I know, I know, selling is scary. Will the customer like your product? Will you seem too pushy? Will you not push enough? What if they reject you? How do you even start? These are many of the questions my clients ask me. The truth is selling is not as hard as you think. Just like anything you do there is a process. Following the process will help take the fear out of selling. The more you do it the easier it becomes and the better you get at it. As entrepreneurs we need to get over our fear because without sales there is no business. Even if you hire great salespeople, business owners who involve themselves in sales have better results. Buyers love when the owner cares enough about their business to interact with them. Here are my 5 tips to selling your brand to store
Have a brand story
“The best brands are built on great stories.“—Ian Rowden, Chief Marketing Officer, Virgin Group
Your Brand Story is the narrative that, in the telling, portrays the heart and soul of your brand and emotionally connects your brand with the consumer. Calling an account and telling them you have contemporary dresses does not have the same impact as telling the story behind your contemporary dresses. We used to call it romancing the brand.
Create a target list of stores
“Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all your energies on a limited set of targets” —Nido Qubein, President, High Point University
One of the mistakes that I see salespeople make is trying to sell their product to everyone. If you think about it, you realize there is a certain kind of store that gets your ideal customer. Those are the retailers you want to sell to. They not only will be more interested in your collection but chances are will be more successful with your line.
Identify the decision maker
“Selling to lower or mid-level employees is a multi-step process. If they’re not a decision maker, then that person then must persuade their manager or executive to make the ultimate purchasing decision most-likely losing much of your intended message.” — Stuart Leung, SEO, Manager, Salesforce
It’s all well and good to speak to salespeople or gatekeepers at a store in order to get a lay of the land. But don’t count on them to sell your product to the buyer. No one knows your product like you do and the best way to communicate it’s greatness is to talk to the decision maker yourself.
Come up with a strategy
“The chief strategist of an organization has to be the leader – the CEO.” – Michael Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor
Planning your approach is key. Are you doing an email campaign, a phone campaign, direct mail , or all of the above. A specific strategy consistently applied bears the best results. As the owner you are the one who needs to set it up.
Ask for the sale
“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.” —Nora Roberts, Author
I still can’t believe how many sales people never ask their prospect or customer for a buying decision! You need to actually ask. It is not enough to just make a great presentation and expect that to close the sale. Salespeople sometimes think if the customer wanted it they would have bought it. But the truth is some buyers need a nudge. Besides if you don’t ask than if there are customer objections you won’t be able to counter them.
Once I was trying to sell a store chain. I kept calling the buyer for the order. When I finally got her on the phone she explained that the reason she hadn’t placed the order yet was she was trying to place her basics first and she needed to find a company that made them. I ended up offering her the basics which I made especially for her and she placed a half of a million dollar order. Not bad!
Maria Pesin knows fashion, especially the business side of the fashion industry. Do you know how Manolo Blahnik got his start in the industry? How he leveraged a paltry 3 grand into one of the world’s most famous luxury brands? While she doesn’t take credit for Manolo’s success, Maria has walked a similar path on numerous occasions. The world of fashion is not silicon valley, and it has nothing to do with Madison Avenue marketing. In this industry there is ALWAYS room for something new and exciting, but you have to have your ducks in a row. If that’s what you need, believe me, Maria is the General Patton of fashion ducks!
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