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Anyone want to give me some encouragement?


daniedb
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I'm moving to a place with my business where I'm ready to actively pursue wholesale accounts. Right now, I sell exclusively retail, and 99% of it online, and I've found great success with it. However, I really want to have my items in boutiques and get more exposure, plus, I wouldn't have to ship a zillion small orders for a wholesale account!

Anyway, this is my sticking point: I'm a freaking chicken. I get all flushed and nervous and stammer-y when I start to try to "sell" my products, which is why I haven't tried before. My passion lies in creating, making, testing, and talking about my products, not in trying to sell someone on why they're good and why they should carry them.

There's a very nice boutique in town that I'm going to be calling in the next day or two (as soon as I get the nerve up), and I"m fairly certain that she's not going to be mean and brush me off rudely, as she's a friend of our family's and I even registered there for our wedding and brought her about a thousand in business during that process. I'm still just terrified that she's going to be like, "Ew. Your products are...um...not so much." and the blow to my ego would be huge!

So, tell me how it's going to be fine, and how even if she says no, she's going to be nice, and how that which doesn't kill me makes me stronger, okay?

And now, then nerd that I am, I'm going off to type a general script for what to say so I don't get all, "Ummmm, hi. I'm Danielle? And I make soap and stuff? Um, I'm sure you don't want to? But maybe I could beg you to put some in your shop?" :P

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daniedb, you said it yourself -

"My passion lies in creating, making, testing, and talking about my products,"

You have the passion for it - which means you are giving it your very best! Not even knowing you or your product I am positive that your passion for creating, making and testing assures that your product is great! And you wouldn't have that passion for talking about your product if you didn't put out a great product!

Just go for it! It is going to work out great I am sure!

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I know what you mean about geting all stuttery. Do what you did with your products - test. By that I mean do a test run of you presentation to her. Pick a friend who will give you honest feedback and run your speech past him or her. And keep doing it until you are comfortable with what you want to say. Make yourself up a check list of info you want to cover. And practice! Be sure to take a price list with wholesale and suggested retail prices for your items and of course samples of your stuff. Go in with a smile on your face and keep that smile plastered on your face. And you'll do just fine.

By the way it's against the law for her to behead you. The worst that can happen is her saying your products aren't appropriate for her shop. Then say thanks for your time. I really appreciate you hearing me out - and mean it.

Good luck.

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Let your products speak for themselves. Don't be nervous, because you KNOW that your products rock. Plan out every detail of what you want her to know, write it down, so that you don't forget. Ask her if she has questions, so that she can question you about anything that you might have forgotten.

Type up your prices, quantities, etc. Just be prepared, and it will all be fine.

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If there is any one thing that will sell product over anything else, it's enthusiasm. I see it every day in the car business (I've been selling Toyotas for about 3 years).

I've watched new salespeople come into the sales force, not knowing anything about the product, but having overwhelming enthusiasm and self-confidence because they're excited to be out there talking to people with the anticipation of making money.

Without exception, they set the world on fire their first month. Some of them continue to exhibit the same enthusiasm month after month. Those are the superstars of the car business as they meld product knowledge with their enthusiasm. Others gain product knowledge, but slack off on the enthusiasm and slowly but surely, die on the vine and go away.

You already have tremendous product knowledge, now all you need is the right mental attitude. Concentrate on how you will address what the buyer wants to hear, how you will increase the bottom line on her books. She isn't concerned about the process which you go through in making your products unless, in some way, it helps her sell your products.

There's an old line in sales, "sell the sizzle, not the steak", meaning tell your story so that the buyer visualizes new customers breaking down the door to get to your products again and again. Tell her how you intend to stock her store with scents and colors that have been proven by market research to be best sellers that will result in customer satisfaction and repeat business for her. Tell her that her success will mean your success and that you'll do everything in your power to make it happen for her.

I'll give you an example from the car business:

FEATURE, ADVANTAGE, BENEFIT

Feature:

Mrs. Buyer, this Camry uses a chemical cold gas system to inflate the air bags.

Advantage:

Some manufacturers still use the old..."explosive charge"... to inflate their bags.

Benefit: I'm sure you've spoken with folks who've been in an accident with the old system who've been severely burned on their face, neck and arms from the fire that's generated with the "explosive charge" system. That can't happen to you in this Camry.

