I received this question about custom
work from a reader.
There were two questions in her email. I will answer the
first question this week.
Question: "I must admit that I appreciate your
sales advice more than anything else I have read on the
subject. It is more natural, and common-sense, and suits my
personality and style better than any of the slick-trick
approaches(however well-disguised) that I have seen elsewhere.
I do have one further question, however. At shows (and I have
only done a few) sometimes folks want custom orders. I have
been able to make a few sales by telling them I can make the
piece for them that day, and then doing it. Of course, by
doing so I naturally have to sit down. But my working also
attracts interest from people, and I always put down my work
to address the customer. (But from now on I will see that I
stand up, not sure if I did before... well, yes, but not
always just at the first moment, and never abruptly. Does that
also trigger a defense mechanism?)",
You bring up a very good question and make me think of
another point that I would like to add to my discussion on
"Selling Your Jewelry".
I believe that a person does attract attention when they do
their work at a show. I have observed folks that do this
regularly at shows. But the type of interest that is attracted
seems to be more curiosity than real buyers.
Real buying customers are the ones that are looking at the
jewelry that you have on display rather than watching you make
While making jewelry in your booth is a way to attract
people, I feel that you are at the show to sell jewelry and
that is where your attention should be. When your attention is
diverted from selling, you are going to lose sales.
I have a friend that does custom wire wrapping. She
generally does not do it at the show. She will sometimes do
the work after the show and ask the person to come back the
next day to pick it up. Otherwise, she will ship the product
to them. She and her husband do very well. It is their only
job and they don't do a lot of shows.
Since she doesn't do her work at the show, she is able to
concentrate on talking to the people that walk up to her
booth. She has help also. Her husband cuts stones and he is in
the booth most of the time too.
It is very important to show a customer that you are
willing to give your full attention to them when they are
ready for it. When you are working, many people feel that they
would be bothering you to take you away from your work. If you
are going to work on something, you should do it when no one
is around. If you need to just adjust something with a pair of
pliers, this would be alright, but during the time that you
are making that custom piece, you could be losing more
business than you are gaining.
I really do not think that you can effectively do custom
work at a show and make the necessary connection with
customers in order to make sales. It is too difficult to
really focus on both. When you don't focus on customers, you
do not make as many sales.
Next week part two.