Ways to Combat Fear of Rejection

I find that most crafters just don’t like to sell.  They love to create, but when it come down to going out and pitching their wonderful creations to retail buyers, they freeze up.

Believe it or not, even as ‘seasoned’ as I am at selling, there are still those moments where those same fearful thoughts go through my head:  “Maybe they won’t like me or my products.”Ways to Combat Fear of Rejection

Heck, everyone deals with the fear of rejection!

Let me offer up a few tips that can help:

  1. Remember that the buyer is just friend you haven’t met yet!
    As silly as that may sound, it works to calm down before walking into the buyer’s office.  Retail buyers are just people — no different than you or me.  Don’t give them more power by making them more than what they are.
  2. Learn to stop talking and listen.
    Good salespeople are the ones that talk less and listen more.  Of course, you need to present your products, sharing features, pricing and terms, but after that, listen to the response from your buyers.  Buyers don’t change their mind just because they didn’t have a chance to speak. But they might reveal what they’re really thinking when you stop talking and let them share their thoughts.  .
  3. Train yourself to respond appropriately to rejection.
    In other words, don’t settle for accepting a no response at face value.  Maybe the negative response is directed at the color, flavor or scent — but not the product itself.  Maybe the item rejected is a part of your terms or shipping options.  Learn to ask questions.  When a rejection is expressed, find out what they don’t like and explore what would work for the buyer.
  4. Focus and visualize the response that you want.
    Don’t spend your time worry and fussing over a possible negative outcome.  That will create a self-fulfilling prophecy!  Visualize the buyer loving your product and placing a nice order.  This small exercise helps to maintain confidence during the sales process.
  5. Give them specific choices rather than giving them yes or no questions.
    A very effective way of closing a sales is asking them if they would like option A or option B.  Better yet, develop an ‘opening order’ which contains a good mix of your top selling items.  Now you have the option of asking them if they want product A or product B or your Opening Order option.

 

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Creating Standard Wholesale Terms

With everyone I coach, I tell them they need to set up their wholesale system before they even consider approaching their first retail buyer.  Even if you are on the fence about selling wholesale, you still might think about what you are gonna say (or do) should a retail buyer approach you at a craft fair or holiday booth and ask if you wholesale your products.Creating Standard Wholesale Terms

I’ve heard horror stories from producers who decided to just cut their retail price in half (before doing the research) to come up with a wholesale price for buyers.  BIG MISTAKE!  First, your wholesale price should never be determined as a percentage of your retail price!!  Second, you can catch yourself in a losing situation by pricing your unique products at a loss just to sell wholesale!

That is just one example.

Even after you have your pricing in line, there are other areas that you may not have considered before wholesaling.  (PS.  If you do not have a copy of my Wholesale Quick Start Guide, I suggest you sign up for my free weekly newsletter and you will receive the Guide for free!!)

Wholesale in a Box lists some good guidelines to follow when setting up and using appropriate wholesale terms:

Compromising Your Wholesale Terms Makes You Sick + Snippy

Do’s and don’ts for setting terms and deciding how to maintain them:

  • DON’T set unnecessarily rigid or strict terms in the first place.
    Don’t throw in a bunch of terms for good measure or to “seem professional.” Set terms that you think are simple and important and feel necessary. That way, when it comes time to maintain those boundaries, they feel intuitive and important to you…
  • DON’T use legalese.
    Sometimes makers write their terms in a severe, off-putting, confusing, aggressive type of language. Yes, it’s important to have clear terms. But it’s also important to state those terms in a way that is human, friendly, and approachable.
  • DO maintain your boundaries in a friendly way.
    I’m not sure why, but when people maintain a boundary, sometimes they do so in a way that sounds frustrated, snippy, stern, or condescending. Remember that no one can make you violate a business boundary without your permission — and so you can maintain your boundary and uphold your terms in a way that’s cheerful, kind, and warm. And that difference in tone may likely be the difference between losing the sale and gaining a stockist for the long term.
  • DO use your emotions as an early-warning sign.
    Anger, resentment, and fear are indications that you may need to set or strengthen a boundary. Sometimes it’s a boundary with a specific person and other times it is a general boundary between yourself and your business. If a store owner’s request makes you feel scared and frustrated, it’s likely that a warm and polite “no” is in order.

