Selling is marketing. Accept this. You will have to talk to others and you will have to convince them you know what you are talking about. Realize this now, take a deep breath, and don't give up. Start by facing your fears. Grab a sheet of paper and write down the three worst things that could happen if you called a potential customer to offer them your wares. Done? I am willing to bet that they all boil down to one word- no. No, I'm not interested. No, they aren't are style. No, they aren't the quality we prefer. No, no, no.
Yet notice, they are not saying, No, you're not good enough. All a no means is this is not the right customer, at this time. Each no brings you closer to a yes. Each no gives you hints on how to make it better next time. Each no means you were brave enough to put yourself in the position to train for those future yeses. How can something that holds so much promise be bad? (Ok, no one likes a no. Not to sound like a Pollyanna, but everything above is still true.) In our heads, the word 'no' becomes a monster. It makes nervousness at approaching a shop turn into a fate worse than death. Once you break down this irrational fear, and remember 'no' is the worst that awaits you, it becomes much easier.
Next, take power over 'no'. If someone says no, ask them if they can recommend another venue for your wares. If they say 'no' and are rude, go ahead and mumble epithets about their questionable parentage- to yourself once you are home and no one can hear. Then, call another shop, apply to another show, keep trying. Don't give your fear the time it needs to grow.Stores need artist like you or they have nothing to sell. Each time you visit a new shop to offer them your items you are doing them a favor, not the other way around.
Finally, get yourself a cheerleader. Join or start a networking group. If you are shy, steer clear of the hardcore business groups. Start small with a few like minded people that you have more than just business in common with. Meetup.com is a great place to find a group, or you can start your own for a small monthly fee. Also, friends and family members can be your cheerleader. Just avoid the ones who feed into your fears ("that's just awful! I don't know how you put yourself through that!"), throw you pity parties ("you poor thing. Go ahead and cry. <
In Part IV on Tuesday, we will tackle business plans!