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How do you sell yourself?


MissMary
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I've been putting off doing much in the way of selling aside from web. If I can give thought to it, and write it up - I'm fine. But face to face, person to person - I'm horrible at selling myself, which is what I believe you do when you try to sell your products too.

As ironic as it is, with people in control of my fate, so to speak, I'm horribly self conscious and shy. My DH hooked me up with a friend who wants to wholesale items for his salon and a webstore. I have all the documents in tact and everything and it was an easy sell because he was a friend of DH's and he knew exactly what he wanted and I was willing to work with HIS oils - he buys, I pick them up and make up candles and sell the candles back.

But going into businesses or at shows - I'm afraid I'll be petrified to where I'll sound like an idiot. I don't know what to say to the average person who may not know about quality candles.

Is there anything I can do, or any advice to help me with assertiveness when it comes to people I want to sell to?

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I don't worry about selling myself-I worry about selling my products. Since I test, test, and test again, I have complete faith in my products and I guarantee them. I don't try to make fantastic claims-let the candles sell themselves. Open it up and let them take a sniff. Then I answer their questions. I explain about testing, how to burn, stuff like that. You might try making up some simple flyers to explain your products, then quote from your flyers. Surprisingly simple. You don't need self confidence if you have confidence in your product. Good luck and go get 'em! :wink2:

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I don't worry about selling myself-I worry about selling my products. Since I test, test, and test again, I have complete faith in my products and I guarantee them. I don't try to make fantastic claims-let the candles sell themselves. Open it up and let them take a sniff. Then I answer their questions. I explain about testing, how to burn, stuff like that. You might try making up some simple flyers to explain your products, then quote from your flyers. Surprisingly simple. You don't need self confidence if you have confidence in your product. Good luck and go get 'em! :wink2:

Oh I like the flyer idea! Thanks for the input, it's much appreciated!

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that is like me..I don't know where to go or what to do. Founding a place to go is hard for me around my area. I have confidence in my products but the selling of them I don't know how to do.

I've been putting off doing much in the way of selling aside from web. If I can give thought to it, and write it up - I'm fine. But face to face, person to person - I'm horrible at selling myself, which is what I believe you do when you try to sell your products too.

As ironic as it is, with people in control of my fate, so to speak, I'm horribly self conscious and shy. My DH hooked me up with a friend who wants to wholesale items for his salon and a webstore. I have all the documents in tact and everything and it was an easy sell because he was a friend of DH's and he knew exactly what he wanted and I was willing to work with HIS oils - he buys, I pick them up and make up candles and sell the candles back.

But going into businesses or at shows - I'm afraid I'll be petrified to where I'll sound like an idiot. I don't know what to say to the average person who may not know about quality candles.

Is there anything I can do, or any advice to help me with assertiveness when it comes to people I want to sell to?

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Like the other poster, I don't see it as selling myself I see it as selling my product.

I really don't say much unless they look indecisive and I ask what type of scents do they like. Once they tell me I pick up quite a few and hand the tarts to them to sniff. I love when they ask what my favorite is, I always pick the one that isn't selling well. It never fails I end up having to make more of that scent because the customers end up loving it.

Just make sure your display is neat, prices are noticable, look busy, answer questions and sell your candles.

A few places to look for shows are churches, fire halls, and community centers. Also if you have to go to the next town to go to a show definitly try it.

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Oh I like the flyer idea! Thanks for the input, it's much appreciated!

You are most welcome. I've had people ask me for catalogs too. I figure you can use the flyer as a script. Once you get started talking about something you love to do, rather than putting a hard sell on people, the rest comes naturally. They will catch your enthusiasm and buy, buy, buy! :D

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Sorry, but IMO, you MUST learn to sell yourself. When I took my first sales job (corporate), there was a huge banner in the training room:

If your customer likes you, he/she will buy from you!

I can't begin to tell you how many shows I've done where I've seen the vendor cowering in the corner. They end up packing up early and complaining about low sales.

You must learn to get in a customer's face, unoffensively, of course. You don't need a sales pitch, per se. You know your product. You don't need a script. All you need to do is honestly tell people why your product is the best.

I have always believed that salesmanship comes naturally. I don't believe it can be taught. One of the things my first sales supervisor told me (same job as mentioned above) was that I'm so good at sales because I'm personable. That word is forever embedded in my brain. Personable. And humor goes a long, long way.

