Reaching out to customers

Last weekend, my friend, Donna, and I went to the Cottonwood Art Festival in Richardson. The weather was superb, sunny and delightful. This is a juried show, so the art is phenomenal, inspirational and fun.

As we wandered through the show, going in and out of the booths, we enjoyed talking to the artists and hearing about their work. We quickly decided on our favorites and dreamed of where we would put their art in our homes. Since we are neighbors, we shared ideas and offered suggestions.

One particular artist appealed to us both. It is a man who creates flowers and garden type art in mixed media. As we were looking at his art, we asked the woman working the booth a few questions. We were shocked at her lack of interest, even though we expressed admiration and delight at the artist’s work.

When asked if art could be shipped if we decided later, her comment was “It’s really expensive to ship from Florida” and “No we don’t sell online.” We found a series of 12” x 12” paintings that would look great over a fireplace. When we asked, she said, “We don’t ship those.”

Hmmm, we said to each other. She doesn’t seem interested at all in making the sale. Her comments and her tone of voice indicated we were clearly irritating her.

We loved the art and had she been more curious and open to our questions and understood even the most basic of sales conversations, we may have bought on the spot, instead of saying we needed to think about it and order later. I’m not inclined to buy anything at all, however, perhaps this artist just made a bad judgment in who represented him at this show.

Everyone today takes longer to make decisions. People want to carefully consider where to spend their money. You will do your customers a favor to have a conversation with them about your products and services and help them discover their own excitement about the value of what you offer. Help them see using your product or service and how it will benefit them. It may take longer to make a sale, however, you’ll both benefit in the end.

Kathy Garland specializes in turning business challenges into opportunities that result in business and personal growth. She hosts a radio show, “The Leader in You” and speaks frequently on business growth and leadership topics. For more information, visit Kathy Garland International. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.