What would happen if you sat on your butt and asked your friend/boyfriend/spouse to bring you whatever you desired, while you flipped through the TV stations? I’m sure it would last a day and then you’d get silence when you rang your little bell. And then on the other spectrum, if you rushed around doing for everyone without asking for help in return, what would happen? The people you’re working hard to help will settle into this treatment and you will not honor your own needs.
Well, business works the same way. Marketing is built around relationships; healthy relationships. Not only do you want to help others with an open heart, but you must honor yourself and your needs. When you give selflessly without asking for anything in return; give, smile, and let go, you will find that people will return the favor, happily. Please also know that you have to ask to receive. As my ex-husband would say to me, “I can’t read your mind; you have to tell me what you need.” The worst you’ll hear is “no,” and then you can determine how you want to handle that particular relationship.
Selling is strengthened by building a relationship with stores. When you’re working with a retailer, especially a new one, it’s very important to keep the relationship going by giving! Tell them how you are going to help them. Let them know that you are their partner and that their success with your work is your success, as well. You may say, “Duh, Andrea,” but there are a lot of artists who sell their work and disappear. They don’t keep in touch with their stores and offer their assistance in various ways. However, just like when you begin a dating relationship, you aren’t going to bombard them with communication—just “tap them on the shoulder” every once in a while. Keep an eye out for how much handholding and communication they need, and remember to honor your own time. If, after a time, you feel that the relationship isn’t working for you, you can walk away. There will be other sale venues that will better suit you. I promise.
Relationships are tricky but they work best when you go in with a very thoughtful, giving perspective while at the same time telling them your needs and knowing when to walk away if the relationship isn’t working for you.