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Tips & Tricks: Customer Sources

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Forum topic by MsDebbieP posted 09-21-2011 01:08 PM 1059 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2883 days


09-21-2011 01:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: customers clients tips tricks

What/who are potential customers and where/how do we find them?

(also add links to helpful blogs etc that are related to the topic)
 

Gateway to all Tips & Tricks Topics
 

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)


6 replies so far

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6259 posts in 1523 days


#1 posted 09-21-2011 02:32 PM

Family are always an option, but they often expect a low price for your work just because they’re family. Neighbors are another good source. Have a yard sale and sit some of your work out. If you can, bring a piece of wood and a hand plane out and pretend to be making something special right before their eyes. Won’t be long before people start commenting on how they “should get you to make that coffee table” they always wanted. Hand out business cards (in fives so they can pass them on to their firends). Sit back and wait for the business to start rolling in!

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

2939 posts in 1807 days


#2 posted 09-21-2011 04:30 PM

So far, it has all been family, and a few charitable auction donations on request. My workshop was set up to
keep me busy and off streetcorners after I retired, but with the cost of wood and tools and the lowering of
my incomes buying power, I am going to have to start looking to sell, or cut back on woodworking. I will be
able to tell you more about selling in a year or so.

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

View mainwoodworks's profile

mainwoodworks

112 posts in 1371 days


#3 posted 09-21-2011 10:58 PM

So far the best I have been able to do is to get family members to pay for the wood on furniture. Most of the time they say “can’t you use scrap from the furniture you make”. So far about the only things I have actually made a profit on are a few gun stocks, and I really do not like making them. The wood is usually very expensive and if I make a mistake, there is no profit and I could be out the cost of the wood. So I am always up tight making them.
There is not much profit in furniture, as no one wants to pay $500 for a coffee table made of quarter sawed white oak, when they can buy one from wal-marts that looks like oak for $80 even if it is make of particle board and will only last for a year or two.

-- Measure twice, cut once, and hope for the best.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1573 days


#4 posted 09-22-2011 12:54 AM

I have no easy answer. Just this observation:

If you’re driving by the car dealer and you see a new Gojaster 400 on the lot and you want it, you can go in and buy it.

If you think you like it, you can take a no-obligation test drive, and if you like it but you want it in frosted pineapple yum yum instead of piquant tortoise rind, you give the dealer some money and it arrives later on a truck.

Purchase completed.

From us, people want something that they haven’t yet seen and sometimes can’t even adequately describe.

Here’s where this is leading: You must be able to foster and nurture trust. That starts with your business card, your shirt, your truck, your language, your ability to shut up and listen, and so on, and is in tension until the idea/order becomes a wood reality.

Stated backwards, your customers are those who can learn to trust you. The trick is learning how to make that happen as often and as smoothly as possible.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View rance's profile

rance

4145 posts in 1883 days


#5 posted 09-22-2011 02:13 AM

Very well said Lee. In the case of people wanting something that they haven’t yet seen… sometimes you can draw it up on paper to show them. Or build it in SketchUp so you can rotate it around in 3D, and look underneath, take it apart, open the doors. Try doing that with a napkin sketch. :D

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1522 posts in 1237 days


#6 posted 09-23-2011 09:28 PM

For me, the turning point was Facebook and my website. (Intuit, $19.95 a month, Facebook, free)
I tried a shop that displayed my work, but it’s too slow and the audience is too small.
Facebook I now average about 140-180 looks a week, and my website goes up and down, from 8 to 25 hits a day. I’m five guitars behind, and I have never spent a dime on advertising save for the twenty bucks a month for the website and my business cards.
Have I laid eggs? Yes – a local county fair show netted me best in show, 40 less business cards, and no leads. At least I got a couple ribbons out of the deal and a spot on a local TV show!
I wrote my story to a music publication, (Fretboard Journal), they liked it and published it for free. I sold four guitars from that. I e-mailed a TV station that had a show that highlights locals, and I’ve been on twice. My hometown paper, when they saw the article in the magazine, they put a full page of me in the paper, in color. Sold two guitars off that.
It all ties together, but you don’t have to spend money. Social media is exactly that. Social. And I find that it is a lot easier to eat a little money and be nice, than to pick at every dime. Wayyyy more customers.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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