I don't mean to discourage anybody. But the truth is some people just plain aren't cut out for sales.

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Mary, I understand because it's not my nature to sell myself, either. I have learned a lot from my friend (she helps me with shows).

I find that starting with a smile and a "Hi, how are you doing today?" is a great, non-threatening start. Make a little small talk. Ask if they are enjoying the show. Then move to the "are you looking for anything in particular" If they respond with something specific that's your opening. If they say they are just browsing, pick one product and share what you like about it. At my last show I had out a sample bottle of my cocoa butter lotion and encouraged people to try some. I almost sold out of every bit of that lotion -- once they tried it quite a few bought some. Get them involved, get them to sample something or smell something or try something, and smile the whole time.

Bottom line, be friendly, be open and accessible. In a way you almost have to both distance yourself from the product and fuse yourself with it at the same time. Selling it is not selling you, but your time and effort and pride make it the awesome product that it is.

I say all of that, but man sometimes it is really, really hard. Those are some of the tricks I use to get through it. Hope it helps you.

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I could sell ice to an eskimo. :D

Selling is a learned behavior, mixed with a dynamic personality. I have worked in corporate America with people that could literally sell your own house back to you at higher price. It is a gift you either have or don't, on some levels. Not all.

MM, try~ as hard as it may be, to overcome shyness. I know it may be difficult in real-life situations. Be friendly, strike up general conversation. Something that can relate to, but I caution you highly on patronizing and/or tone. Be genuine, and smile. People need to feel they can "connect" with you, on the same level. Do not ever be afraid to use tasteful humor, once you get a feel for their personality. I used to have clients call me, just to break up their day and make them laugh.

The next day, they'd call back and give me a huge order.

And they were loyal! Dear God, when I was sick, they'd hang up on anyone that I didn't "approve" them to speak with. I mean downright scathing interogation, they never trusted anyone. It was funny, but later became a PITA. Unfortunately, sometimes your biggest spending clients in corporate hell will turn into YOU, LOL... and omg abuse some of the other sales peeps. I had to gently break them of this habit.

People will listen and be interested, once they feel welcome in your presence and are more apt to spend money. They say 80% of a successful business may come from 20% of their customers. It's all about price, product, sell- mixed with repeat business and building a solid foundation with customer relations.

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Guest jurnalynn

i am a shy person in new situations but once mom put me behind the bar of our family business it was like i was a whole different person you now have permissin to speak to people its your job so when i'm working in the public be it behind a bar waitressing selling at a show i'm comfortable but take me out of the job and make me a customer i'm not the same i don't joke around with people i no longer feel comfortable talking to just anyone its funny how that works

Laura

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being a zany outgoing person I love running my little store but cold sells no way, I have a hard time putting my feeling into words on this board MM, so I won't even try to give advise I never thought about you being shy since you can come across on the board with so much information and do not take that wrong because when I go back to research I find you have already done the work for me. I hope you overcome the shyness because you have a lot to offer the world and I don't just mean your products I do mean yourself.

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Aw, I'm blushing. I really appreciate it.

It's not just really general shyness for the most part, I'm pretty outgoing and laid back - I just don't think that will translate to sales. I tried phone sales and sucked horribly, but for some reason, when I worked customer service for AT&T (before the India days) I did fine, but I didn't have anything to push.

I personally hate pushy sales people - I won't even deal with a car salesman if he's descended upon my car before I get out (that's the truth). I don't want to be the same way, but I'm so passionate about my products, I'm afraid it will come across more as pushy than excitement because I am so blunt. :/

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I could sell ice to an eskimo. :D

Selling is a learned behavior, mixed with a dynamic personality. I have worked in corporate America with people that could literally sell your own house back to you at higher price. It is a gift you either have or don't, on some levels. Not all.

.

Very true. I used to be the one in the corner and let my DH do the selling. He can sell anything. Now he has noticed me being more vocal and outwards when it comes to my products. I couldn't do it before because I did not want to seem like I was bragging....but heck...do what you gotta do!

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I get people shopping in 2 and 3's. I did get up with those where 1 customer and see what they like but kinda leave the friends to check out the candles. That is what I decided this year and sales were at their best.I did get up a few times when people were looking after a minute or 2 and did see what they might be interested in. Some walked away.Seemed they didn't want someone to push or wanted to look on their own. Honestly that is the way I am. I cannot decide the first minute I am looking.

