The Key to Success that Most Designers Fight to Avoid

keys to success, flourish & thrive, tracy matthews

When I started my first company…..

I was terrified. Sales had always come naturally in my retail job, but selling my own stuff? Forget it! I knew I had what it took, but I was freaked out about approaching clients and selling my collection of jewelry. Maybe it was the fear of “NO” or just anxiety in trying to figure out how to get the attention of buyers. I had no idea what to say during the appointment, how to take an order, or even how to describe my collection. I guess it was a combination of all of the above. Creating a collection of jewelry, like any artistic endeavor, ends up being a part of your soul. So the fear of being rejected can be inhibiting and feel like someone is tearing out your heart.

During a recent mentoring session, I was chatting with the first employee that I hired in 1999.  She was an “aspiring” jewelry designer and artist at the time and came to work for me to figure out how to run a business. She was recalling an observation she had about working with me. Her exact words were, “If I realized that all it really takes to sell my jewelry was to call a store, make an appointment and put a cute outfit on, then I probably would never have been afraid. It’s so much easier than I ever thought it was.”

The ONE thing you must do if you want to be successful is to understand that you are your best SALESPERSON!

I know what you are going to say:

“I hate selling”

“But I am shy”

“I am a creative and selling is cheesy. Clients should just come to me.”

But let me say it one more time: you are your BEST salesperson. As your business grows, it will hopefully be impossible for you to sell your collection on your own.  However, when you are small, you need to be selling YOU and that is what your clients are buying. YOU.

“Wait, but can’t I just hire/find a rep?”

Short answer: Sure you can.

Best Answer: Unless you are hiring a rep to cover territory that you can’t easily cover yourself, in the beginning you should be selling your collection on your own.

Here are MORE reasons why:

  1. You need to get in front of your buyers and get feedback from them. What IS working? What ISN’T working? The information that you will receive will help you grow as a designer and build better collections moving forward.
  2. When you personally develop a relationship with your buyers, your sales will catapult and you will create and strong community of raving fans. People like connection. When you take the time to connect, your clients will continue to buy and will be better equipped to sell your pieces to their clients. Plus, when they like you, they will want to PUSH your work.
  3. Being proactive and marketing to your dream accounts is what is going to get you in the door. Sitting on your arse and waiting for someone to come to you MIGHT work, but–more likely than not–you are just going to get a sore bum. You need to go after what you want.

Here are a few tips to help when you feel overwhelmed by the SALES part:

  1. SCHEDULE 3-10 hours a week to work on outreach. Start slow and increase your momentum as you become more confident. You can start by blocking out time on your calendar to use entirely on selling. Guaranteed, if you make it part of your weekly plan, you will have fabulous results.
  2. MAKE A LIST of dream clients. Keep track of them using a spreadsheet or some other CMS (content management system) to keep records of your interaction.
  3. CREATE A TEMPLATE for your sales emails or calls. This will take some of the pressure off of coming up with original emails or things to say if you are calling. Make sure you add personal details about your prospects into each of the emails/calls. Flattery is always the best… but avoid ass kissing.
  4. BREATHE – It always helps to calm down and release nerves. When you feel anxiety creep in, take a few moments and a few deep breaths. It is useful to take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale out your mouth, then repeat.
  5. SET SALES GOALS – When you know what you want, it’s easier to get there. You goals can be actual revenue (sales) or number of new accounts. You’ll notice a huge sense of accomplishment when you make a goal and actually reach it.
  6. CELEBRATE each time you SELL something. Happy dance, call your BFF, kiss your significant other, etc. The more you acknowledge, the more the Universe will continue to provide you with..

If sales and marketing puts you in a constant state of overwhelm, pop on over to our website- Flourish & Thrive. Robin and I are committed to helping jewelry designers become business savvy. Go here to receive more FREE Sales and Marketing tips to kick start your jewelry biz and start making money now. Just by signing up, you’ll receive lots of FREE business advice from us.

Tweet this yo: @tracymatthewsnyc from @Flourish_Thrive gets real about successfully selling your jewelry line on #OMHG

We want to hear from you, so please leave a comment below! What is your biggest fear about being your BEST salesperson? How have you overcome fear to land the sale? What has been your biggest success?  Feel free to ask any questions for us in the comments.

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  1. Victoria Atchley says:

    It is a HUGE thing to put yourself out there! Thank you both for the step by step guide to follow. It takes alot of the anxiety & fear out of it. To know if I just follow the steps, I will be OK & it will get easier with experience. I’m excited to join the Florish & Thrive community. I’ve been looking for a place of support that focuses specifically in the jewelry business.

  2. Chelsea, thanks so much for reading this. I hope the steps make the sales process a little easier for you!

    Victoria, I know…putting yourself out there is HUGE! it get’s so much easier with time and it becomes quite fun!

  3. Shannon C says:

    Great article. I am so shy so this is definitely something I need to work on. I have gained a lot of weight since having my daughter and I don’t feel confident walking into a chic store to push my work.

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