Sunday, August 23, 2009

Competition




My prior post touched on this a little bit. If you're in business and someone realizes that you're doing good, you will have copy cats. It takes ten minutes tops of opening up shop for someone to come in and think "that's a good idea, but instead of buying it, I'll go home and make it myself." It's frustrating of course. You put the effort into the idea, and someone else is just going to copy it. Or maybe they buy one to take it home and copy it and sell it too. Either way, no fun. But there's nothing you can do about it. I suggest remaining friendly to those types of customers, and realize that theirs won't turn out anywhere near as good as yours. You have much more practice and knowledge. I always have a mental chuckle when people see my hand painted incense bottles and say that they're going to make one themselves instead of buying mine. Yes, sometimes people are rude enough to even tell you outright. It's even funnier when they ask for directions on how to do it. LOL. "Trade Secret" is the phrase to use. Another very infuriating question that I sometimes get from people is "who is your supplier?" Are they serious? I never tell those kinds of things. It's possible to find out. But if they're asking me outright, they most likely don't have the sense to do the research. I'm usually too flabbergasted by the question to have any sort of good comeback. I'm still trying to decide if it's better to make a joke of it with someting along the lines of, "if I tell you, I'll have to kill you," or if I should be a little bit rude right back. The important thing to remember is JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE ASKS, IT DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO ANSWER. I've found it hard to do. But it's necessary. I think our natural inclination is to answer whatever questions others ask. In any part of life. And if you're able, turn the conversation to your advantage. Here's an example that I was able to turn into a sale . . .



Customer: How do you make candles?


Me: (in a vague and summarized way) Melt wax, add scent and color and pour it into a mold.


Customer: Where can I get the scent? (or the ruder version . . . Where do YOU get the scent?)


Me: These fragrance oils over here (theatrical wave of my hand towards my fragrance oil selection) can be used for making candles. They can also be diffused in an oil warmer, . . . (insert entire sales spiel here) and they can even be worn.


Customer: How much do you use to make candles?


Me: Up to an ounce per pound of wax. I have a hundred and sixty different scents . . . here, smell. (I open a popular scent and hold it out.)



By this point the person is usually distracted. I've found that including the ounce per pound figure is complex enough to make them realize there's more to it than they thought. And if the person is truly interested in making their own candles, then they realize that my fragrance oils are wonderful and reasonably priced.



Prepare yourself for these types of customers and have an idea of how you want to respond. If you're like me, then you'll still be taken a bit off your game when you actually have to deal with it, but at least you can pick your chin up off the floor and have your talking points already planned out to fall back on.

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