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Why Stories Matters for Makers

In every Maker’s journey, there comes a time when something funny, inspiring, or unexpected happens. What I didn’t expect as I was sharing about my days selling my handmade beer and wine soap, is how telling my stories impacted my sales in such a soaring manner at markets and in-person events.

The first narrative that I learned to master was one bit for each product. These tales were based on why I created the product, why this piece is important to that special customer it was created for, and even that one time I was out of stock and that one very special customer was so mad at me she stormed off raging. We all have those blessings of shoppers so we might as well use them to our advantage!

Not only do these tales help you come up with something to talk to your customer about, but they validate what your personal perspective by saying someone else feels the same way. They don’t have to be long or in-depth. The point is to make something about your product memorable. You better believe people take notice when I mention customers getting so mad that I didn’t have a popular soap in stock that they cursed me out and stormed off! They then promptly purchased that soap because they become scared it would run out.

There are certain questions Makers need to be prepared to answer with an engaging message. This is the second story I learned to tell. The question I get asked the most is how I got started with my business. For the first few years this made me very uncomfortable. I wasn’t ready to speak about how and why I got started, brain surgery isn’t an easy topic to discuss and it usually shocks people. Eventually, a coach encouraged me to open up about how I discovered my craft and be honest with my customers. When you look at it from a truth perspective, I really was telling them a falsehood when I wasn’t giving my shoppers the whole story. So, I let it go. I owned up to my past and realized that it was what made part of my company so unique. I began sharing how I was stuck at home post-brain surgery and bored. I feared what I was putting on and in my body was doing more harm than good so I decided to control it. Thus, my business was born – but not out of a need or want that shoppers are used to hearing making it very engaging for them.

 

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As my customers learn about me as a business owner who started her business from odd circumstances, connections are made. The shoppers bond with me as a human being and not as someone who is just trying to sell them something else. There is a relationship developing and they remember that. When they see me, they genuinely want to know how I am. Since I’ve started sharing my story, I’ve connected with others who have the same condition who now support my business. It wasn’t easy for me and I must face my fear daily, but by acknowledging it and moving past it I’ve been able to increase my sales just by being me.

These stories are doing something that most people hate in the Maker word: SALES. The bits and pieces we share with our shoppers are doing the selling for us while being genuine. It removes us from the high-pressure selling that we have placed on our shoulders and replaces it with the calm and relaxing sharing of personal experiences that click with our buyers. It makes the sale the opposite of pushy and turns you into a memorable maker that they want to continue to get to know. Customers will keep coming back because they want to know how something turned out, how that new project is going, or to hear about your new pieces of inspiration.

Not everyone has such a unique story about how their business started but they do have history that no one else has. Share your story. Tell people why you are you – within reason of course. Keep things positive and on brand. Allow people to connect with what makes you as a Maker tick. As you master the bit about each product and your story, your confidence as a Maker will rise and your sales will grow right along with it.