There are so many moving parts to making sales to the public at large.

As I write this, I continue to put the myriad of pieces together for my new guidebook. I won’t bore you with a sales pitch. It’s really selling well and making a real difference for my artists community! However, it is all-consuming and everyday, I see another “part of the puzzle” that needs attention. As I always say, “marketing is a verb!” Do you have what it takes to make a sale anywhere and at anytime? I thought I did, but I was wrong.

It’s about having those tools in place.

I do have a basic landing page, sidebar ads, a new Facebook page and twitter account, and the guidebook is on my SquareUp online shopping site. Oh and I did start the separate Artist Only Blog posts, too. I am doing some marketing every day somewhere in some way. I know that I need to be very proactive. So do you!

I am acutely aware that I am losing sales opportunities every day as I work feverishly to get the rest of the plan completed: A newly revised live seminar, possible webinar, speaking engagements, online course, a proper and fine-tuned sales “landing page”, affiliate selling opportunities, ads in magazines and online, and probably a few things I still haven’t considered yet. (Got ideas? Put them in your comments!)

Even with the things I have in place, I was given a very clear lesson about being proactive the other day. While I was busy making online “connections” work, it was a face-to-face opportunity that slipped away.

The key pieces to maximize your opportunity of an instant in-person sale.

Think about what YOU have for sale. Whether you are offering a product or service, it really doesn’t matter. The first rule is know what it is and know exactly what to say to someone when asked, “What do you do?” You need to be ready to not only answer that base question, but also answer, “What value to you offer?”

If you fumble for words, then stop reading this and get yourself under control. You MUST sit down and develop a 30 second (maximum!) elevator speech. That means you must be able to share what you do (and what you have of value to offer) to anyone you meet. You never know when someone might need your service or product. And, by the way, they may have a friend who needs what you offer, so don’t assume they might not still be very interested in learning what you have to offer. You can always be generating a lead, right?

At the very least you need to pay attention to these items:

  1. What does this product or service “look like”? A picture is worth so much more than a thousand words in today’s world. What can you pull up on your phone to instantly create more interest? What can you “show” to bring more details or even actual examples. Do you own a store? What’s the entrance and interior look like? Do you have a landscaping business? Show off a perfect yard. If you own a restaurant, show them the menu and pics of your food!
  2. Do you have a way to follow-up? You are building a connection with this person, therefore, having a way to capture their email address is critical. If they really like what they are seeing or hearing, they will buy someday IF you can keep them in your world. Emails are the ONLY way to do this effectively.
  3. Can you charge a credit card? Did you actually move them to a YES? Are they ready to sign on the dotted line? You must have a way to take money instantly! You should have your SquareUp card reader handy at all times – or whatever you use, just have it ready to go. When someone is excited to give you money, you need to take it now. Later might be never for any number of reasons.

I missed a sale!

And now my follow-up email is 48 hours old. I worry that the “thrill is gone”. This is what transpired:

  • I met an artist and told her about my services in my normal short and sweet elevator speech and she LIT UP! (My elevator speech is awesome!) Turns out she was just starting her art career, barely had a website, barely had any art created, and was just starting to apply for exhibits and art fairs.
  • I instantly started sharing the news of my new guidebook and she was keenly interested.
  • However, I didn’t have even a sample of the guidebook or even a picture of it on my phone. Yikes!
  • As I continued describing my guidebook (should have at least a sample!) she said she wanted it, but I didn’t have my card swiper, so I took her email and got permission to put her on my email list and to send her a link to buy the guidebook. (To be fair on myself, she was on her way to the beach from her room, so she didn’t have her credit card with her, but I am sure she would have gone and retrieved it had I been more “with it”.)
  • I sent her an email (she was traveling home that day from Maui to the Mainland) within 24 hours with everything she needed to purchase and that was 48 hours ago. Nearly three days have have passed since we were together.

I won’t give up right away. I will email her again today. She was on vacation for 8 days, so I will assume she is busy with the post-holiday chores. But if I did lose this sale, I didn’t simply lose a (very) irrelevant amount of income. It’s not really about the money: I lost my ability to get this terrific resource in the hands of someone who will truly benefit. I lost my opportunity to help a new artist move their business forward.

All is not lost IF you can gain from these “Lessons”:

Here’s what she hopefully gained. She was missing pretty much ALL the needed elements, but as someone very new to selling her own work, she got a pass from me. However she did get a stern finger-wagging set of instructions (artist centric advice is next, but applies everywhere to everything):

  1. Put photos on your phone of every thing you have that is for sale. Use professional quality photos only. Be ready to email any of them directly to this interested party. If you can swing it, have a tablet/iPad with you so you can really show off!
  2. If they are still interested, you must have a website ready to share, too. Hand over your device and let them see you are the “Real Deal” business person, not a “starving artist”. Encourage them to look at what is for sale on your site or on your shopping cart site.
  3. Carry a business card EVERYWHERE you go. (Of course, I gave her a pass since she was on her way to the beach! 😉
  4. Be ready to tell every single person you meet what you “do”. Be ready to tell your “story” at the drop of a hat. What is exciting about your art and what do you offer. What do you have available for purchasing right now?
  5. Have a method ready to take money!
  6. Have a simple way to gather their contact information no matter what else you do! Nuff Said!

Don’t ignore this advice

Whatever you are doing, it’s probably not nearly as important as getting your marketing materials and tools in tip-top ready to use shape. Getting all these elements up and running in the background will take time. I have been at the Guidebook current marketing plan for a while. But as I said in the beginning, “marketing is a verb”. Selling is a verb on steroids. The tasks are time-consuming, but the return on our investment is there.

If some of the tasks seem out of your comfort zone, then get help. Don’t let lack of knowledge stand in the way. Get the knowledge or hire someone like me who can guide you or even format your materials for you. Send me an example of your elevator speech. I will give you my feedback!

Above all be ready. You could be making someones life better, more fulfilled, or easier with your service or product. Be ready to share so they can benefit by making a purchase they will never regret.