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fw: some advice in clay diplomacy please.

updated sun 11 feb 01


Jeremy/Bonnie Hellman on fri 9 feb 01

Hi Toni,

I'll give you one answer that often works well -- you can tell them that
your accountant/CPA/business advisor has told you that you cannot sell that
size pot for less than (fill in the blank) rand. You can tell them: "I
would love to make that pot for you, but I am not allowed to sell it for
less than so much. Is that OK with you?"

By blaming it on someone else, you are not the bad guy. If the idea of
your having an accountant doesn't work, blame it on your husband. It's
so much easier to blame it on someone else, if you find it hard to
look them in the eye, smile, and say, my price is such and so; is that
OK with you?

The other thing you can do if you cannot say "No" to their face is to
say that you are very busy and it will be a very long time until you
have a chance to take special orders. Probably a few months. I guess
this is a variation on the passive-aggressive approach, where people
never say "No." They just never do what you think they've agreed to

And most of all, you don't feel guilty in the slightest about not
giving away your work. You are running a business, and in the US I
don't know many businesses that give away or reduce the price of their
merchandise because the customer doesn't have a lot of money.

Your therapy is, first thing when you get up in the morning, before
you can even see straight, you MUST say OUT LOUD. I am running a
business. I will sell my work for a fair price. I will not give it
away. I am running a business here. I am an artist and I am entitled to be
paid a fair price for my work.


> People, not strangers, not friends, sort of vague aquaintances are
> forever 'ordering' stuff from me. I know that they can't afford to
> pay for these things and I, who am trying to earn an income from
> clay, really cannot afford to give them these things. I do and I
> have, but I get resentful. Giving someone a gift of my making
> because I WANT to or trading for something, is a whole other matter.
> What can I say to people like this, without being offensive? Even if
> I FEEL like being offensive Toni Martens, South Africa who needs
> to develop a diplomatic business mindset.
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