Did You Hear Me?

 

 

What is a business without good communication? There is none.  How vital is communication with our customers?  It’s pretty darn vital.  I know that when I was quilting for customers,  I composed an intake sheet that allowed me to notate information regarding each client and specifics on what they wanted on their quilt.  Why was this so important?  Well, hello I am no super hero when it comes to retaining every single word my customer shared with during consultation.  I could review my notes and realized “I completely forget she had mentioned this, or requested that”.  We all have good intentions of listening closely to the wants and needs of our customers but can we rely on mentally keeping every detail tucked away in our heads…not this girl.

 I rely on contacting with people via email, rather than connecting with them by phone.  This is not something I am proud of, it is definitely an area I am trying to improve upon.  As I picked up the phone recently I became extremely aware of how significant that voice to voice connection is to both the customer and myself.  Those receiving my call were pleasantly surprised I had reached out to them.  And when I am the one answering the call my clients cannot believe it’s actually “me” fielding calls and not an employee.  Yep folks believe it or not it’s just little old me in my studio now that my red-headed assistant got a new job.  Yeah and boo all at the same time…

Bottom line–hearing someones voice, the tone in which they are speaking and having the capability to exchange words “VERBALLY” is huge!

Having an online business does allow me to work with customer but in a different way.  Now, I utilize my blog , and newsletter to reach out to peers, and those in quilting community. Since I’m always striving to improve I’m also working on implementing more tutorials!

Speaking of tutorials thank you so much for all the kind words about my Baptist Fan tutorial.  It really makes my job rewarding when I hear how much viewers appreciate and benefit from my videos.  If there is something in particular you would like to see demonstrated let me know!

Has anyone struggled with finding a balance in communicating with customers? If you have found a balance what’s your secret? And don’t say you remember EVERYTHING!

 

Quilt Show Etiquette

Quilting etiquette, is there is such a thing.  Yes, there most certainly is.  Whether you are vending, or attending, there are do’s and don’t’s to being a part of the quilting show world.  And although some of the “appropriate” behavior should be obvious, you would be amazed how many neglect to engage in the “Quilt Sh0w Etiquette”.

There are few major rules of Quilting Show Etiquette I’d like to share.

#1 Whether you are meandering the quilting venue or in a quilter’s booth, please be mindful that there are other people around you.

Like it, love it, or hate it.  If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it until you are securely locked in your car or hotel room.  It’s so frustrating listening to an individual rip apart a quilter’s project, a piece that has taken them much time and effort to create.  Remember, you never know who is standing right next to you and no one wants to overhear unkind words regarding anyone’s work.

#2 No Touchy

That’s right, unless you own the design it don’t assume it’s okay to feel the fabric,  or pull the quilt towards you in order to obtain a closer view.  That delicious chocolate bar you ate a few minutes ago might have a few tiny specs of sweet treats left on your fingers which will, according to  Murphy’s Law, find its way on that quilter’s prized project!  Or that Starbucks Mocha Latte Grande that you are slowly slurping while viewing the vendor’s quilting, again according to Murphy’s Law, will dribble onto the lightest portion of the prized quilt.  All a big:

Keep in mind that the owner is most likely standing within mental slapping distance!

#3 Conversing with the vendor.   The opportunity to speak with the owner of the booth is exciting. But again, please be mindful of others waiting to talk, or ask the vendor a question.

I love assisting guests with questions whether it’s regarding which ruler to use, insight on which classes to select, or simply exchanging quilting experiences.  That being said, I am very conscientious of other visitors who are taking the time to stop at my booth.  I encourage everyone to meet the designers they love (trust me, we want to meet you too!),  but I kindly suggest that you take note of others standing nearby who also may need a minute or two of the owners time.

What is you’re top Quilting Show Etiquette rule?

Just Say “NO”…Nicely

The word “No”, it is surely one of the shortest words in the dictionary.  BUT  those in the quilting business must acquire the ability to say it confidently and clearly.  I know, we always hear “stay away from negative words”, but when it comes to customer contact, networking, and growing your business it is imperative to understand that it is okay to say “NO”…nicely.

