Pattern Shift

#78 - How to Sell Your Products Without Feeling Gross

March 01, 2024 Saskia de Feijter Season 4 Episode 78
Pattern Shift
#78 - How to Sell Your Products Without Feeling Gross
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Hey lovely listeners! Today's episode is all about shifting the mindset in selling. I've got some nuggets of wisdom to share on making the whole process feel authentic and, dare I say, enjoyable! Stick around for tips, personal anecdotes, and a sprinkle of humor.

I spill the tea on transforming your approach to selling. It's not about pushing for money; it's about serving and sharing your passion. The key is understanding your audience's needs and authentically connecting with them. From dealing with nerves to choosing the right platforms, I share personal insights and practical tips. Learn from my adventures on Instagram and get a sneak peek into my upcoming Pinterest journey. Celebrate wins, big or small, and use feedback to continually refine your approach. Remember, selling isn't icky when it aligns with your values and feels like an extension of your genuine self. 

If you want to build or grow your business in textile crafts, why don't you join our online community for a small, monthly contribution of only 10 euros, which is $10 ish. You get to hang out, learn from and share your business. And your craft journey with all the lovely people there, support the podcast at the same time and you get everything wrapped into one loving package. I would love to welcome you there.

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Speaker 1:

30 minutes ago I was sobbing and now I have to record an episode to sell my program how. I just watched a Love Story series called One Day. I seriously finished it about 20 minutes ago and if you've seen it I'm not going to give away any spoilers, but you might know that if you have any emotions in your body, whether you are able to describe them or not, it is quite a switch to go from sobbing to recording a podcast episode and, funnily enough, interestingly enough, that is exactly what we're talking about today. So it's like I planned it, I did it. We are going to be talking about how do we sell when we don't feel like it? How do we sell when selling in general feels gross, icky and yuck? Hello and welcome to PatentShift.

Speaker 1:

My name is Saskia the fighter. Are you running a textile craft business or dreaming of starting one? Whether you are trying to make a living or have something extra on the side, turning from crafter to business owner can be a steep learning curve. It doesn't have to be. It's 16 plus years of experience in running small businesses in textile crafts, my marketing and communication education and a drive to build a solid alternative to fast fashion. My mission is to provide you with no bullshit oh, I was supposed to say BS. Well, I said it Actionable exercises and strategies in a language that makes sense to you, that you can implement right away so you can organize, build and grow your business. Don't burn out before you even really get started. Build a solid base with the help of PatentShift podcast and the Yavol community and its programs. So in this episode, we'll go through the following topics Mindsets and approaches to selling, viewing selling differently, understanding audiences needs, personal selling strategies and dealing with stress and uncertainty. By the end of the show, hopefully you'll be inspired to look at selling in a different way and hopefully feel that you'll be able to do it in a manner that matches your energy level, emotional level, your style and your needs, as well as the needs of your audience.

Speaker 1:

Before we start, don't forget to sign up for PatentShift updates and the Yavol Business Circle, creative business tips and insights via the show notes. Go ahead, you can do that right now and sign up while you're listening, it takes just a minute. And while you're on the website, have a look at the Business Circle program, because we're starting a few days from now. I think, yeah, when this goes live and there's still time to sign up. So if you want to do some deep work around who you are as a person, your needs as a private person and a business owner, and how to build a business around your needs and your values, basically do a really short three-month MBA, a business education that is a lot more holistic and just picking the cherries off the cake, the things that you actually really need, and look at them through the lens of your personal needs so that you feel organized and have a plan and make strategies in a way that doesn't feel icky and that is totally supporting your lifestyle and your needs. So you can still sign up, go ahead, go over to PatentShiftfm and find the information on the Business Circle program. I'd love to have you and help you out, like I've done with a bunch of other business owners that are really making changes in their business.

