Can you guess what the word is?
I’ll give you a clue: it’s a critical skill that every artist and creative needs to master if they want a successful business, yet so many of you feel so much resistance towards it…
I’m talking about selling!
But why? Why is selling such a bad word? Why is it that most people associate selling with creepy, outdated, used car salesmen techniques?
Really, when you think about it in a rational way, and stop letting your beliefs and emotions get in the way, selling is simply offering your expertise (either in the form of a product or a service) to someone who can benefit from that expertise, in exchange for compensation.
There’s nothing more to it.
Well, actually there IS a little something more to it – if you don’t put your expertise out there and let people know that you have a product or service to sell, then chances are people won’t purchase it… because they don’t know about it! (I learned that the hard way when I launched my first business!!!)
So what’s holding you back? Why are you so self-conscious about selling if you know it’s the key to the success you so deeply desire?
If you are like most of the artists and creatives I know who feel icky about selling, I’d like to ask you these three questions:
1) How do you feel or react when someone tries to sell you something?
If the answer is “annoyed,” then you might want to reconsider that mindset. Everyone is trying to make a living, and no one is forcing you to buy anything. If you are triggered when someone is trying to sell you something, ask yourself why you feel that way, and what is it about the product or technique that makes you feel annoyed? Often, it’s way more about you than it is about the person who’s trying to sell you something.
If, on the other hand, your answer is “I’m ok with it,” then why aren’t you giving yourself the same generosity when it comes to selling? You have just as much right as anyone else to be in business!
2) When’s the last time you had an amazing sales experience?
I’m sure it has happened to you: you walk into a store, start talking with the salesperson, and you immediately form a connection. The salesperson asks all the right questions to understand your needs and wants, and comes up with amazing options that you have a hard time choosing between!
There is so much to be learned by simply looking at how experienced salespeople interact in the field. You can learn so much about sales technique simply by observing how experienced salespeople interact with others! Think about amazing sales experiences you’ve had and how you can reproduce some of those experiences for your own clients.
3) How can you offer enough value so that your clients feel like you’re doing them a favor, instead of the other way around?
I recently spent three days in a remote hotel to reconnect with myself and write a bunch of content. The experience was a little on the expensive side, but oh so worth it! It seemed like the staff tried very hard to think about everything I could possibly have needed, making my experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible. The result? I really felt like I got value for my money. I’ll definitely go back, and I’m going to tell anyone who’s interested about my experience and invite them to visit that place as well.
How does that relate to you? Well, if you want to feel really good about selling, make sure your offers are super valuable for your clients. Go the extra mile and make your people feel special about making a purchase from you.
You can resist the idea of selling as much as you like, and I know I’m going to get replies from a few of you telling me that I just don’t get it; artists and creatives simply cannot be good at selling.
But the truth of the matter is, whether you are selling your work to a potential client, selling yourself to a gallery, or selling an idea to a strategic partner, we all have to sell as entrepreneurs, whether we are artists or not.
We can either have fun doing it – because we are sharing our gifts with the world – or continue feeling icky about it and stay exactly where we are.
Did today’s topic about sales trigger you in a positive or negative way? Share your thoughts with us on in the comment section. I can’t wait to read what you have to say on this topic!
If you want more support in moving your art business forward - while connecting with over 17,000 other artist entrepreneurs - join us at The Artist Entrepreneur Network and get the help you need! Also, if you haven't already, get my free "7 Ways to Increase Your Sales" cheat sheet and learn how to significantly increase your sales over the next 90 days!