Your Company’s Greatest Asset

I was reminded yesterday, when visiting the annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, that artists and crafts people are seldom aware of their greatest asset.  Given their ability to produce outstanding original work, it then has to be sold.  And that great asset is a customer list, which makes subsequent sales so much easier.  I say this because I had to twist arms to get several vendors to make note of my email and street address, after purchasing items from them.  After all, I want to remain in touch.   And to see what they have to offer at a later date.

This particular show featured a small group of crafts people from Britain.  These folks had all been specifically invited.  They had crossed the ocean with their creative output.  Surely the intent was to burnish their reputations and to sell as much as possible, at the show and to buyers here in the future.

We happily bought several items from various vendors, mainly for holiday gifts.  But the experience, in each case, was troubling.  At the point of sale, we were never asked for contact details.  In other words, these people were content to make each sale without attempting to forge a continuing relationship with their customers.

As it turned out, we wanted to keep in touch with each of them.  We want to know what else they will produce, even though they will not necessarily be back in the US.  So what do you do?  You twist their arms.  You give them your business card, while you wonder if it is to be lost or discarded when the booth gets pulled down.

I have to say that each crafts person seemed to appreciate unsolicited feedback on the need to build a growing customer list.  A community is a better word for it.  The immortal Dan Kennedy calls it a “herd.”  In other words, a group of people who are likely willing to buy more of your output and to tell their friends and relatives.

My comments were based on an attempt to help the individuals concerned.  After all, I had purchased something of beauty and value from each of them.  That first sale was so much more difficult and costly for them than any subsequent transaction.  But that likelihood of future business is bleak indeed, unless they take steps to stay in touch with me.

I wonder why this comes as a surprise to these interesting and intelligent folk.  Their lives depend on satisfying as many customers as possible at the greatest possible margin.  In that respect, they’re like all other business people.  So why didn’t the individuals I dealt with yesterday take simple positive steps to build a customer list?  Is it because arts and crafts people think differently than the rest of us?  Is marketing a dirty word to them?



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2 Responses to “Your Company’s Greatest Asset”
  1. Thanks for this wonderful post. I really like the content you put up on your web-site. Added to my bookmarks for future visits.

  2. Fred Tate says:

    Oh yes Social commerce, what a tremendous opportunity to develope our skills as a rather large family. Thanks for your contribution.

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