Speaker 1:

So now let's go into today's episode. As you just heard me explain, I'm about to launch the third cohort of the Yavul Business Circle program. The program is starting the second week of March and it's the biggest thing I do in a year, so it's a big deal. My plan is always, or always. I haven't done this very long. My plan is to launch a program cohort twice a year. I have done it three times so far and every time it's been amazing. I love working with other small business owners in our industry and it can be quite nerve-wracking, but I was able to build my business around my personal needs and boundaries that I have set so that I can live a healthy, happy lifestyle. And that means doing some work beforehand, and this is exactly what we do in the business circle, so it's definitely a circle.

Speaker 1:

It's very important to me that I can sell a thing, a program, whether that be knitting needles or a service. It's very important to me that I fully support what I sell, that I believe in it, that I believe that it makes a difference, that it can help people, and that's why I used to never sell people a certain type of needle, or I didn't sell row counters because I thought it's bullshit to sell row counters to people because there's free apps available. There's really actually no one I know that doesn't have a smartphone, so there was no point to me to sell row counters. This is the same with my services. There's no point in selling something that which I don't fully support and believe in it, and that is basically step one of how I make it possible for myself to sell in a way that feels authentic and what's the word in English? With integrity.

Speaker 1:

So I've been able to do this, to really slow down, because I am privileged that way. I have a life where I'm able to to do this and to take the time to figure things out, and so I wanted to share what I've learned with other people, and it's really it's like I don't know how many layers of circles are there. I'm learning how to run a business that's more aligned with my values, needs, purpose and boundaries, and that business is all about teaching other people how to do that. So what I'm actually, what I'm kind of doing is it feels a little bit like housekeeping. So you hire my time so I can figure things out or do things for you that you don't really have the time to do while you're running your business. Yeah, I'm sort of a housekeeper for your business I guess I don't know and that in the beginning felt really weird to sell that as a thing, but then again it was what I needed.

Speaker 1:

I felt like I needed a business coach or something, because I wasn't. I didn't have a business education. I went to art school, I did marketing, communication, cultural sciences. So I definitely have a bunch of educations, but not a business education. I worked from my from when I was 15 and I never didn't have a job. Lots of restaurants, cafes, shops, different things, lots of experience, but not really a business education. So I still would have specific questions and I definitely don't have a talent for bookkeeping, accounting, that kind of thing. It just my mind is just like fighting it, and so I needed help.

Speaker 1:

I thought I needed a business coach, but then the thought of this even when I googled for it like 250 euros an hour some kind of guy sorry guys, if you're listening, but I need to paint this picture here some kind of guy in a suit who uses words that you don't understand and you're like well, you don't know what I'm doing here. It's not about that. It's not all about numbers, you know. It's also about helping people and making this atmosphere where people can meet each other in the world, all of that. So I started to build what I needed in the past, but selling it is a different matter altogether. It feels strange to say listen, I used to run this shop and now I'll tell you, but I closed it and now I'll tell you how to do it, because I think especially local people.

Speaker 1:

I worry that they think, well, she closed it because she wasn't able to get a profit and she kind of failed and in the beginning I was worried about that, but I know the facts. I did make a profit and I just felt that the balance was off and it didn't work with my health and I needed more time and I basically had a big burnout because it was too much for me to people all day, every day, for years and I'm learning things about myself now that completely utterly explain this to me Like it would be very tiring for everybody. But I think that my mind is made up in a way that it was never gonna be great. I mean, it was great, but it was just so exhausting for me. So now I am in my home, I work when I decide, which is great because I like being the boss, and I do the things whenever I can and I have built systems and planning around what I need. So that works for me and I truly, utterly believe that even if you are in a shop, you can learn from the things that I've taken the time to learn about and to try and to figure out what are the most important things and what is bullshit.

Speaker 1:

One of the biggest things when we talk about selling is what I hear business owners say a lot it's gross, it feels icky, I don't want to sell, sell, sell the whole time, and I get that. But at the same time let's look at what we think selling is and try to change our mindset a little. I talk a lot about this topic because it's near and dear to my heart and I think we should move away from that kind of a shame feeling In our industry. If you're working in needle craft, textile craft, slow fashion, whatever you want to call it, even just general creative businesses, you are often so close to your customer that selling that is one of the problems why it feels so icky, because you feel like you're pushing something towards somebody that kind of feels like a friend or they're so close to you. It's not me and them, it's us, and that's what makes it feel so icky. But we are running businesses or we are thinking about running businesses, but you are running a business or you are thinking about running a business and that's what a business is like.

