Over the years, I have dealt with a variety of clients. I love and respect them all – they are clients, but over time it has become obvious that some “types” of clients repeat themselves. And while in articles about “ordinary” sales – whether authentic goods or services – there are many descriptions of customer types, in our field, in handmade goods, I have hardly seen such classifications yet. Therefore I am offering you my behavioral classification of our clients.
Just a good customer
How to find out: They know what they want and agree to the price, terms, and delivery conditions. Read the rules of the store carefully. They make a purchase through the “buy” button. They ask one or two clarifying questions. If necessary, they offer a compromise or agree to it. If it’s a pick-up, pay attention! – They bring the amount without change! After receiving the purchase – send a message that they liked the purchase and are grateful. They leave positive and pleasant feedback. In my practice, this buyer is usually a crafter, so they know what to do and how to do it.
What to do: Be happy! I can’t say that such customers are rare, but the types listed below require more attention and energy to be remembered better.
How to find out: they need it urgently – today, or better yet, right now. What, it’s ten o’clock at night already? What are you talking about? These are the ones who took a long time to think of a gift, put off looking for an advantage in the hope that “maybe it will decide itself,” or have just been told that tomorrow morning, they should come with a gift!
What to do: Try to keep a stock of finished artwork that you can “send” right now or today. Determine which works are the most popular – in general or depending on the season – and prepare beforehand. At the very least, have blanks from which you can assemble the necessary items quickly. And you should also have 2-3 options for meeting and transferring the order: if you work from home, then pick-up is a great option, although not all customers like it.
I do not like the rush – the urgency is always unnerving, always not on time, often needs to be neater, and such work has little pleasure.
How to find out: They know exactly how to do what you do. And, no doubt, they would do it themselves in 20 minutes – but there is no time or desire. So they make an order or start to discuss it. Guru wants the same as in your store, only with pearl buttons. And it is also desirable to create several changes. One such client asked me if I could modify the toy at their request.
I even had to explain from a technical point of view why I couldn’t do it. I almost agreed to experiment, but then it turned out that I had less than a day for the work. When I refused the order, the customer took offense, “Well, what is there to do – just make a figure; it’s not long. I purposely specified – she has never made anything out of wool; she is more knowledgeable in electronics.
What to do: For me, it is always a dilemma – quickly and politely refusing or trying to negotiate. Most of the time, I try to negotiate. It’s time. That a small toy, even a simple one, is hours of work. And that the assumption that the master sits at home and devotes all her time to needlework is incorrect, some masters work at their primary job and do needlework in their spare time, so it is advisable to order in advance. Sometimes I find and recommend the work of another master with similar work.
By the way, the “gurus” and other clients are often convinced that the master is making a living from crafts and that almost grabbed for all orders in a row. It seems to me that such artisans are few. Someone else is working for hire. By refusing an uninteresting order or not wishing to deal with an unpleasant client, such a master will not risk her family’s well-being. And masters who live and earn by their craft will not do things they are not interested in or uncomfortable with.
How to find out: These clients “make up” an image of the work regardless of any number of photos you give them. And even if the work is photographed next to a ruler, there’s still a significant risk of hearing, “Oh, why so small/big?” I had a client once who wanted to buy a toy. I immediately alerted her, “Oh, yeah, any, I like them all. I sent her a link to the entire assortment. In the end, she wanted to see everything in stock – that is, about 30 pieces. And taking the first in her hands, said “and I thought there was a collar, and it has all sorts of pendants. And it’s rude to ask – have you ever seen the pictures? All ended well; the girl chose toys for themselves and as a gift. Although I always have, in such cases, left the feeling that I did not anticipate the fantasy client, and she was forced to buy something out of politeness since it has already come.
The worst thing is when a customer who came for a particular product suddenly says: What else do you have? Can I see? I briefly fall into a stupor because – everything – a lot, at one time, can not show, and what exactly? So I will show only what we talked about before. If they ask me to bring something else – I refuse tactfully. Something will not be sold, but do not run back and forth!
What to do: Try to get the choice of a particular work and then talk or write in detail her characteristics – color, size, length, width, flavor, smell, the number of parts, ways to care … In the example described, I recommended the customer show themselves – to tie their toys with ribbons and all that she thinks is necessary. Very tactfully, she even lit up with ideas. In front of those who have already imagined your luxury boutique of handmade things – politely apologize, and explain that you only have an online store, but all that you can show – will demonstrate. As a rule, you can agree with both of them.
