I do my share of venting (whining), but I also like to celebrate the stuff I’m excited about. Here is what is jazzing me up this Friday morning.
1. After slogging through a few weeks of sickness, everyone is finally healthy again. The runny noses are (almost) gone. I was the last to get the awful cold from hell, and I think I am almost over it (even though the cough remains). Yay for good health! (Even if it only lasts a week.)
2. I’ll be talking about Sew Retro next week at the 9th Annual Books & Brunch event here in Cincinnati, put on by the Cincinnati Assistance League, an organization that raises money for causes that are dear to me, like underprivileged kids and domestic violence survivors. It’s Thursday, April 28th at 10 a.m. (you can still sign up!). Sew Retro will be for sale (thanks to The Bookshelf bookstore) and I'll be signing copies. I’m so honored to be in the company of three other inspiring authors, including Sharon Draper. 3. Speaking of awesome events, my business coach is organizing a virtual retreat next week (you participate live for FREE, or can get the audios and listen at your convenience) called Rewire Your Wealth. She’s got all kinds of amazing experts to guide you through realizing your entrepreneurial dreams. If you are an entrepreneur, or want to be an entrepreneur (that includes you, fabulous Etsy shop owners), definitely check it out! 4. I’ve got my eye on a couple of new books. First is Signature Styles: 20 Stitchers Craft Their Look, which I read about on Bari J’s blog (she's one of the stitchers featured.) Doesn't this cover look delicious? The other is Growing Up Sew Liberated: Making Handmade Clothes and Projects for Your Creative Child, from Meg McElwee (due out in June). If you haven't been following Meg's story of her second child (just born a few months ago with a heart defect), you definitely should. It's a wonderful (and uplifting) story, and I'm so happy that little Lachlan is doing so well. Let me just pause for a minute to say that not even a craft book industry in crazy flux can keep a crafter down. Yes, the publishing industry pretty much stinks right now as the future of what publishing will look like confounds almost everyone, and sure advances are pitiful (unless you are a celeb), and yes, most of the promotional responsibility falls on the author. But it doesn’t matter. We soldier on and publish these beautiful, beautiful books anyway!5. I got a gorgeous stack of fabrics in the mail yesterday for a project I’m doing for Quilts & More magazine. Granted, I’m only using a few of the pieces, but just seeing them all spread out on my work table makes me feel giddy. It’s that great moment before you decide on your fabrics and you let yourself just play with the possibilities.
6. The Springfield Antique Show & Flea Market is only a month away! This is the best show for awesome vintage finds (including vintage fabric and textiles) in this part of the country. It’s been written up in Country Living and Martha Stewart Living. Just get yourself there!
7. Today is the day I am cleaning my office (also my sewing space). It is bad. I mean bad. This picture doesn't even do justice to its current state of badness (that's because mostly it was taken so Max could show off the new haircut he had to come upstairs to tell me about). The last time I really cleaned this room where I spend 8 (or more) hours every weekday (and some weekends) was . . . um, before Georgia was born? Seriously.
8. I’m lining up the next batch of Q&A/giveaways. I hope to do some great ones this summer, so stay tuned!
Oh, and have a lovely Easter!
If you’re like me, you cringe a bit when trying to do a hard sell on something—whether you’re trying to sell an idea to an editor or your wares at a craft show. It looks so easy on TV though, right? So on that note, I thought I’d reflect a bit on the sales lessons to be learned from some of my favorite TV shows. (Truthfully, the whole post could be just Michael Scott lessons, but I’ll just pick my favorite lesson from him.)
Strategy #1: The wine and dine approach. Order drinks and Awesome Blossoms, tell really bad jokes, and hang out at Chili’s all night. Only when you have thoroughly chatted your client up and made various personal connections should you go in for the sale.
Actual lesson: Michael Scott knows that you can’t go in for the hard sell right away. Building up a relationship with people first is a much better long-term strategy. If you remember, it’s Michael who gets the guy’s business, not Jan, who keeps trying to go for the hard sell from the first minute the meeting starts. I’m not sure where the making-out in the parking lot fits in, but let’s just set that aside for now.
Strategy #2: When client tries to convince you to take less money for something they desperately need you to do, slowly peel an orange and calmly say, “What’cha wanna do?”
The lesson: This is now one of my top five favorite 30 Rock moments! What Alec Baldwin’s character realizes is that the nanny has true leverage, and when you have true leverage, you don’t have to say very much at all.
Strategy #3: Never be the first to throw out a number. Rick on Pawn Stars has this down. He always asks the seller what they want for their wares. Always. (I’ve never seen him throw out the first number.)
The lesson: I’ve heard that in negotiating, the person who speaks first automatically loses power. I think there might also be an Office episode about this? It sort of makes sense. But I am far too much of a nervous Nelly gap-filler to make the silence strategy work for me!
Strategy #4: The power of three: House Hunters always shows home buyers three houses, and inevitably it follows this formula (not always in this order): (1) total piece of crapola, (2) a place that is way out of their budget, (3) a place that is still taxing their budget, but less than the total budget-buster so it suddenly looks like an amazing bargain.
The lesson: Give buyers options, and always include an option that is most likely out of their reach, just to make the one you’re really trying to sell look like a bargain.
Strategy #5: Make fake phone calls to people and pretend that you’ve sold your entire stock of computers to beat your childhood nemesis and win the coveted water pick.
The lesson: George Costanza knows how to do two things really well: tell the perfect lie and fake it. And sometimes the faking it route can sort of come in handy—as in, fake it till you make it. Of course, I don’t mean actually falsifying your sales! Rather, faking confidence until you actually feel confident. It works for other stuff, so maybe it can work for selling too?
Strategy #6: Be so goopy and sincere and generally in love with the idea you’re selling (a la Leslie Knope selling The Harvest Festival to the town of Pawnee) that no one can possibly say no to you.
The lesson: The energy you put out there truly does matter! So maybe you want to dial it back a few clicks from Leslie Knope, but truly believing in what you are selling is still the number one strategy in my book (and the only one that doesn’t give me the skeevies).