I did it again! I sang like a bird! It’s been almost a decade. I’m learning. It took me years to understand, and I’m still quite not there, but I’m close.
I’m talking about giving away your heart and soul, your ideas, and what your philosophy is to a potential customer who inquires about your work, and then for them to simply say thank you and walk away. This has happened hundreds and hundreds of times to me. If you are doing this (I’m speaking to me first!), STOP IT.
You work hard, and your ideas are valuable. Why on earth would you give them all away? In the beginning, when I would go to trade shows and meet customers, I would spend a very long time with each customer, engaging in all kinds of conversations revolving around the work I was doing, and they were doing, and all of life in between. I meant so well, that’s why I did it. My intentions were and even now, are sincere, and so I gave each customer so much time. I’ve even had customers literally wait on me to finish while I was busy speaking with the customer that came prior.
Here however, lies the issue. Ever notice big artists or entrepreneurs give succinct answers, even short cryptic answers sometimes that create so much mystery? You would think they aren’t really saying much, but to the one who they are speaking to, it essentially creates a magnetic wanting effect. The listeners want to know more. I’m not really sure if artists and entrepreneurs do this on purpose to create an aura, or if it is strategic, but what I’m trying to tell you is this is absolutely about being strategic. You got to be. Why wouldn’t you? This is your time. I’ve had arguments with my team about this even, as to how long and how much I need to give a customer. I have to say, in the end, their advice was pretty much correct. But it took years to sink in. Do not make the same mistake.
…what I’m trying to tell you is this is absolutely about being strategic
Five things I have learned that sums up 10 years in the field:
1. Give away one or two things that are valuable. It could be an idea, a page or two from your book (do not flip through the whole thing!), or a quick demonstration. And that’s it. Nothing more.
2. Your interaction should have a time limit. I mean it!. Generally, the less you speak, the more the intrigue. The more you speak, the less the intrigue.
3. But it’s not just about your time. It’s about respect. Self-respect. Your time is valuable. Your ideas are valuable. You need to be aware of what you say, and you must be poetic about your words and time. Do NOT give it all away, even if people mean well.
4. There is sales, and everything else.
5. No sales is still an opportunity. If there isn’t a sale, offer to keep in touch with them. Get their card and contact. Offer yours. Make it a win-win.
I have to say this again: Do NOT sing like a bird. Do not give away all your ideas. Give value but keep it brief. Create those boundaries around yourself so the customer understands you are a professional. Birds are cool, but don’t sing like one 🙂 At least not in this way.
I am a writer, picture book author, filmmaker and artist. I am a Creative Consultant and coach. Have ideas to bounce off? Book a free strategy session and let’s discuss your project.