Before I started my online T-shirt design business, I used to wonder why online vendors were so rude. They would respond with one line replies containing barely enough information to address your concern and will almost always act like you’re a nuisance for even asking. Meanwhile they never put the right pricing information on the advertisement and have no website to find any info. Women were particularly tense during enquiries and I eventually understood why. It was when I started business that I realized how incredibly annoying some potential buyers can be.
The truth is that different people approach you for different reasons. Many of them want to have access to you and would never find that in-road if you were not trying to sell something. This is why they always try to adjust the conversation from a strictly business one by inserting light jokes at first to gauge your reaction. Then if in trying to be a good sport, you laugh at it they will take that as encouragement to migrate from that to informal conversation then to lewd discussions.
Here’s how I never had that happen to me. First of all I opened a proper business page on flutterwave where I put everything relating to my products: the price, delivery costs, pictures of available designs, payment links and order tracking functionality. I then made sure that in every single advert, I put the price of the item along with the flutterwave link. This worked for 80% of my potential customers and I would just get orders on my email and despatch the t-shirts. However, there were some twitter folk who came for other reasons and thought they had found a way in. In most cases they would start with a common sense enquiry about how many days it will take them to get their order and then end with “what can I do to get a free t-shirt?”, “can i get your number so i can follow up on my order?”, “let me send you my picture so you can tell me which one will size my big boobs”… Or introduce some flattery of my creativity in the hope that the conversation will go on long enough to morph into more personal topics.
My strategy was simple: Keep it extremely short and always address a business issue per reply. If there was no business issue apparent in your message to me, I simply ignore and wait till there is one. If per chance you succeed in moving the conversation to unwanted territories, I simply redirect the conversation right back to the actual original subject matter all the time till you get the point. Here’s an example:
Customer: Hello, I looked through your designs and like them.
Me: [no reply]
Customer: [waits for eternity and realizes I don’t fall for compliments, then…] I wanted to buy Medium White Design of the I Told You So t-shirt
Me: Hello, thanks a lot, I’m glad you like the designs. Yes, the White Medium Design you have mentioned is available please order using this link [I attach the link]
Customer: Okay thanks, I was wondering if you have the design in other colors
Me: All available designs and details are on the website. You can place, pay for and track your order on the website as well. Thank you for your patronage. :::THE END:::
Please tell me how you as the customer will come back from the finality of that last line. And if you do, I will definitely not reply going forward because there’s nothing that will add any additional value to the entire conversation or aid you in placing or not placing an order. Well unless you want to know if I customize personal requests or other business related legitimate questions.
I know that I was not relying on that business for my daily livelihood so not everyone can afford this ‘take it or leave me’ approach, but I find that it is usually (not always) when you appear desperate to make a sale, that people capitalize on the vibe to introduce untoward conversation. I hope you find this tip useful, treat yourself with dignity and insist on your respect. Normally others feel the vibe and respect it.