How to make the most of closing a sale and ensure that that first-time customer becomes a repeat customer – whether their experience was positive, negative, or neutral.
Coming up on the Art Marketing Podcast, we're going to be talking about after you've made a sale, is it time to ask for another? A framework you can use to decide if the time is indeed right, and then the trade craft. You can run with it to execute on all of the above. Hey, hey, you made a sale. Congrats. Now, the work begins. I've mentioned before, but there's really only three ways, only three ways to grow your online art business. We can call this, pretty much, the tripod of online E-commerce, and I think I've mentioned this before, but I want to revisit it quickly.
Number one, get more customers in the door. More customers, new buyer. This is pretty much where everybody focuses all of their energy, all their time, all their effort. It's everything. Word of mouth, Facebook ads, going to shows, SEO, email marketing, Instagram posts, all of it. You're all looking for new buyers. New, new, new, new. That's number one. Number two, is increasing what we call AOV the Average Order Value. What's another way to say that? Do you want fries with that? Yes? Great. You just increased your AOV. Nice work. Okay. Number three, and it's what we're going to be talking about today. Number three is getting more orders from your existing customers, and what's the cheapest customer that you can get? The one you already have, right? Is the quote that everybody references in that capacity, so that's what we're going to be talking about. We're going to be talking about getting more orders from your existing customers.
Now, if you listened to the last episode, which was number 25 I believe ... and it was all about your marketing plan for 2018, in 2019. What did I say in that thing? I said you go for the sale, you swing the right hook when it's appropriate to do so. Guess what? In my opinion, after you have made the sale, that is a fantastic time, absolutely appropriate to go for another sale, but, but, but. So, that's where the framework piece comes in, but, but, but. Everything after the but. So, today's episode actually got inspired from a post in our Facebook group, believe it or not. [Thurman 00:02:13] posted, shout out Thurman, what's up, dude, "After I make a sale," this was his question in the Facebook group, "After I make a sale, is there anything else I need to do?"
Now, I read that and immediately I picked up exactly what it was that [Sherman 00:02:27] thought he was asking and the answer for Sherman was we have this print-on-demand service. So if you get an order, the order comes in, you get paid, the printer gets paid, the printer gets all the information. T`he order goes off automatically to the customer, you don't have to do anything else. That's what Thurman was asking. So, the answer to that question is no, Thurman, you don't have to do anything else. But what I read though, was a bit different. I read immediately, after you've made the sale, is the work done? Are you done? Do you go chasing another one? And I was like, "Nope. You are not done." What? I could just picture Thurman. Thurman in there, having this imaginary discussion, "What? I thought I just made the sale. That's the touchdown, right? I won. The game's over."
The answer to that is no. No, you have not won. You're just getting started. Well, you got a sale. That's good. But you got to get on your horse and get going, I mean you're just getting started. So, I started hammering out my response to Thurman and the rest of the Facebook group when I thought, you know what, this is a good podcast episode. I haven't recorded this one yet. I don't know why I haven't, I need to. There's parts of it in some of the other playbooks, but this is sort of a new spin on it, so I want to get it going and record it. So, a little context, a little, very, very, very short amount. I rant all the time about attention, I rant all the time about marketing all year long, inconsistently. I rant yes, but I also eat my own dog food.
I'm right down in the trenches myself, shovel in hand, Lucky Stripe, deftly perched in my lips. I'm digging. It's what I do all year long. It's like, "What do you think this podcast is, right?" It's marketing and it's doing so consistently. Anybody down in those trenches with us, they quickly realize just how dog gone hard it is to find customers. It's hard. It is work. It takes energy. Marketing can be a pain. It's difficult, so I think it's important to take a moment to both realize that, and appreciate that, certainly to be thankful for that.
Customers are absolutely great things, and we go to great lengths to get them. I think once you know that, I think you get your mind sort of in the right spot to think through how important this work after the fact, after you get the sale is. It's just a big, big deal, so let's get into the framework. You just made a sale, absolutely fantastic. The next question becomes, how do you know whether or not to ask for an additional sale? What is the timing on something like that? Do you always ask? Is it always appropriate? When is it not appropriate? Thankfully I've got the framework for this. It's very simple. Let me go through it succinctly, and then [inaudible 00:04:59] breakdown and get under the trade craft. You get a sale. They get an order. The order shows up at their house. You contact them after the fact. You determine if the experience was a good one. If it was, you ask for another sale. That's the long and the short of it, but let's breakdown the various different pieces of this.
