We all ask this question, one time or another, when working with stores buyers: Am I being too pushy?
I’ve worked in sales, on and off, since I was 10 or 12 years old. In order to succeed in sales, you are expected to be pushy …. at least to some extent. But what is too pushy?
Clare at Indie Retail Academy wrote a newsletter recently sharing some great guidelines on the subject or being pushy or not. Here are some of her tips:
Worried about seeming pushy when you sell to stores?
Because you really, really don’t need to worry about looking pushy.
1. You’ve already done the hard part, which is convincing a retailer to buy your work for the first time….
2. Your stockist (buyer) is secretly hoping you’ll become their go-to supplier, and that can’t happen if they never hear from you…
To make that happen, you have to show up and give them something to be loyal to….
3. Retailers continually need items to put on their shelves.
Choosing stock is a never-ending, laborious process for your stockist….
4. Retailers have shorter sales cycles than ordinary customers.
In other words, we’re ready to buy again much more quickly, even if we spent a lot of money last time. What would seem insanely pushy to a retail customer is perfectly normal to your stockists.
5. Spending money on stock isn’t painful for retailers….
Spending money on stock generally isn’t so painful for retailers – it actually makes us feel organized and in control.
So when you say “Would you like to place another order” remember that we’re not hearing “Can I tempt you to a quick dip in this pool of molten lava?”
6. You find ways to let your stockist do the talking.
Smart artists know that if they want to get orders from their stockists, they have to understand them. So from the beginning, they create opportunities to ask questions and encourage the retailer to open up.
It’s impossible to come across as pushy when you’re listening.
7. You understand what you’re actually selling (and it’s not just your product.)
When you get in touch with a store to see if they’re ready for another order, you’re also offering them a lot of other desirable things too.
Perhaps it’s peace of mind, because when you say their delivery will arrive on Friday, you actually mean it. Or maybe you’re offering a sense of relief, because you include a list of common questions about each item, making it easy for the retailer to train their staff….
8. You care about what happens after they buy….
You can show you’re different by helping the store to sell your work. You might provide free gift boxes or display stands. You might send over merchandising ideas, or offer to create a whole window display for a local shop.
These are all ways of saying “What you want matters to me and I’m willing to help you achieve it,” which is the opposite of pushy.
9. You don’t have to work your angle.
Pushy sellers force their own choices onto their customers….
Forget that if your stockist places another order, you’ll make money. Ignore your sales goals for a little while. Instead, just be there for your stockist. Guide them through their options. Put your skill, experience and energy at their service.
Make helping them get what they want and need your top priority.
10. You accept that you won’t always get instant results.
What do pushy salespeople want? To close the sale. ..
Instead of springing a discount, promotion or offer on your stockist and expecting her to make up her mind immediately, give her space.
Don’t make things so open-ended that there are no time limits at all because that encourages retailers to prevaricate, but give them reasonable notice. Also be aware that not every pitch you make will result in a repeat order, every time….
11. Your stockist likes you….
So like her back. Get in touch and be helpful. Show her new items, ask her opinion, offer her free shipping.
When you get down to it, a strong, profitable wholesale partnership has lots in common with a friendship. It needs your time and attention to flourish.
12. If you’re worrying about seeming pushy, you almost certainly aren’t.
Great tips and great advice!