Speaker 1:

It is offering products or services in exchange for another type of energy, which is usually money. Could be something else, but usually it's money. And what has helped me more than anything is the thought of thinking about selling more like sharing. So you have either knowledge or a product or a service and you want to share it with the world. What if you're super good at something? What if you know that you can help people and you don't want to share? That is icky, that is weird, that is gross. Why not Share? You know things, share it with the world and then ask for something in return. So if you look at selling and think sharing, that will really help you to shift that idea a little bit.

Speaker 1:

Another thing that is really really helpful is to know that there is a certain audience out there, a certain client that needs your product or service, and you might think let's take the example of a yarn shop. You might think, well, everybody can buy the yarn, it's for everybody. I don't want to exclude anyone, and you won't. You are unique and the reason why you do things is unique. Your customer will therefore be a unique person as well. They will gravitate towards you because they recognize something in you because they like you, they know you, they trust you. That's the no-like and trust factor Business experts talk about a lot. That's where you want to go. You want that audience to be able to find you. So if you focus on how you are different from the next yarn shop, that will make you stand out. And if you then know how to use that in your selling and in your communication, and if you know how to use your uniqueness in your communication, in your selling, then you will find that person, that client and I'm talking singular for a reason. I'll get to that. Hopefully, if I don't forget, they will find you and they'll gravitate towards you and they'll connect to you and they'll buy from you over time when you build on that relationship, when you build on that relation Sometimes.

Speaker 1:

I just want to leave this stuff in here because I think it's funny. Where was I? Yes, I'm talking singular because it's something we've talked about in the previous episodes, where we talk about who your client is and how you are unique and how your client is unique. So I'm always talking singular, as now I'm talking to you. I'm not talking to you all, I'm talking to you. Hopefully there's more than one person listening, but I'm communicating to the person I have in mind. That is my client, my type of person, because that's who I want to work with, that's who I feel comfortable with and that makes it easier for me to communicate as me, because I know that this customer will accept me for who I am.

Speaker 1:

And that sounds really. I know how that sounds. It sounds like I don't think very highly of myself. I do, I kick bloody ass. But it's important to feel comfortable in having a picture of somebody that's friendly. That's not necessarily your friend, but friendly makes a difference in selling to them. And then coming back to the sharing, if you know who this person is, if you know what their problems are like problems, I use that carefully if you know what their needs are, then it makes it a lot easier to talk to them about it. When you think I've got something to share, I like you, you're a cool person, you're nice. I have something that I want to share with you and I'd love it if you would take me up on it. And if not, fine, that's good, that's great. I'll see you next time, or maybe not.

Speaker 1:

Some people are just not your people, and that's good as well, because there's other businesses, and I hope you think that the other businesses are entitled to good business and selling as well. If they're not a match for you, you just kind of usher them the other way, and that's great. There is a lot of people that need a lot of services and a lot of stuff. Still, they want to make their own clothes and they don't want to do the fast fashion thing, and so you need to be there to help them with either the products that you sell or the services that you have, so you can, for example, teach them how to do it. All right. So then, knowing this, knowing that when you can be yourself and when you can attend to your needs, that means that you feel good, that you feel energized not every day, but you know like you feel generally good about what you do. You feel good about the things that you sell. You are not selling crap to people, because that's not who you are.

Speaker 1:

Then finding the people that need what you want to share is the next thing, and then turning this into a conversation with your audience is where you go a little bit deeper. So it's very, very important to get the conversation going. So, let's say, your customers are new parents and you are a sewing instructor. What are the best times to get onto their radar? If you want to teach them, how will you teach them? Is it live in your house, in your studio? Probably not, because they have complex time schedules with babies and stuff and small kids.