How to find out: This is a totally “dreamy” customer. Dreams of buying “I don’t know what. Let me explain right away with an example. I was once asked to make a magic wand for a six-year-old girl. Luckily, I didn’t have to consider the functionality of making her wishes come true. It just had to be pretty and girlish. They couldn’t help me with the color scheme. The girl’s mom didn’t like any of the online samples either. There was no place even to copy one. All at my discretion. The magic wand was a mixture of beads, beads, and ribbons. Both mom and girl liked it. A pity the photo has not been kept. But then the unpleasant thing happened: the girl took the wand to the kindergarten to brag about it… I did not see it myself, but they say the wand was damaged – the beads were torn, bent, and crumpled. However, much was firmly sewn and glued extra. The girl was upset, and her mother hinted that the wand could have been stronger. Probably made of concrete?
I should have warned her that the thing was fragile and that she needed to be careful. On the other hand, it is obvious that all things require a certain attitude, and then they will last a long time. Or is it only apparent to me?
What to do: I will probably refuse such an order next time. I don’t like ambiguity and that residue afterward. It is certainly worth agreeing to experiments, but it is necessary to weigh everything carefully beforehand. And in general, the idea of a magic wand I liked.
– Classification of handmade customers
How to find out: Such a client makes an order. Most often on a finished product. Does not write anything in the comments. Responding to questions and suggestions in a single phrase – “yes,” “okay. And you need to find out whether this customer is satisfied or not. This makes me uncomfortable – what if I do not consider something? And even if the work is ready, the same emotional mood of the client is not clear. No positive energy is exchanged or something… What if it turns out later that the client thought that the work would look different?
What to do: I try to “get them to talk. I clarify where it will be more convenient to pick it up – I have three options, as and when it is more convenient to pay, take it for yourself, or as a gift. If it’s a toy for a child – are not allergic to what, special wishes and so on. As a rule, the prognosis for such a sale is quite favorable.
How to find out: It’s better to explain immediately with an example. Client: “Hello, I saw your work (no matter where); I’m writing to you on Etsy; could you send me a link to your entire range of work by e-mail? This client will write to me in one of the messengers, and I will try to figure out who it is and what she wants.
What is the problem? But, when several clients want something simultaneously, it’s sometimes difficult to communicate with them in different places. In addition, it is no secret that many artists display their work on various sites, and in time to update prices everywhere or note that the work is sold or made to order only is not always possible. It takes too much time. I am more comfortable keeping records on one resource. And, accordingly, to her and give a link. But sometimes, it annoys the client. Or perhaps the clients have their circumstances because of which he has to “jump” to different resources and messengers, and I’m not right here.
What to do: Try to convince the client when communicating with you to use only some of the resources and messengers that are available to them. Explain the benefits of a single channel, such as a store on Etsy – a better description, more photos, whether it is available, what it is made of, and how to look after it. If you do not have the strength to explain everything – do what the client wants – send a link to where he asks, but from practice, the chances of selling become less – the customer may forget something and get lost in the electronic jungle.
How to find out: She will tell you that she is a mother and most likely has a very young child. And most likely her first. There are two types of moms. Moms of the first type want toys to be as educational as possible so that everything – from the fabric pattern to the last ribbon directly affects the development of fine motor skills. Mothers of the second type pursue, in addition to the developmental effect, the maximum environmental toys or at least the ability to boil the toy in an antibacterial solution without losing the functionality and appearance of the toy.
What to do: It is desirable that the toys develop something that is not life-threatening. That is why I consult such clients. I find out the mother’s goals. Telling what string/suspension/bead/shape/color is and what hypothetically may or may not affect. Sometimes I even had to talk a child out of purchase – the child was too young or, on the contrary, had already grown up a lot. I always tell them what is made of and if the child is allergic to anything.
I always warn moms that the child should play with the toy under supervision because the beads can tear off, and the ribbon can be chewed up over time. I suggest options to avoid this – tie an extra knot, trim too long ribbon, and periodically review the toy.
The most amusing was when one mother, having already received a felt toy, asked if it could be washed. After discussing the options for cleaning the felt, we agreed that she would wipe the toy with an alcohol wipe. I hope the toy is still alive. And once again, I reminded myself that I must write to the customer about the rules of care for the product BEFORE buying it.
How to find out: In my practice, these are owners of gift stores, souvenir stores, and handmade goods. “Wholesalers” fall into two categories. The first is willing to make an excellent large order, discuss adequate deadlines, and pay on time. Can specify about the discount, but tactfully, without begging and whining. The second want to buy 1-2 products at a cost price with the promise “if they sell, they will buy from you forever.”
What to do: First of all, decide for yourself whether you agree to have your product resold. I do not always agree and never give goods for resale. The only time I’ve ever made a deal with a store owner was on a huge order and an adequate time frame. The discount was discussed individually; no one whined or twisted my arm. By the way, then she placed another order, even larger. And again, everything was on time – deadlines and money.