Now quick disclaimer, this framework will need to be adjusted to taste, a little bit more salt, a little bit more pepper, for your particular art and situation. Some of you are selling originals, some of you are just selling prints, some combinations thereof, sculptures, crafts, whatever who is listening, that you might do. You kind of just have to adjust it to taste, so take what I did and by all means, shoehorn it into your operation. It's like I'm going to give you the skeleton, you put the skin and bones on it as you see fit.
Let's just say John bought some art from Thurman. John bought some art from Thurman. His art has now been delivered. Let's pick the story up there. When do you follow up? The hope here in this situation is that your art has been delivered in fantastic condition. It was promptly uncrated, or un-boxed, and now hangs proudly in its designated location that your buyer has envisioned for the particular piece. Now obviously that's not going to be the case in every situation, right? But you do the best you can, and that's what you're hoping for. So there's a number of different levers, but that is the ideal situation, that the order went through, all the shipping, everything else. It's arrived at their doorstep. They've un-boxed it, opened it. The experience has been awesome, and they hung it up on the wall.
After that is done, that is the ideal time to follow up, so you try to aim for that window as best you can. You're not always going to nail it, but that's what it is. After that is all said and done, you're going to follow up with an email. The importance of this is that you need everything that you, the artist, are responsible for to be done with and be completed. The transaction is utterly and totally complete. It shipped ... you have no more responsibility. There's no more customer service. There's no more anything else, because that sets a certain expectation. So that's the time, ideally, that you want to send your followup email.
It would be something along the lines of, "Hey John, it's me Thurman. Just wanted to take this opportunity to followup, and make sure everything arrived on time and is in good order. Is it hanging on your wall yet? Thanks so much for your business, Thurman." Something along those lines. Once that comes in, once that comes in, you're in good shape. You send that. The real teeth of the framework gets applied when you get to the response portion. This is when you get the email back. Let's just say, "Hey Thurman, it's me John. Thanks for following up. As it turns out, blank." That would be the normal response that you would potentially get. John would write you back and say, "As it turns out, the experience was blank."
What normally happens in this situation, is you're going to get one of three responses. Here's where the framework comes in particularly handy. The responses will either be negative, neutral, or positive. The negative, perhaps it's a shipping issue, something else. They don't like it. The frame was cheap. Something was broken. Who knows what it could be? A myriad of situations. But if it was something about a negative experience, then obviously you've got a leaky boat. Your boat is leaking. You need to plug the hole. You've got a fire. Put out the fire. Do the best that you can. Put on your customer service hat, and get that thing sorted. Learn from it. Fix it so it never happens again, move on. It's not about the negative response, but obviously in that capacity, your job is to put out the fire, and/or plug the leaky boat, whatever analogy you want to use. You're obviously not going to be asking for the sale after the fact.
What happens if the response is neutral? If it's neutral in this situation, it's critical, critical, critical that you get the feedback from them, obviously. "Yeah, it was okay, but I really would have preferred blank." Find out what the blank is. Find out why they're upset. Again, you do the best that you can to fix the thing. A quick aside, the example I love using in this situation is the hotel example. You ever stay at a hotel? You're at the front desk. You're checking out. "Hey John, thank you so much for your stay with us. How was your stay?"
"Oh, I appreciate you asking that. It was near perfect, except for this pack of hooligans in the pool the other night. They were up late, crushing beers, making a ruckus. They kept us up. I mean, what is it, spring break or something?" The guy at the desk was like, "Oh, that sounds terrible John. Tell you what, please allow me to comp your valet parking charges. Let us take care of that. That's not something you should have to deal with, that noise when you stay with us." Something along those lines, but the point is John goes, "I really appreciate it, thanks." Do something to make the situation better. Try to clean things up. Find out whatever the suboptimal thing was, and get it fixed.
After you get it fixed, whatever it is, whatever you find out it is, it's sort of a gut check for you. Read the situation, take John's temperature, see where he's at. See whether or not you could potentially ask for the sale, because his experience was still pretty good. Or if you feel like he's a little bent out of shape still, it's neutral, you might want to just move on from that. That's just a gut check situation.