Customers want to sniff all of my candles and talk with their spouse or friends. Even kids shopping with mom like to sniff. I don't stand over them. I have that in deparment stores and I leave. Wal Mart isn't that way but bigger dept stores are.

I am like Miss Mary I don't want the sales person to jump at me as soon as I start to look.Give me some freedom to first look, decide and maybe buy. This year people were buying, giving me their phone number,asking where to get these candles, can they call and order and other outside sales. Working real hard now with one scent for a mother and daughter.I am going to get it right and might be more orders.

I do believe in being friendly/smile/ talk but they came to me and I didn't have to jump up all day long.They shopped, Picked what they wanted and brought what they chose to me. If I did lotion, soap and body butters with samples for people to try I would be up selling and demonstrating if some were interested. For candles they want to check them all out and some know just what they are looking for. I give them the freedom to choose.

This was my first year just letting people shop.It worked for me. Might not for some but did for me.

I am not shy but used to be before selling candles. With me letting people shop and do some talking does work.Just not standing over them. I let them make decisions on their own. I do suggest best sellers.Some like them some don't.

LynnS

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I go to a lot of antique malls and read a lot of publications geared toward these dealers. The advice they give is "greet the customer, let them know you are they to answer questions, then leave them alone". As a customer I like that approach. This supports LynnS' observations.

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I used to be shy when I was in school.

After graduation and getting out in the working world most of that shyness left. When ALL of it left it was when I decided I wanted to be a Realtor. In order to survive in selling real estate you HAVE to sell yourself and the agency. In real estate it's NOT selling homes but getting the listings. The agency isn't interested in someone who is selling the inventory/houses and not bringing inventory back into the agency. So you have to force yourself to make cold phone calls and go out and knock on doors. It can be very cut throat...that's why I eventually hung it up.

When doing craft shows I don't pounce on someone as soon as they take a step toward my booth. I usually wait till they pick up one of the candles and then I...or my daughter who helps me with shows...start a conversation. The last show that I did...I wasn't feeling well and honestly didn't want to be there. It reflected in my sales. Normally this show has been great for me...but because I pretty much ignored the customers they didn't buy. I wasn't showing any enthusiasm at all and it reflected in my poor sales. In my misery..LOL...I was observing the booths across from me...a 10X10 booth with 5 people lined up on chairs at the back of their spot. I think they took home everything they brought...I didn't see anyone buying. Compare that to a man and his wife who were selling woodcrafts. They had smiles on their faces...were coming out of their booth to talk to people who were looking at their displays...they had a lot of sales.

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I know what you mean about WOOD CRAFTS. They SELL. Some people who do them just stand near the cash register and let people bring their purchase. They are big sellers at all shows I do and they sell themselves.They make nice Christmas gifts and also when doing some decorating inside and out. I would love to add that to my candle business but husband has no time to make them. I then could paint or stain. I know woodcrafters who start making things after craft season for the next year's shows. They bring a huge truckload to the show and keep going back to replenish what they sold. Some do talk and greet but some of them don't. Might when they are buying but some just sit back in their booth and let the people shop. Alot of the customers are repeat business every year. They get to know one another and of talk.

For 5 people in one booth seems to me they wanted to just chit chat with one another and TOTALLY ignored customers. I don't do that but just don't pounce.I have pounced when they first get there and some walk away. Some don't and at times I will help them find what they might like. I think the candles, certain fragrances how many candlemakers are at shows makes a big difference IF you get sales.This year sittng back did help me. Of course most of the time I am alone doing the show. At times I get so busy some do get ignored but most will wait and others might walk away.

What we all know I never read a paper or book like I do see some do. I am not that bored. I would walk past that booth if I was a shopper. Those are really not into sales.

Next year I will try again what I did this year. If it doesn't work being a little laid back I will be up selling and talking about my candles.So far most I meet know all about candles and are big candle lovers.I think one came to our booth and asked "WHAT IS A SOY CANDLE"??? I had one who sold Gold Canyon till last year when they started charging for shipping. We laughed together when she said she came from AZ to buy my candles.

Like coconut said there are alot of people like us who like the approach of shopping on their own.

LynnS

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