, take a look at those classes you’ve been teaching. Do you need brighter samples to post with the descriptions? Could the class titles be jazzed up a bit? Do you have some faster methods you are now using? The new class, with the jazzed-up title is now Completely Revised or Now With Speed Sewing Techniques. This made me think of food manufacturers with the New, Improved signs on their products. If it works for them, it will work for you.

3. If you are a longarm quilter, look at your samples? Are they dated? Try making a set of sample strips using some of those new threads you purchased. You can add them to existing samples, making it all look new again.

4. If you are a shop owner, repurposing is easy and it’s something you are probably doing on a regular basis. When was the last time you redid your displays to give a new look to your shop? Just moving your existing displays can make a difference.

5. If you make and sell a product or notion, what can you do to update it? For example, if you sell hand-dyed fabrics, perhaps you can tweak the formula just a bit, and add a new color in a limited edition. Or take an existing color and rename it.

I’m sure you have lots of ideas about how to repurpose your existing product line. Please share them below.

Nine Tips for Shopping Quilt Shows

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

With quilt show season at its height, I thought I’d share some tips for shopping large shows, both wholesale and retail.

1. Pack comfortable clothes and shoes. You can easily be on your feet for eight hours or more. Take to heart the Quilts Inc. admonition, “Remember at Market, fashion stops at the knees!”

2. Take some healthy snacks with you, like fruits and nuts. All the booths will have snacks of the chocolate variety and while a bit is fine, you want to be sure to keep your stamina up. Once you start walking the floor, it’s hard to leave. Something new or an old friend catches your eye. That sugar rush just won’t sustain you. And, don’t forget to bring water or an empty water bottle to fill to keep hydrated.

3. Take advantage of the learning opportunities. Quilts Inc. has lectures and classes the day before Market opens and then the mornings and evenings when the vendor floor is closed. This is a wonderful opportunity to take back knowledge to share with your staff and customers and to build your business. At retail shows, you can often find wonderful classes that will teach you something to share with your customers. Even just bringing back knowledge of “what’s new” is important.

4. If you go to Quilt Market, don’t wait in line for Sample Spree. I always check the lines for Sample Spree and often find the same people at the front of the line every show. They recognize me coming now! Some of these attendees get in line at 2 pm for an event that starts at 8 pm. They miss half of the Schoolhouse Sessions and terrific learning opportunities. Once the doors open, most everyone in line gets in within five to 10 minutes. Even latecomers get in. Last I heard they weren’t giving a prize for first one in the door!

5. Don’t forget your business cards. You are going to meet shop owners and quilt business owners from around the world in addition to buying for your business. A good tip is to make a note or two on the back of the card as a memory jogger for when you get home. And, to make it easy for ordering, try printing the information on labels to make filling out forms easier.

6. Start with a plan to shop the floor. Spend time the night before going through the show program, marking those you must see. Set a schedule that includes any appointments you have with fabric companies or distributors. If you are shopping with a group, be sure everyone knows the schedule. Many shop owners walk the floor and collect literature during the first day, go over the material at night and then buy the second or third day. Other shop owners know what their shop needs and buy on the first walk through. Figure out the plan that will work best for you.

7. If you are traveling with a group, be sure you’ve got everyone’s phone numbers programmed in to your phones. Market is really big, and it’s easy to get separated from your group. Even keeping up with your group at a small show can be a problem.

8. Keep a journal so you can track what you see, need to follow up on, etc. I usually have a small 5″ by 8″ notebook where I make notes about what’s new, action I need to take when I get back, and secure business cards I collect. It’s fun to see what’s transpired over the years.

9. Look for ways to connect. Everyone has to have lunch and/or dinner. Look for someone at a table, go join them. You’ll probably pick up a business tip and be able to share one, too. And, likely you’ll make a new friend.

Please share your thoughts below.

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