Bill Gates once said "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." You can learn an awful lot from your customers in many ways. This month, we're going to show you how.
As we're winding down for the year, we're wishing all of you a happy holiday season and a wonderful and prosperous new year!
FN Newsletter Editor
What Your Customers Can Teach You
by Carolyn Edlund
You might prefer staying in the studio rather than meeting the public. Or maybe your gig is selling online, through your website, or a third party website. You might prefer to deal with galleries, or have sales reps or a business partner who can take care of the marketing and sales for you.
Although those methods can save time, travel and money, there is much to be said for coming face-to-face with the public once in a while. Whether that means you are exhibiting at a retail art show or craft fair, doing a trunk show, or making personal appearance, your retail customers can teach you quite a few things.
What they like. Getting honest feedback by putting yourself on the front lines is really valuable. Perhaps you will learn that your handmade earrings are a bit too heavy, your color scheme is off, or people don't understand how to use your products. You can get a lot of good information by observing a fresh response to your work. As difficult as it may seem, it's important to understand objections that customers have to buying from you. Then, you may be able to overcome those objections either before or during the sales process.
What's out there? Check out your competition in real time. What are they offering, and how is their booth set up? How are they displaying their work and interacting with shoppers? Do they have great presentation or packaging? Expose yourself to some retail commerce to get ideas of how to improve your own collection and presentation.
Get suggestions. Business guru Harvey Mackay says that his customers give him his best ideas, and he's got a good point. Talk to potential customers. They will tell you what they're looking for, and they just might have a brilliant idea for you. How can you solve their problem, give them options, and offer something fresh and different? Listen and learn.
Don't Forget to Search All Years!
As promoters are wrapping up their 2016 details, it might take them a bit to get around to updating their event for 2017. But don't let that deter you!
You can still search for events for next year even if they haven't been updated yet. When you're doing a search, be sure to select "all years." This will keep events from the previous year in your search. You'll be able to use that previous year's info to estimate what to expect for next year, and you can always call the promoter to confirm any details. Many of the details in reoccurring events remain the same from year to year.
We work diligently all year round to get updated event information as soon as it's available, but keep this tip in mind if you're not quite finding the events you're looking for.
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