Craft Fair Selling
I’m sure you’ve experienced this. I certainly have. You are standing in your booth at an art show and a customer walks in. The customer looks at your products but doesn’t say anything or look at anything in particular.
Your throat goes a bit dry. Your palms get sweaty. What do you say to start the conversation? What if the person ignores you, like the last one did? You need sales training to help you get past no.
The Rejection Challenge
The fear of rejection is a challenge to all of us, engaging in one to one selling. For the artisan craftsman it is more intense. Many of the products you are promoting are your own creation, your own design. You spent hours making it perfect. Each bowl or spindle is a reflection of your personal creative processes. And now you want to sell it and you don’t want to be rejected either.
The Rejection Solution
Rejection Proof – “How I beat fear and became invincible through 100 days of rejection”, looks at rejection and tells the personal story of how Jia Jiang conquered it. My take away from the book is… Often it is not about you at all. The yes or no of the customer is their choice and who knows what is going on in their mind and their world? Jia Jiang was turned down on a business proposal. As he evaluated his strong emotional response to the rejection he determined to face his fear and conquer rejection. His method, to see if he could be rejected for 100 consecutive days. His book documents his process and the challenges and benefits of the results. For those of us selling our own products this is essential sales training.
Trying to be the Worst
For one of his rejection attempts he tried to be the worst salesman ever. That’s right he is going to a trade show and looking for an opportunity to sell something that he knows nothing about. Well he finds two students, who are basically in that position! They have brochures for a product that they have been hired to promote at the trade show. Jia expects complete rejection. He knows nothing about the product and he is cold calling everyone he approaches. He is honest and tells the customers that he knows nothing about the product but would they like a brochure anyway? The end result from this book? Five people took brochures, two people signed up directly and three people rejected his offer. This was a 70% success rate and he wasn’t trying to sell the product! He was willing to make the connection, to start the conversation, to ask questions in response to the customer, and he was confident. Doing this will help you sell your product to more people.
Working through Rejection
In 6 Steps to master the craft show season I suggested having ten pennies in your pocket. Move one penny for each person you talk to and move all the pennies back when you make a sale. The goal is to move those pennies. The more people you talk to the greater your chances of making a sale. Jia says that rejection has a number, if you ask often enough you will get a yes. Was he rejected 100 times? No in fact one of his best “yeses” came on day number 3! He asked a donut shop to make 5 donuts into the Olympic Rings in 2012. His video of the event went viral and was definitely not a rejection.
This can work for you too and you know your product. This book shows that rejection is really not about you but about your customers, the circumstances, and your attitude toward rejection.
It is his reflections on rejection that help you see a bigger picture than the single customer conversation that looms so large at every craft fair. This is sales training at its practical level. Tackle your fear of rejection. The worst that can happen is that you’ll have a better day talking to more people.
Turning For Profit
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