How to Sell an Experience – Secrets to Superior Customer Service


Think back on a time where you had really fantastic customer service. Now, think back on a time where you had a negative customer service experience; what do you notice? Most likely, when you thought about the positive experience, you felt happy; when you thought about the negative experience, you likely felt sad, embarrassed or angry. Every customer is an opportunity to sell not only your amazing products, but an experience. Today, I’d like to discuss some tips and tricks to help you do just that!

Interact genuinely.

No one likes a pushy salesperson! Greet your customer genuinely, and wait a few moments. If you have a special on multiple purchases or a discount that you’re offering, let them know ahead of time. When you see that they are showing interest in a specific product, take a moment to share why you love it, or why your other customers love it. If they are not already holding the product, place one in their hand and let them see the quality for themselves. Then, suggest a product that would pair well with it. Listen intently to what they are saying and find out what their specific needs are. Most importantly, do not make claims that are not true; saying that your product will do something miraculous might win a customer up front, but they will likely not come back when the product ultimately does not perform.

Put your phone down.

Social media, texting, phone calls, games; we have the unique opportunity to have all of this technology right in the palm of our hands at all times, unlike the retailers of yesterday. But, also unlike our ancestral retailers, we have the unique opportunity to thoroughly ignore customers in order to get to the next level of Candy Crush. Use your phone as little as possible if you are at an event where you are selling your products; this will show customers that you are interested and present.

Don’t get offended.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned during my 15 years of providing customer service both in retail and hospitality environments is that you must not take anything personally. Everyone has had a bad day and snapped at someone; if this happens to you and it seems to come out of left field, try to empathize and provide the best service you can. You may also run into a situation where a customer simply does not like your product or understand your pricing. It is important not to become confrontational in these situations. If it is a pricing issue, take the time to explain why your products are priced the way that they are. Giving a patient, well thought out and kind response will make a bigger impact than a knee-jerk reaction to be aggressive and defensive. If they are unhappy with your product, be sure to stick to whatever return or refund policy you have in place; and if possible, offer an alternative for them to try.

Be prompt.

If you are managing an online store, or if you have a storefront with a dedicated phone line, set aside a specific time each day that you will commit to answering messages. Between formulating, packaging, and selling, your time is precious; but ignoring an inquiry or complaint will lead to frustration on your customer’s behalf, and they may go elsewhere.

Take the high road.

We know that your products are fantastic, and you know that your products are fantastic. But, it is entirely possible for more than one fantastic product to co-exist!

Sometimes, customers may ask you what the difference is between your product and a competitor, or which one is “better”. Even if your competitor hasn’t behaved similarly, resist the urge to talk negatively about someone else’s products. Always steer the conversation back to your own by saying something to the effect of, “I can’t speak to the quality or ingredients used in Suzie Soap’s products, but this is what I offer.” Keep your comments neutral and clean; taking the high road will leave a lasting, positive impression on your customers.

Your current and potential consumers are some of the most important people that you will ever interact with. Each one presents an opportunity to educate about the importance of handcrafted products and the incredible entrepreneurs that produce them. When you provide an experience and not just a “stop-and-shop”, you are encouraging buyers to be loyal and in turn, they are supporting your dream.

Remember: It is so much easier to be nice, to be respectful, to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and try to understand how you might help, than it is to try to mend a broken customer relationship.” –Mark Cuban


It’s Here! Canadian Insurance

Good News from the HSMG for Canadians!

Insurance for Canadian soap and bath and body artisans is now here! Affordable insurance is now available to our Canadian colleagues. For just $400, plus $100 for Guild membership, you will have the same great insurance package that our US members enjoy.

Your coverage includes:

$2,000,000 General Aggregate Limit
$2,000,000 Products-Completed Operations Aggregate Limit
$1,000,000 Personal and Advertising Injury Limit
$1,000,000 Each Occurrence Limit
$300,000 Damage to Rented Premises Limit
$5,000 Medical Expense Limit

Just joining the Guild?

Great! Simply go to the Guild site: and follow instructions. Once you become a member, proceed to the insurance portion and put the insurance package into your account. You will then be directed to the Canadian company to pay.

In a day or two, you’ll be ready to sell in the US and Canada!

Already a member?

Pro-rated terms are also available. Just call the office, 518-306-6934 to get help determining your rate, which will be based upon how much of the year you have left on your membership.

This is an exciting development for the Guild and our Canadian members. Be sure to pass this information along to other Canadian soapmakers!

Don’t wait. Call today!

Get to Know Our Vendors – Willow Way/

You may be surprised to learn that Ron and Debi began the same way as many of us—in their kitchen. They happened upon Sandy Maine’s, The Soap Book, and, interested in a natural, healthy lifestyle, they decided that making their own soap was another way of practicing not only better living for themselves, but something better for the environment.

They began selling their soap and soon found themselves outgrowing their kitchen and moving to the barn. Ron and Debi knew that they needed to find easier, more efficient ways to manufacture their soap, so they developed quicker and more productive methods. Of course, this led to their inventing a soap cutter and a mold that allowed them to offer the best quality soap using the most effective ways.

Ron and Debi developed their Air Cutter in 1996, and once they cut their first batch with it, they knew they had something that other soapmakers would love to use, and thus began their expansion into equipment for soapmakers.

If you peruse their website(, you will find everything you need to make soap, from beginner kits to professional equipment that make it possible to manufacture many thousands of bars each month. Moreover, they have, over time, expanded into equipment for many other body products.

Their love and pride in both their business and the industry shows by their constant dedication to quality and to the individual soapmaker. In fact, they played a part in starting the HSMG and are vendor members of the Guild. What’s more, they also support every soap gathering they find.

Ron says, “. . . we would not be who we are today, without the help of people who work in the company. We have an amazing team, scattered in several towns, states and of varied talents and interests. We are truly a modern company, using all the latest technologies, but with time-honored values.”

Keep up the good work, Soap Equipment!