Speaker 1:

So, instead of giving live lessons for this particular group of people, it's probably nice to have pre-recorded lessons that they can watch whenever they like and have office hours online at regular intervals so that they can sometimes drop in and ask a quick question. That's talking about how you set up the lessons, but it's the same thing for communicating with them. What are the social media platforms that they're on a lot? Are they even engaging with what you do at all? Or do you kind of need to find them through other businesses, through local baby soap manufacturers? I don't know. I'm just thinking of different things here. So the point is that meeting them where they are at, but coming from where you are at, what can you do If you are not the type to do live launches, like a lot of online service-based businesses do?

Speaker 1:

I'm holding up my hand now. I definitely am not that person. I thought I was. I was going to be. I was looking into it, I was taking courses around that whole vibe and I thought, no, that's not me. I would be so nervous it wouldn't be helpful for me at all. I'm confident and I am confident about my ability to teach, my ability to research topics and my experience level. I am more than proud of the program that I've built, but I don't see myself doing this whole.

Speaker 1:

What is it? A webinar for people that you've never seen? And there's probably one way that I would be able to do it is that kind of webinar where you don't see people's faces and you just see the chats. And I would just move the chat away and imagine talking to one person, but I would be so nervous the whole time. Nerves are not bad. I mean, nerves are okay. That's not the thing. I just wouldn't feel good about it for a long, long time going up to the event, and that's not how I want to work.

Speaker 1:

So I decided I'm doing it differently. What am I actually good at? What do I like doing and where can I meet people and where can they meet me in a space that feels good for both of us? And so for me, that is writing, and I spent quite some hours on this whole email sequence that I send out. I start selling about a month before the program starts and of course, I'll mention it throughout the year. But the active selling like this is what I have. If you want it, go here. This is what it costs, this is what we do. You will be so happy. You decided to do this and I mean it, you will.

Speaker 1:

I do that about a month before I start with the program and the email sequence that I wrote. I thought of it as a magazine and I'm giving people one page every day and I also talk about it like that. I say in the beginning of that sequence I say there's a bunch of emails coming up about this program. This is about selling it and I'll be as transparent as I can be and there's no reason why I can be fully transparent. I am. I even say I have an early bird price which could be considered as non ethical selling. But the reason that I do that is because I have to have an idea of the interest before I really start preparing. I need that. I need to know if anybody's coming so I have enough time before I really get going. So that's another thing I implemented to make it easier for myself to sell. It also means that if I am not doing this webinar because a webinar needs to, you need to sell the webinar as well. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, what online business owners do a lot of the time is they give people a free workshop, or a webinar, as they call it, a lot of the time, but nowadays they're starting to use other words for it and at the end, for the people that are there live, they'll get a discount to the full price or something. I don't think that's an ethical. It's just not my thing.

Speaker 1:

So I'm trying to find ways that work for me, which is writing and I'm doing over the course of I think it's going to be multiple years, but I'm doing different experiments on different social media platforms. So now I'm on Instagram and I do a lot of selling on my stories and every now and then I do a reel. I don't plan to do a reel, for some reason. I just post them and I'm like, oh, this was supposed to be a story and I'll just leave them. They don't even look like a reel. They're definitely just one picture with some information and they're not reels, but you know you make a mistake and you run with it. So that's what I do now and it feels good.

Speaker 1:

And my next experiment and my next experiment that's hard Do it again. And my next experiment will be Pinterest. I will be focusing on Pinterest and this might be my thing, because Pinterest is a search engine and it doesn't have that whole like don't like followers. It doesn't have that whole vibe that Instagram can have. I'm going to spend more time there. So and that is another thing you only have so much time to do things, so I won't be able to do everything perfectly I don't like perfect anyway but I have to choose.