Can you see what's going through the buyer's mind at this moment??? If I had stopped with the feature, there would have been no sizzle.

Adapt this way of presentation to your products and you'll be successful.

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I checked out your website, too, and your products look like they'd be perfect in a boutique. Treat your product like it is your child (after all, it is your "baby"). What I mean by that is, when asked about the redeeming qualities of your child, you wouldn't be at a loss for words, now would you? You could probably come up with a million things that are terrific about your kid. Be just as proud of the product you have created and let that show in your presentation. You will do fine, I'm sure!

And just remember, not everyone is always going to like our stuff. If she doesn't, just thank her for her time and get busy making more calls on other boutiques. From what I have seen, I'm confident there is someone out there that would be proud to carry your product line.

Best of luck to you! We are all rooting for you. :)

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You sound SO much like me! I much prefer to be unseen and unheard...just let me alone in my shop. Unfortunately, the world won't come to you, you have to go to them :( I am happy with web sales, though local representation is nice and stores usually love the idea of a locally made, quality product.

I do exactly what you are doing.. write it up in a word document and practice what you'll say and things you'll point out.

You will be FINE and she WILL be nice. Your products look awesome! I believe you will wow her.

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I'm like that too. When I would do shows before, I would beg hubby to go, he used to be a car salesman. I would watch him with a few customers and be good to go!! But he (or my sisters) would have to come to get the flow started. You will do fine...Take a deep breath before going in and relax. Be yourself.

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I'm not going to tell you that it's easy, because some people are natural sales people, but the one thing I would suggest is you not say "I'm sure you don't want to..." Starting out with negativity will not get you what you want. I would suggest, saying something like, "I've been in your store and love your stuff, would you be interested in some of my bath & body products? I think they would be perfect in a store like yours." You have to compliment her store, and also compliment your product. Just my opinion--I love the sales aspect.

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Hey everyone, I cannot thank you enough for your words of encouragement. After a lot of prayer, a lot of talking to myself, reciting my "lines", and lots of verbal encouragement from my H and from you guys, I finally called. We decided it would be good to just give her a quick phone call to schedule an appointment, instead of just dropping in on her.

So, I breathed deeply, popped a Xanax :P and dialed the number...and she wasn't there. She won't be in for another week! :shocked2: Argh! So...the good news is that I'm feeling much more confident, partly because I got to read your wonderful words, and partly because the world didn't crash down on my head when I actually talked to the lady who answered.

So, I'll update y'all again when I actually have some news, and in the meantime, my H and my mom (and my 19 month old!) are going to be sick of hearing me pitch my products over and over and over to them!

And just for kicks, here's the script I wrote for our initial phone conversation - feel free to critique it, since I have some time before I have to have nerves of steel again!

Hi Ann. This is Danielle P.

I was in the store buying some gifts for a friend a few days ago, and as usual, I was struck by how unique and beautiful your selections are that you carry.

I’m calling because I have a line of all natural home, body and baby care products as well as a home fragrance line that I spent over a year researching and developing.

I have a website, and currently retail exclusively online, but I feel strongly that my products would benefit from inclusion in a few, select, high end boutiques such as yours. By looking at your merchandise, it seems that your store would attract many of the same clients that become my best clients.

**I'll say this part only if she asks for more info about my target clientele**My products draw mothers with young children, single professionals, and women who have a strong desire to have a home and lifestyle that is as chemical-free and toxin-free as possible. These women don’t let financial constraints keep them from providing what they see as the very best and safest life for their children and themselves.**

I’d love to make an appointment with you to bring some samples and discuss my products. Would you be interested in setting something up?

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Woman~ you have some of the most professional looking products I've seen out there yet! I feel like anything I have is "childs play" next to what you have turned out! When she sees your stuff she will want to have it..I just know it. She would be insane not to. If it were me, I would try to let those products sell themselves based completely on how they look first..keep your phone conversation brief..and take them to her! She will see how professional they look, and it will only make her want to try them..I'm basing all of this on the way I feel when I see them on your website..it's HARD for me not to click BUY!! The eye buys...it's true..and I know that the passion you have put into each one of those products will be what keeps those customers coming back! I have complete faith in you-- Knock 'em Dead!!

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I'd shorten this down a little. Your objective in the phone call is not to sell your products over the phone, it's to sell the appointment so you can sell your products in person.