In case some of you out there need some examples of when it’s appropriate (or alleviates your guilt) to share that word, here is a short list.

The Okay to “No” List (according to Lisa)

When asked to use red thread  on the top of the quilt, and white thread in the bobbin.

If you don’t think the color choice is going to work it’s okay to give your opinion.  I would hope customers would appreciate your input and concern for the outcome of their project.  You are only giving a suggestion, and if it helps you sleep better at night for heaven’s sake “Say what you gotta say!”…nicely.

When your customer feels that quilting their king size top should cost $60.00 to complete.

It is ultimately YOUR time, and what does YOUR time mean to you? It’s okay to kindly indicate the price YOU feel is appropriate (that’s if you want to quilt a king size top in the first place).  But if you know that the price and size aren’t to your liking kindly tell your customer no…nicely.

You are asked to give a lecture, very exciting.  The lecture is 5 hours away and they want you to speak for 2 hours, is it really that exciting?

Perhaps it’s considered exciting if you feel that after adding up all your expenses, and time taken to do the lecture you can find some margin of profit that would be beneficial to you.  Again there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling that the distance just doesn’t meet the criteria that makes it a worthwhile venture.  Decline the offer by saying no…nicely.

Your quilt has caught the eye of a client who asks to purchase you prize-winning quilt for $400.00 dollars.

This should really be an easy “no”.  I realize that it is very flattering when a customer, or fellow quilter, is in awe of what you have designed. It’s especially attractive in regards to a project that’s been highly recognized and given a pretty blue ribbon.  However, the love, and sweat you poured into this amazing piece is way beyond $400. 00 if not priceless.  So give careful consideration when tempted to part with the quilt that has won “Best In Show”; be mindful of the dollars you are going to receive in exchange for the art you have created and probably will never forget.  You needn’t respond like Wonder Woman (although you may want to), but humbly say thank you and no…nicely.

Uttering the word “no” is not easy, but it needs to be communicated.  When I say communicated, I mean spoken “nicely” to that particular individual.  It’s not what you say to those around you, but how you say it that matters.  Done in a polite, respectful manner, the word “no” can be a very beautiful, short, and sweet expression.

Do you have a hard time saying no? Or maybe you can’t even fathom telling someone “no”.  Please share your experience on how you have/haven’t come to terms with that forbidden one syllable word.

Reality Check-Vending 102

Houston we have arrived…bring on the world of VENDING.

Since I am an individual who feels very out of control unless I have everything mapped out, down to the tiniest detail, Judy and I created a mock vending booth in my studio a few weeks prior to the event.  Together we took the morning to put together display racks and configure exactly how our “real” booth would appear once we reached Houston.  Taking into consideration all the pieces of equipment and quilting items our space required, we both felt as though a two-hour set up was more than manageable.

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This ensemble was an estimated five-hour production. Not two, but five hours which is over double what this team had projected as a reasonable time frame.  What was I thinking? I obviously had the mindset of a “newbie”.  Erecting this exhibit took an exorbitant amount of energy and time which we were depleted of by the half way mark.  Oh, that’s right, the “half way mark” was what Judy and I thought would be the allotted time needed to furnish our booth.

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Five hours later, our mission was accomplished.  Deep breaths were taken, and our back and minds were aching.   Nevertheless, as you can see below, Judy was rearing and ready to go for all our Houston quilters!

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Thank you Houston for an amazing vending experience! Judy and I are having a  wonderful time and will be heading back to Pennsylvania having learned so much. I have compiled a list or rather lists of “What to Do” and “What Not to Do” for our next vending adventure.  I am very curious to see if we can minimize the five-hour installation time.   Do you have any insight to bestow upon this green vendor? As you can see I could definitely use any and all tips you have to offer!

If you haven’t been by the booth and are in Houston, its booth #1323.  Love to see you and Flat Lisa.

Lisa