Speaker 1:

So for this business circle program launching period, I'm focusing on Instagram. The next one will be Pinterest, and while I focus on that in that period of time, I will make notes, I will learn, and the next time around I can just pick the cherries like this worked, this worked, this didn't work. I don't need to spend this much time. I can just do this. I can just set up this and I mean, yes, it takes a little bit more time, but I will do it in a way that feels good to me, that doesn't stress me out, that is aligned with who I am and what I feel like at that moment, how much energy I have, because I treat it like a toolbox and some tools are just not for me. Yeah, I'm not much into chainsaw, so don't give me a chainsaw. But I love high pressure, water, cleaner stuff, like I love it. So, yeah, I just pick the tools that I like and I'll high pressure the shit out of the launch water pressure. I just won't chainsaw it. If you know what I mean and I think you can do the same. All that you need is to be in an environment where you really take the time to think this through and do it in steps.

Speaker 1:

And here I go again, because this is also part of the selling. I use my podcast to sell my program. I don't have any sponsors, because I tried and I thought I wanted the webinar, but it doesn't fit with me, it's not my thing and it's just too much clutter. It's not my thing. So I'm using this podcast to sell my product and that's how I do it, and I will mention whatever I have on offer throughout the year, but I'll just dial in on it a little bit more in the months coming up to my program. So, when I do have to record a podcast episode which is today, because I'm going to have a crazy busy week and I need to do it today and I just solved my eyes out when I watched that series and I still have to go into recording an episode.

Speaker 1:

So what do you do when you don't feel like it and when you really do have to do something? Well, what helps for me is to listen to somebody else that is selling or teaching in a tone of voice that matches what I want to sound like. That is something I do anyways. I kind of mimic how people talk not on purpose, it happens, and this could be used to my advantage. So I'll listen to somebody who has a podcast or is. I have a bunch of courses online and some people have this really fun upbeat manner of speaking and I'll just listen to them for a while to get into the mood. Like some people use music to get into the mood, some people do a little dance. Let's not do that. Well, perhaps, if it helps yeah, that went a little bit too far. So, yeah, I took a shower, I did my makeup.

Speaker 1:

I mean, I've been recording my episodes with the intention of maybe turning them into YouTube videos. I don't know. This is another thing. I try, I think I want to and I just figure it out. I think it would be good if I recorded my podcast episodes and showed them on YouTube, YouTube, youtube. That would be good because that's another platform and I already have the podcast on YouTube as sound files. But I just think it would be good.

Speaker 1:

But I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it every time. I'm not sure if I can handle the extra work that comes with that or want to. I'm not sure if I want to be looking at my face every time that I'm recording, because actually I get distracted by myself. So I guess I could turn off the camera, but then I don't know what I look like. So that's also kind of a weird thing. So that's what I'm trying. It's a trial. I've been recording for I don't know seven, five episodes now, and I've shared some shorts, I think one or two on YouTube, on Pinterest, and the idea is like the general idea is to work from one piece of content and then use it on different platforms so that you just focus on that one moment. And I like talking, I can talk. It's a little bit chaotic sometimes, but that's okay because I know you are listening and you are the kind of person that doesn't mind Otherwise you wouldn't be listening so that all feels safe to me. But I don't know. Youtube is another thing, so I'm trying it out and I'll see how it fits, and perhaps I will share my videos on YouTube and perhaps I won't, so that would be my.

Speaker 1:

The thing that I want to give to you in this moment is try on for size. What things do you like doing? How do you feel good? And if you're not feeling your best self, what are some of the things you can do to get into a good enough vibe to do it? Will you use another tool? Will you put on some music? Will you just be lipstick? You know it could be anything. When I sit down to record an episode, I've showered, I've put on makeup, maybe not brush my hair now, but you know that's just the look and I make sure that I wear my nice earrings and it just helps with the vibe. Even though you might never see this video, it's fine.

Speaker 1:

I do this for me, so that I feel good about it, and if I feel good, I feel great about selling, because I'm not really selling. I'm sharing how I can be of help. And if you need my help, you will hopefully pick up on that and you will think well, this person, this person, she knows what she's talking about and she sounds like she's my kind of person, so let's just let's sign up for her newsletter and keep her in the back of my mind. And that is what you can do right now. Just go to the show notes and sign up for a newsletter so you can keep me in the back of your mind and every time I come back into your news in your email box you'll go oh yeah, she's cool. She's cool that program. That might be a thing for me. Let's keep an eye out on that one. So, yeah, if you're stressed out and if things are challenging, there is still ways that you can show up and that you can sell your products or your service in a way that doesn't make you feel gross or icky. There's just some work that you need to do before that happens, so you know what kind of tools, what kind of platforms are the best spaces and places for you. And another thing when you then sell something, celebrate it, feel great about it. Sometimes it's not as much as you would have hoped. Sometimes you don't reach your goals, that's okay. I mean, things change and sometimes it takes a little bit longer, but every win is a win and should be celebrated.