Now let's talk about the good one, the positive situation. If it's positive, we are definitely going for an ask. They emailed back and they're in love with the piece, they're fired up. "Thank you so much Thurman. You are the bomb." I knew I am. What's up? Now is the time to ask. Now is the time to go for the right hook. Now it the time to ask with another sale. Now the response to this has some extreme, extreme nuance to it, so I want you to pay attention. But let me unpack it a bit, and then I'll go into the trade craft after the fact. I got a sample. Actually, I'm going to read this right from the Facebook post, because I kind of liked it when I came up with it.
I would say, let's just say for example if I'm Thurman, "Hey John, I'm really pleased to hear that you're happy with the piece, and it looks great on your wall. As a way of saying thank you for being a customer, what I always like to do is offer a coupon code. That way, if you ever wanted to purchase any additional work, you can use it. So take 20% off storewide for the next two months. Use coupon code da, da, da, Thurman is the bomb. No pressure at all, just something I like to do to say thanks, and to let you know how much I appreciate having you as a customer. I'll send you an email reminder before it expires, so don't worry, Thurman. Enjoy your new piece, and thank you again for the business."
I would use some language like that, along those lines. There is actually some trade craft in there that I want to breakdown, so let me go over that and unpack it. Number one is the expiration. The expiration is in there. We always have to put scarcity in our offers. But the expiration is for two month. Why did I pick that? That sounds crazy. That's a really long time. It is a long time, and it's intentional. I like to give the two months for a reason, because what we're looking for, what we're looking for, the science to this is ideally, ideally for John to have his ego stroked and validated a little bit.
Let me explain. We wait the two months so that John the time to either have a barbecue, or the family over, or a cocktail party. We've got to have some friends over or some family over, in the house, "Wow John, this barrel aged stout really is complex and delicious. It taste like oak. Was it aged in oak? Whoa, forget the beer. I didn't see that. Look at that new piece on your wall. Man, that thing is beautiful." John goes, "Yeah it is. It's this local artist Thurman. He's my boy now. We've actually got a pretty good relationship. Amazing piece, isn't it?" That is the moment, ideally, that we're hoping takes place. Some sort of situation where it's on the wall, and somebody comes over and says, "Oh, you have such incredible artistic taste. Wow, that thing is amazing." They get complimented on it, and ideally that's what happens. That's what we're waiting for in the two month window.
Or the other thing, if he doesn't have any friends, or he lives in the middle of nowhere, maybe he's looked at it enough that he's like, "This thing is just so amazing. It's brightening up my entire day." But that's why I like to push it out for two months, because you want him to really, really have an incredible experience, an incredible visceral experience. By the way, you're sending the coupon code right away, so if he's like, "Oh my gosh, this is amazing, I got to jump to get into this deal," he can go right away. But you set yourself a little room. You set yourself a little room to [inaudible 00:13:14].
Now number two is the part where you let them know you will follow up. Now remember in the letter I was like, "Hey, don't worry about it, I'll email you closer as it gets time to expire." You want to be very non-pushy in this thing. You want to let them know, "Oh no problem, I'll email you again." It's great putting that in there, because this transaction has happened, they're positive. This email is going to be opened. They're fired up about things, so it's a great time to throw that in there, because what it does is it gives you permission to email them again when the expiration comes. You wouldn't necessarily need the permission, but it's just a nice little way to carve it out. It's a nice little way to just plant a little marker in their mind, where they don't necessarily have to worry about it. They can go on about their life.
Hopefully they have that barbecue or that cocktail party, somebody fluffs their ego. Next thing you know, there's two weeks to go. The coupon code is about to expire. Boom, Thurman emails John again, "Just wanted to let you know the coupon code expires in two weeks. No pressure, and I hope you're loving that art on your wall." There it is, you got it. So a lot of moving pieces there, but it's pretty easy when you break it down, and you take a look at it.
Now a bonus that I do want to add, and I love a bonus, who doesn't love a bonus? If asking for the sale does not feel right, that's totally okay. If you don't want to do that for whatever reason, or circumstantially something ... This person is not going to buy. You know they're not going to buy. Whatever the case may be, the important thing to remember in this situation is your still on the golf course. So if you don't want to go for the sale, throw the driver back in the bag, and pull out the nine iron. What you do is you just say, "Hey, I would love, love ... Hey John, thank you. I'm so glad to hear you're thrilled with the piece. Hey, do you know one thing that I would love to see? You have such discerning taste, obviously, you bought my art. Do you think you could take a picture of it hanging on your wall?"
