Selasa, 30 November 2010

Getting the Sale

“Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.” ~Zig Ziglar

November started out like any other month. And then on November 4th I got an email. This email appeared to be from PayPal telling me that I had money in my account. But it was in my spam folder so I was naturally suspicious. And it was also telling me that in order to get the money I had to upgrade my account. Now the warning bells were going off.

I was sure that I was being duped.  I started combing the message boards on PayPal for evidence of a 'spoof' email. Then I noticed that this money was indeed in my account. I was wary of random dollars floating into my PayPal account. Now I was really worried. I mean, this had never happened to me before. It wasn't until I went back to my email and found the alert in my Etsy folder that I sat down and had a good laugh.

I wasn't being 'spoofed'...I was getting my first sale on Etsy! And I needed to upgrade my PayPal so that I could accept credit card payments. ;-)

Ha ha ha! {Yes, you can all laugh heartily at my foibles. The only thing that would have been funnier would be if I had actually hit the panic button and fired off my supposed 'spoof' email off to PayPal....they would have thought I was an even bigger idiot and I am sure that I would have been the talk around the watercooler at PayPal!}

Since I am behind the rest of the world on the whole Etsy thing, I thought that those of you with Etsy or online websites would find that true story funny, and maybe my insights might help anyone waffling as to selling online. Or make you recall your first sales and how that felt if you are a master online seller {because I know that many of you are!}. Here 10 things that I have learned through this experience...

1::Just list something!
Why did it take me so long to get it out there? I think that I was so concerned with having everything right that I was afraid to list anything. You can't sell it if you don't list it!

{Endlessly Bountiful - isn't this a great picture?
The light captures the intense color and sparkle.
Featuring lampwork glass from SueBeads - SOLD}
2::Take great pictures! I have had to rethink my pictures. The dimensions were all wrong. Deciding what part to focus on. Whether to use props or not. Since light is at a premium with these shorter days of winter, I have set up a make-shift indoor studio with some bits of vellum taped over a bright lamp {but AutoCorrect in Picasa is still my best friend}. I am investigating the props that won't detract but will enhance my shots. I try to take a close up, a mid-shot and a full shot at minimum. Whatever you do, make them great!

{The Last Leaf - inspired by the O. Henry story -
featuring vintage filigree and an Earthenwood leaf.
Available on Etsy}
3::Write amazing descriptions!
Your pictures get someone to take a closer look; your words get them to buy. You want your shoppers to know a bit about you but more importantly about the thing you are selling. Be sure to make it engaging, tell a story to create a mood, include dimensions and what it is made from. Be yourself and find the style that works for you.

{Plunging In - bangle bracelet inspired by Kerry Bogert's Totally Twisted
featuring a custom, one-of-a-kind hollow glass bead by Kerry for my gallery exhibit,
ceramics by Jangles and enamel by Barbara Lewis. Available on Etsy}

4::Know who you are!
I spent a lot of time researching shop policies and deciding exactly how I wanted the experience to be for my potential customers. I focused on a banner and avatar before I even had a thing to sell. I thought a lot about what I could do that might make me different. Let's face it... you are one in a million out there. But you are one with your own unique story to tell. Make sure that shines through.

5::Be accessible!
I responded immediately to that convo and made a personal connection with that first buyer. Turns out she used to live about 40 minutes from where I we have a real connection.

{Cozy & Warm - with Humblebeads, Swarovski crystals & Vintaj.
Available on Etsy}
6::Go the extra mile! My second sale was local, so in this case it was a literal mile. She was someone who had followed me during my gallery exhibit this summer. I offered to deliver the earrings to her personally. Again, another connection. In another sale I put in a surprise pair of matching earrings. I know that I appreciate when someone puts a little something extra in and I want to continue paying that forward.

7::Be flexible!
On the third sale I was contacted from someone overseas asking about shipping. So I had to learn something new about shipping to a foreign country and added that to my shop. And because of that I got two sales instead of just one. Now someone in Europe will be wearing my jewelry, and that is just too exciting! {And it might be the closest I will ever get to visiting there!}

{W.O.W. Pendant - custom made - SOLD}
8::Get custom!
The beauty of Etsy is that people can reach out and connect with artists on a personal level and get exactly what they want. I know some artists' shy away from custom orders and adopt a 'what-you-see-is-what-you-get' mentality. My favorite pieces are the ones created with the spirit of the person it was intended for in mind. I have my first reserved order for a custom pendant inspired by the one above but created to her exact specifications. I love that. I hope she will, too.

{Packaging and branding are important!}

9::Little touches=Big magic
Consider your packaging. I have seen some awesome packaging ideas lately. Check out the Flickr stream Etsy Packaging. Whatever you do, make sure it builds your brand and shows that you care about your customers. For me, I have a copper box with a clear sticker of my signature skeleton key logo and custom imprinted chocolate satin ribbon with my company name and key. Oh, and a key tag. There is one on every necklace and bracelet. But the most important thing to me is a hand written note. Make the experience as personal as possible.

10::Know how they found you!
My first 4 sales came in the first week in November, but why? I don't play the re-listing game {but if you have had success with that, do tell!}. The first two pieces sold to a woman who picked up a magazine and discovered she could get the exact one-of-a-kind pieces from the spread. The third sale was to a local woman who followed me. The fourth sale came from someone in France who had seen me posting on blogs and found my website through that. Always ask. And then keep doing that thing that helped them find you. I know I will continue trying to be published and listing those pieces in Etsy, expanding my local influence, and creating real connections on blogs and websites.

I agree with Zig in the opening quote... to be successful selling all you have to do is figure out how to fill a void, price it right, create the urgency, feed the desire and gain the trust of your potential customers. Simple, no?

I don't know if it gets any easier to navigate selling online, but I do believe what my best friend who encouraged me to open that Etsy shop said... selling on Etsy is like a big ocean...there is a lot of room so jump on in and splash around.

Come on in. The water's fine...

Do you remember your first sale online?
If you have not sold online, what is holding you back?
Any Etsy or online selling tips you would care to share?

Do tell!

Erin Prais-Hintz writes about all things that inspire her at Treasures Found::Inspiration Is Everywhere. Her jewelry designs are one-of-a-kind made one-at-a-time. She collects quotes and dust and invites you to send her your favorite (quote - not dust!) to Check out her brand spankin' new website at Tesori Trovati.

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