by Carolyn Edlund
Courtesy of The Crafts Report
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Do you know why your customers are buying from you? Is it your products--the style and quality of your handmade work? Look deeper and you will find there are many other factors in making a sale that you can use to build your sales volume.

It's no secret that emotions are powerful factors that move people into action and cause them to make a purchase. To increase your sales, you must understand and appeal emotionally to customers; there are many other artists and craftspeople out there with wonderful offerings. Why will that customer choose you?

1. Make them feel uniquely special Smile and truly welcome your customers. Exchange pleasantries without first going to a hard sell. Your attitude must be one of friendly service and interest in them.

2. Offer lots of information Consumers look for trustworthy, knowledgeable individuals to educate them on a purchase. Trust is the most important factor leading to long-term relationships and repeat sales.

3. Involve your customers Help them by using sensory techniques. If possible, place the object being considered in their hands. This not only offers touch, but a sense of ownership, which you should encourage. Say, "Your new earrings will look wonderful with that outfit." Encourage shoppers to touch a fabric, handle and listen to your handmade instruments, taste or smell the products (if appropriate).

4. Tell the story How did you invent this new process of working? Did a trip to a foreign country inspire you? Where did you come across a wonderful antique fabric used in your creations? Stories are powerful connectors that will become "part of your product," and the buyer will retell those stories when showing their purchase to others.

5. Make realistic promises Taking a special order for a customer? Be honest about the time frame and be sure to follow up. Contact them after the order to thank them again, and reassure them about their order--but don't overpromise. Be realistic, and then exceed their expectations!

6. Provide a high level of service Show respect for your customers and their schedule by being on time for any appointments you may have set up. If you are late, call. Be consistent with a quick response and keep them well-informed.

All of these techniques lead to building trust, which of course is why your customers will continue to buy from you and refer others to you. They expect value in your products, and they also want to feel valued. Understanding why your customers are really buying from you will enable you to grow your sales volume and create long-lasting profitable relationships.

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