Several times the store owners ordered 1-2 products and offered to sell at virtually cost. Or with free delivery to the other end of town. And it began: you understand, these are your prospects. You understand, and if we don’t sell, I don’t want to incur losses. Right, and no one takes my losses into account. I don’t work with such clients. I am more comfortable when the work comes from me directly to the end consumer. It may be about the flow of positive energy in this case.
How do I know: Wants to buy a lot, but a lot gets expensive. And then, such a client starts suggesting improvements to the work to reduce their cost and labor. I had a suggestion from one client who wanted to buy 20 toys: she offered to make their eyes out of cheap materials so they would look just as expensive.
What to do: I do not take such “unfinished” orders. Therefore, ready to discuss a good discount for a large order, but not this kind of “genius” idea. With a client trying to talk – I ask if she would agree to a doll or a teddy bear without one leg or a dress without a sleeve. For some reason, she does not. Such deals most often do not happen, but also not sorry. For some of these clients, I suggest they pick up a needle and make a toy themselves.
How to find out: Wants to buy 1-2-3 inexpensive items and asks if there will be a discount for the amount or free shipping.
What to do: Write in the store’s rules in advance that a discount or free shipping is provided, for example, on the specific amount of the purchase. Or depends on the quantity. And if even the rules of the store the client has not read, you can send them a link to this section of your store. And even if the deal goes through, the pleasure dims a little – you, the greedy one, turned the customer down.
How to find out: It is really a man. He acts on the principle of “order-pay-pick up.” they are not interested in showing the product’s qualities – where, what rattles, and how to wash it. In my practice, it’s most often a young dad tired of a young mother discussing the need to buy something. And he usually orders from her page. It just feels like no Mary is writing, but John is. “Man” makes an appointment in two stingy phrases, arrives on time, hands over the money, picks up the purchase, and leaves. Sometimes he might ask, “Is this exactly what she (his wife) wanted?” From his intonation, he doubts his wife’s mental health (why does she need this stuff?). In some cases, the wife arranges, and the husband performs the role of the courier.
What to do: Give the order, get the money, and close the sale. Everything is fine here.
– Classification of handmade customers
How to find out: It’s wild, of course, but such a client will order something you can’t do at all and never intend to do. It wouldn’t have occurred if I hadn’t encountered it myself. The client asked me for a long time if I could make an educational toy. Feeling something was wrong, I asked for a photo of the toy. He sent me one. They were wooden toys carved on a special machine. I wonder if he ever saw my store. If he had, what in my store gave him the idea that I could do this? Or am I searching in vain for logic, and are other worlds involved?
What to do: If your plans do not include retraining and you do not know who can do such an order – politely decline, referring to the fact that you do not make such products.
How do you know: She leaves without saying goodbye. And it’s not always clear what she wanted. We started to negotiate and learned many details and nuances from each other. The client wrote that, in general, the proposal is suitable. And that’s it. At best, they write, “OK, I’ll clarify something, and I’ll write in an hour. They don’t have the politeness to write – “thank you, I gave the order to another artist or changed my mind.
What to do: I usually write, “Please inform me of your decision or refusal; thank you in advance. But this rarely helps; the “Englishwoman” is gone.
How to find out: It’s not even a client, although it tries masquerading as one. Starts from afar – praises the work, chooses a product. And then asks – what kind of material, where do you take, if there is any reference to the stores. Unlike real customers, they are not interested in how to take care of the toy. They are interested in where to get the materials, how much they cost, and how much the packaging and shipment costs. How often do these toys get ordered? To me, this is the height of rudeness and incivility!
What to do: I answer the question with a question – “What is the purpose of your interest?” Funny, one girl told me, “I do the same as you, but something comes out expensive and not buy. In the end, I recommend using search engines and choosing stores closer to home and more comfortable in terms of price. I do not give any other information, of course.
How to find out: These guys are even more interesting than the “wholesalers. These are the ones who want to make a profit at the expense of the master. It looks like this: “I have my own promoted site/account in social networks. I promote handmade goods. You give me a photo of your products, tell me the price, and I put your products on my site. You remove all images of goods everywhere. You promote your products only through me. I sell the product with a margin. When a customer appears, you send me the product. I send it to the client. I transfer the money for the product to you, and I keep the margin. This is unacceptable. Her site or social account is not promoted. Apparently, Such an idea comes to mind for those who do not want to work independently.
What to do: I just ignore it, although I want to join the conversation. I don’t know what or how these people think to come up with this. I have never seen such a successful project handmade. Although in other areas dropshipping is very popular.
I have a lot of experience with different clients. I make conclusions, try to be more tolerant, find ways to agree, where possible, or keep silent where it is not worth arguing. Clients develop intuition – when you begin to understand with which client it is worth continuing a relationship and with which it is not. As a client, I try to match the first type listed.
Tell us your stories, what clients, and interesting situations you have encountered.