Speaker 1:

I have been so nervous about the last two business circle cohorts. What if nobody wants to buy this? What would I do? Those are the questions that I go to bed with and I wake up with and I've learned to think about it differently. If there's nobody taking this program, if there's nobody in this cohort, well, that gives me a lot of time to figure out what are some more tools and platforms that I can use and how could I make something else more professional so I can connect with these people better. What I've also done and this is back to communicating with your audience is when I finish that email sequence, I send people a survey and you'll think why would they ever answer the survey? Because this sequence is like 13 emails in 12 days and you'll be interested to hear that it has an amazing open rates. And send it two times now and they both were over 80% open rate, which is great for that kind of a sales sequence. That was amazing. And then I'm curious well, if you didn't buy, why didn't you buy? Tell me about it so I can make things different next time, or I can change things around, and last time I was so glad that I asked people because they were saying the price is right.

Speaker 1:

I completely want to do this. I love what you're offering, but I have been rebuilding my website, so that's where my budget went, or I'm saving up for it. I'm not quite there yet and that is amazing to know for me, because I just want to know if people want it and need it, and if it's not now, then another time, and I'll just keep giving them information in the newsletters and in the podcast until they are ready. So, yeah, that is all the different things that I use or think about when I'm selling to tell myself that it's not gross. So I'm not that webinar person that's talking about six digits and 60 rows and all that kind of thing. That is just not me.

Speaker 1:

I can tell you that I've helped people to make their business better. That is what I can claim in different ways. For some people, it was the program, the planning. For other people, it's the organizing, it's knowing things about their audience, their branding, their communication, their selling. All of that. It's different for different people, but if you're my kind of person, then we'll make things happen together. I can help you on a more holistic level, but then again, it's also quite practical. I mean, there's exercises and there's things to do and by the end of it your website might look different. You might actually send out your emails on a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly basis, but you'll have a plan there and a strategy. So if you feel like you are ready to do that, you have time to sign up for the Aval Business Circle. I hope you will, because I can't wait to work with you.

Speaker 1:

Let's go back and summarize what we've been talking about, because, oh my gosh, I can get places and there's always a summary and there's always a written version of what I talk about. That is the show notes for this episode, so never you worry. So we talked about the different mindset we can embrace for our selling. We serve and we share. Maybe not Think about selling in the way of I need your money, I need your money, but you help people, you serve, you share, knowing what your audience's needs are and then catering to that so important, because if you can be yourself and you can find your audience, then that takes away a lot of the ickiness around selling, because you know what they need and you know that you can help them.

Speaker 1:

And then I talked a bunch about how I deal with different things, with nerves around selling, with whether or not I sell enough, how I decide to use what kind of tools and platforms to sell and when I do it, and that I use this platform my podcast to sell to you and decide not to have any sponsors or other advertisements, and I hope you appreciate that. So let me know everything that you want to share with me. After listening to this episode, I'd love to hear from you and answer your questions. Good luck with selling, and I hope this helped to give you a little bit of a different mindset around selling, and let me know how that goes.

Speaker 1:

If you appreciate the free content and the work I put into this podcast, consider showing your support in a way that feels right to you. This could be by sharing episodes with friends, signing up for the newsletters or making a small monthly contribution through clicking the support the show link in the show notes or when you're listening through Apple podcast. There's also a subscription button there and you will get monthly bonus episodes. You'll find all the details in the show notes. Thank you for being a part of this movement. Until next time, and remember every stitch counts as we work together and create a pattern shift for you, your business, the crafters and the fashion industry.

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