Lynn Serafinn spent 20 years selling in the open-air markets of the American southwest. She is now the founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire small business owners to market their business ethically, and serve society and planet. Below Serafinn shares what she learned about business in her career.
Know your audience
Know your customers, their preferences and their tastes. Strive to get to a point where, simply upon seeing a person approaching your stand, you can predict what they are going to ask for or know what to suggest to them. By looking at a person’s age, ethnicity, clothing and overall demeanor, you can direct them to an item you know they will be interested in purchasing. Customers nearly always fit into a definable profile, and certain profiles want certain products and are willing to spend within certain budgets.
Be friendly, even to non-buyers
Even if you do not think someone is going to buy, strike up a casual conversation and connect with them. They may end up buying something or come back and make a purchase at another time. When shoppers feel served they feel understood; and when customers feel understood, they return when they need something else.
Maintain cash flow
Entrepreneurs know that you need to spend money to make money. However, it is important to ensure a healthy cash flow in your business. If you spend money on a website, make sure you have also designed a marketing strategy that will ensure it gives you a return. If you hire help, make sure you are using the time it frees up for you to create more products or meet with more customers so you are attracting more income into your business. If you spend lots of time blogging, be sure it speaks to a definable audience, and underpins a viable business.
Trends that are huge one week can suddenly fall flat the next. Buying trends always change and you have to change with them if you want to stay in business. Good vendors learn how to be flexible.
Know when to deal and not to deal
Price haggling is more common among certain groups, while almost unheard of in others. There are no fixed rules about offering deals and discounts. Offering deals on multiple purchases is often as a tactic to get a customer to spend more than they intended to. Do not fall into this pattern simply because it is what other vendors do. Deals and discounts do not automatically result in more sales or happier customers; they can actually end up making your customers feel manipulated and cause them to question the quality of your offering. Learn the culture of your professional practice and do not be tempted to follow cookie-cutter sales strategies.
Click here to read the entire article was published on The 7 Graces Project.