One of the hardest roles for me is to be a salesman. I am not particularly extroverted or like blowing my own trumpet so I have found selling to be quite a difficult task when I’ve been asked to do it in the past.
However, it does help when you truly believe in what you’re selling. And since Hatsukoi was my own invention and had been an ambition for a long time, I really do!
Confidence is Key
Convincing people to buy what you’ve got is a skill that comes naturally to some but unfortunately I’m not one of them. I will never be able to do a hard sell for anything but I can develop my own approach based on my enthusiasm for the things I sell and my knowledge about where they come from.
A good place to start is showing off the features of each product and taking good photographs so that people know what they’re getting. I always try to write friendly and interesting descriptions, giving some additional information about the design and its meaning, as well as giving accurate details about what the product is so that people get a feel for it and can imagine it in their own home.
Since I only sell online and there is no physical outlet for my goods, it’s very important for people to have a good understanding before they can commit to buying anything.
To be a good sales person you have to be confident in the things you are selling and, since I personally pick everything I stock with great care, I think I can be. I hope that comes across in my social media posts and the descriptions I write on the website to tell people about the quality of the materials, the philosophy behind the designs and their usefulness in daily life.
A Thorough Approach
I also need to have a degree of thoroughness in my thinking and communication. The things I sell often have many uses around the home and I have to have the imagination to understand what my audience might want and need.
Unless I communicate how to use the products, some people may not really understand what they’re for especially traditional Japanese items such as tenugui or Japanese teacups.
I need to research the items I buy, which isn’t always easy when most of the text about them has to go through Google Translate first. Someone may come up with a question that I don’t readily know the answer to, such as whether a bowl is safe to put in the microwave. I try to think of all these questions before I list an item for sale but if something comes up that I didn’t think of, I may need to go back to the manufacturer to find out.
Being an Influencer
I have a lot of knowledge and enthusiasm about my products and I want that to be infectious and influence others. I want them to understand why I love these Japanese items and make them feel that they would like to try them too.
Building a following for an online business isn’t easy and I have learnt that you have to be resilient, if things don’t go well at first keep going. I know that the things I stock have quality and appeal but finding that market takes time and effort.
Using social media is key and I'll be covering that in my next blog!