Are you too afraid or apprehensive to wholesale your products to retail buyers?
Time and time again, I hear horror stories of producers and crafters who are too fearful to approach buyers with their products.
On some level, I understand this fear — and in all reality, most sales reps would be out of business if artisans did not feel this way.
Yet on the other hand, in order to hire a sales, you need to show some sales stats for your products — in other words, you need to have some wholesale accounts already in place!
I love how Indie Retail Academy shares their solution to this problem in their recent article and e-letter. Here are a couple of their points:
“I have no idea what to say to a shopkeeper about my work.”
The good news: Yeah you do. It may not feel like it, and you may feel apprehensive about doing so, but you already know exactly the right words to say.
The bad news: If you let it, this hang-up can keep you stuck for a very long time.
The solution: Forget about wholesale for a while and just get comfortable writing and talking about what you do. Knowing what to say to any kind of buyer comes down to two things: confidence in your work and seeing things from their point of view.
“I’m an artist, not a salesperson. I hate having to do this and I totally suck at it.”
The good news: No-one’s asking you to be a salesperson. You’re an artist. Your potential stockists and customers very much want you to stay that way.
The bad news: You can’t stay in your comfort zone AND build a thriving wholesale business. Sooner or later, you’ll have to tackle things you’re currently uncomfortable with.
The solution: Expand your idea of what an artist does – and accept that not everything you’re called upon to do will come easily. If you really want to make a go of wholesale, you have to go beyond what you’ve done before.
But you know what else? You can do it your way. If you’re an artist, sell like an artist. Learn how. Invent a way that works for you.
And for Pete’s sake, don’t let out-dated ideas about used-car salesmen …. stop you.
Believe it or not, I was afraid and apprehensive the first time I approached a store buyer. But, you know what? … the buyer did not know I was a newbie! They were interested in what I had to offer (ironically, I had only ONE line of chocolate bars when I first started my sales rep business!).
Once again, my favorite advice is what got me through those early months of sales repping:
Don’t be apprehensive about talking to store buyers: they are just friends you haven’t met yet!