Here's an edited version of your pitch....

I was in the store buying some gifts for a friend a few days ago, and as usual, I was struck by how unique and beautiful your selections are that you carry.

I’m calling because I have a line of all natural home, body and baby care products as well as a home fragrance line that I spent over a year researching and developing that would complement your other lines.

I’d love to make an appointment with you to bring some samples and discuss my products. Is there a day and a certain time of day that you've set aside to discuss business with your suppliers?

DO NOT READ THIS TO HER OVER THE PHONE. Memorize it and deliver it naturally. Nothing is more of a turnoff than a canned pitch that you can tell someone is reading.

Another tip: Each time you call someone, SMILE while you're talking to them. Believe it or not, they can tell you're smiling and it will help to break the ice.

If she says "no, I have no specific times to see suppliers", then you say "GREAT, would tomorrow morning or tomorrow afternoon be better for you?" If she says "mornings are better", then you say "GREAT, I'll see you tomorrow morning at 10 A.M."

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Greetings!

I have a different "take" on this topic.

I believe that there are artisans/craftsman and there are salesmen/reps and sometimes they are NOT the same person all wrapped up into one.

Obviously you have developed a professional, attractive line. ( I have commented on your line before, looking very much like products for modern, well informed consumers. ( GREAT look to me! )

If you KNOW deep down that you are NOT a sales person, instead of trying to "learn" sales skills at a risk of your presentation not matching your products in style, class and quality, I would seriously consider searching your data bank of people you know that might just be the perfect person to promote your product for you to this boutique and others.

Sometimes it is much easier for someone to "blow your whistle" for you...and will blow it better than you can do yourself.

I am NOT trying to discourage you by any means. I want you to be a success and believe you deserve to be with your well developed line.

I just know that for me when I wanted the support of the ewomens conference, I sent in someone from the Junior League that promoted me much better than I could have to that market.

You may have a friend or know someone that might gladly help you with this.

I hope that you dont think I am saying you can not do it. I KNOW you can, but even though we are all basically sales people ( we have to sell ourselves everyday ), some people are better at it than others, and if you have the perfect person around you that might could help, why not utilize them? Professional companies hire professional people to promote them and sell them all the times.Sometimes it makes you appear more successful to NOT peddle your own line. People like doing business with people that are already successful! ( Start with the end in mind )

I wanted to add that most business owners LOVE gifts. I have picked up lines before because they respected my time and sent very GENEROUS samplings prior to their calling/visit. I would knock her OUT with the gift basket and hand written note on fine stationary if I really wanted in there.Than I would do a follow-up, " Hope you enjoyed"..note. It will cost you a little but will be well worth it if she picks up your line. JMHO I would pull out all the stops and go in for the kill!

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I agree with the others Danielle, in that your products ROCK, they will definitely speak for themselves once you get them in front of her. :D

I also agree about not "selling" your products over the phone, simply state that you appreciate her fine store (your first line) and that you feel you have a line of products that you feel would fit right in with that.

Then tell her you want to set a time up to meet with her and show her all your wares. I like Richard's tactic of telling HER what time she'll be seeing you (if she doesn't have a specific time to do so), sooo many sales people do this, and it really seems to work-ask me how I know (last night a young woman (meaning about 18) came by selling magazine subscriptions and used this tactic on me, and I ended up buying from her, which is sooo unlike me! ;) )

I've seen your site, and I think everything is awesome, and I'm sooo happy for you that your website sales are doing sooo well-I hope someday to be half as good as you!!

Remember, you have products that you believe in, that others rave about, and she (the store owner) will feel/see that, when you get your foot in the door and start talking about it. :D

I can't wait to hear the next chapter in this saga!!

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I don't have words of wisdom for you seeing as I am not to that point yet, but I do have to say: Dang !!! Your products look fabulous! Your hard work has paid off. If and when I get my store I would definately put your products in it (minus the candles because I would have my candles in it)

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Just visited your web site. Your products are awesome. Agree with Richard, use the phone call to make an appointment not sell your products. With products that look as great as yours, they will sell themselves once she sees them. And I agree with DTD regarding giving her a gift sampler of your products. But I'm not sure someone else would have the passion for or knowledge of your products to do them justice on a sales call. Try this one yourself. Down the road you may be so busy you'll have to find a rep for your products. Will watch for your post next week.

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