Wednesday, November 24, 2010

To Sale or Not To Sale...That is the Question

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving and all through the house, not a creature was stirring...Woops, wrong holiday, but seriously the day has been eerily quiet here except for a man calling my house asking if I could make his wife some earrings out of a pair of teeth from an Elk he bagged himself.

I must be on some business listing because this isn't the first call like this I've received although most of them are looking for ring-resizing and that kind of commercial thing. I don't normally have customers come to the house and I'm limited in transportation so don't generally meet them in other places just to "talk" about placing a custom order because each trip out costs me money, and as this particular fellow seemed very nervous about how the roots of these teeth would be cut off, so I was really afraid to attempt it. I suggested leaving the roots on and just doing some beadweaving around them, but he said his wife was a small woman and probably wouldn't wear something so big. He really wanted earrings made rather than a necklace, and the roots were long. I can imagine so, but never actually having seen an Elk's tooth I don't fully know what they look like.

I offered to have him upload pictures on Etsy but he said he was no good at that kind of thing, and that these teeth were "like hair; when it's cut there's no putting it back on". He ended up telling me he'd do some thinking and get back to me next week, left me his name, and wished me a Happy Thanksgiving.

Perhaps he is not my customer. If he is he will come back and put in the custom order through Etsy.

I've been giving some thought to a Black Friday and Cyber Monday special of some kind but am having trouble getting in the mood for a number of reasons; sales have not really worked for me in the past and on Etsy there's no easy way to put some specific things on sale. Also, I keep thinking about what Suze Orman says about not putting yourself on sale;

"Don't treat yourself like you're on sale. If you're reluctant to put a real value on what you do, then it diminishes who you are". As Suze explains, women tend to devalue what they do.

This creates a vicious cycle: "When you devalue what you do, it becomes inevitable that you -- and those around you -- devalue who you are." Women will settle for less. They may offer discounted prices on their services or accept a smaller raise, even when the company is doing well. They have to ask for what they know is "right."

Suze says, "Remember to muster up your courage and silence your fear ... keep your eye on the goal, on what you really want to accomplish, no matter what anyone says or does to deter you. Just keep moving forward."


It is a weighty question to ask yourself just how much and which kinds of specials one can offer without diminishing the perceived value of the product you are offering, and I don't know if there is any hard and fast answer.

One thing I believe I have figured out is that having a discount doesn't create demand. It merely makes those products a little more accessible to those who already want them.

If someone goes to the grocery store and wants corn on the cob and broccoli is on sale, chances are they won't buy it for the price because if they leave the store with a bunch of broccoli the problem of their wanting corn on the cob still remains. This leaves the customer in the position that they must spend yet more money than if they'd just left the discounted broccoli alone and spent a little more for the one item they really wanted.

This is why it is so important when devising specials to do them sparingly and in a targeted way so that they will result in substantial enough purchases!


Felicity said...

I agree with you about sales. I perceive sales as something that apply to big box stores and shopping malls. I think handmade artists are cheating themselves when they do sales and it also makes me perceive their product as "cheap."

asdesigns said...

Great post!! Something to definitely remember

galla15 said...

I don't think a sale is a bad thing. Or undervaluing work. For me, I price for wholesale and bulk deals. So I am still get the value I need and expect from my work with a small sale. And it gives the customer the perception of getting a deal but I still get what I need/wanted. I personally see nothing wrong with a sale, if it means it will draw the eye of my target market to my shop and I still get what I need then it is worth it. But that is only my opinion. There is nothing wrong with not seeing the value in a sale. But because someone is having a sale doesn't mean their product is "cheap" or they have undervalued themselves :))
Just my thoughts