You can mix up the language to your taste, but what I'm looking for here is either a selfie of them, ideally it's their face, a selfie of them with the art in the background, or they just take a couple of pictures of it hanging on the wall. You can just say, "I always love seeing where my customers hang the art, where it eventually [inaudible 00:15:26]. Could you take a couple of photos?" Because now you're going to get some marketing fodder out of it. You've got some stuff for your Instagram account. You've got some stuff for your Facebook page. You could potentially ask them for a testimonial. It's [inaudible 00:15:36] scope of this one, but then you've got a photo of the art hanging on the wall, from a real human being, and you mix in the testimonial. I mean, that's just good clean living right there. It just works 100% of the time. Just try it.
There you have it. It does sound like a lot sort of, but it's actually really, really easy to do, and especially really, really easy to do if you're just getting started. You're just getting going, you're making sales somewhat sporadically ... I mean obviously, if you're selling 50 pieces a month, it's going to be a little bit harder. But dog gone it, if you're selling 50 pieces a month, you could pay an intern. Get some help and do it. It takes a bit of time, but I assure you, you are spending it in as high value an area as you could possibly imagine.
The other I would mention is that opening up, which so many artists don't do, opening up this personal line of communication where you're sending them an email back and forth ... and don't get me wrong, this could be done with a phone call. It could be done with a postcard as well, if that's how you prefer to roll. But it just, it opens up an opportunity for conversation, and for them to get to know you a little bit better on a personal level. They feel like they have this relationship, because you're in this business for life. This is the long game for you. You never know when they might be back. It might be years. While you don't know when they're ever going to come back and buy art again, what you do know is that engaging in this type of email back and forth will increase those chances. It really just does.
Summing it all up, after the sale is when the real work begins. You got to follow up, run the framework. Then realize and appreciate how tough it is to get a customer. Then you've got to work harder for the one that you do get, to see if you can't get more order volume out of them. I think it's a powerful lesson, inspired by a Facebook post, but fired up to record that, and hope you guys put it into practice. Now before I go, I have an ask myself.
If you've listened to any of these podcast episodes now, you know how crazy I am about messenger bots, and messenger marketing right now through Facebook Messenger, but all the bots. It's all the same. It's messenger marketing. I want all of you to not just be aware, but start to taste what's possible with bots. So I want you to come check out the Art Storefront bot. I've created a new, kind of podcast section in there that I think you will find really slick. It will sort of open your mind to some of the possibilities of what you can do.
In addition to that, we've got some artist bots that we've been working on that I can show you in action, some of the ways you can send a pricing list, and gather email addresses. It's just a really cool experience. I think you guys will get a tremendous amount of value, and at least if nothing else, kind of peak your curiosity, show you what's possible, creative sandbox status. Moreover, I got to practice what I preach. How you get somebody to experience your bot, how you get somebody into your bot sequence, your messenger bot sequence, is going to be one of the big, big topics of the months and years to come. It's some new fertile ground, so I wanted to show you one of the easiest ways to do that. It's great in an audio capacity, i.e. a podcast. Or it could be great in a personal conversation. It could be great in a bunch of ways.
It's new now, and I'm going to ask that you guys all do it, so I you can touch it and taste it. It's new now, but I assure you, this is going to become a normal way that people end up communicating with brands, and with entities, so it makes a lot of sense to give it a shot now. So how do you do that? How are you going to experience this thing? How are you going to get into the Art Storefront bot sequence? Pull out your phone. Do it right now if you can. I know most people listen on the phone. Pull out your phone. Open up the Messenger app. Open up Facebook Messenger app. It doesn't matter if you're on Android, or if you're on iOS, you've got it. Open up the Messenger app. Hit the search button. Type in Art Storefronts. Art, one word, space Storefronts, all one word. Click the get started button. That's it. That will get you into the sequence. I'd love to see you in there. Feel free to say hi. That's me reading all those bot messages too. Thanks for listening. Have a great day.
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We help artists & photographers open and run their own art gallery business online.