Good tips and good advice!

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Five Starter Tips for Selling Wholesale

Approaching and selling to retailers is a unique experience for every store you visit.  The approach you use with one store may not work as well as on another.  But there are a few things that nearly all store buyers respond to.

Following is an article, by Kath Chown, originally published on the Create & ThriveFive Starter Tips for Selling Wholesale website explaining five starter tips to selling wholesale.  Note that the author ran her own store and is sharing her preferences when being approached in her store.

Top five things you need to know when selling your goods wholesale

1. The best possible way to approach a shop is softly.

Don’t bring your suitcase of wares into their store like a traveling salesman – that’s always been my pet peeve!

Scope out any potential stockists and visit the store either in person or online to see if it’s a good fit.

If you want to just mention you make something fabulous, that’s great; then take my card and email me your catalog, I can’t wait to see it!

2. The shop expects you to be professional above all else.

Provide a catalog which is easy to read and with clear images and a simple way to order.

Make sure you can give an invoice that fits with the needs of the tax regulations in your country.

You will need to be able to fill their orders quickly and within an agreed time-frame. How long does it take you to make 20 items? How about 100?

3. Make sure you’re not short-changing yourself on price.

Working your fingers to the bone for minimum wage probably isn’t what you dreamed of when you started your own business.

Make sure you’ve figured out your pricing so you can pay yourself properly for your time – even if all you do is sell wholesale.

4. Most shops will need a minimum 100% mark-up on your wholesale price.

This is the answer which is usually hardest to swallow for a creative.

Why do they need to mark-up 100%? That sounds ludicrous and it feels weird that they will be making more profit on your item that you do.

One of the great things about a home-based business is that you have very few overheads compared to a retail business.

You don’t pay:

  • large amounts of rent for a retail space
  • fit-out on a shop
  • loads of fluro and security lights (some which stay on overnight)
  • security system
  • staff to have the store open 7 days a week
  • stationery and other incidentals which keep a shop running etc.

So the retailer needs to make enough money in their mark-up to pay for all these things and still pay themselves a wage.

If I could make more than the 100% mark-up in my retail store, it went a long way to making my business viable and eventually profitable.

5. You need to supply exactly what you would send to a customer.

This includes all the packaging and business cards to go along with purchases.

Always check with the retailer if your packaging is particularly large and isn’t for display with your items as they will need to find a place to store it.

Make sure you provide a copy of the invoice when you fill the order and follow up every couple of months to ensure the retailer is happy and to let them know about new products.

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Are You Just Starting Out Wholesaling to Retailers?

Working in the business of wholesaling to retailers for over 15 years, I think I heard the following question more frequently than I remember:

“I am just starting out wholesaling to retailers.  What do I do?” (or something along that line.)

The question is way too general for me to give any kind of effective answer.  I don’t know what their product line is, what you have done already or what your plans are for your business.

In order to give a respectable answer, I wrote this article on starting out wholesaling.

  1. First, I suggest you look at what products to plan to offer a store buyer.  If you have a line of one product, you are wasting time selling wholesale.  Buyers are looking for a line of products — at least three items that compliment each other, are different colors, flavors or scents of your original product.
  2. Sign up for my email list and receive a free copy of my reports which will help you understand the wholesale/retail terminology and help you get the appropriate systems in place to wholesale.  (If you are already on my email list and do not have a copy of these reports, reply to this email and I will get them to you):
    • Quick Start Guide for Setting Up Your Wholesale Systems
    • Glossary of Industry Terms:  Wholesale/Retail Industry
  3. Once all your systems are in place (listed in the Quick Start Guide), you are ready to focus on your first wholesale account.  Start with a local retailer where you can check out the store, meet the buyer/owner, and begin the process.  Don’t try to be everything to everybody because you are not!  Focus on accounts that sell similar products to your own.
  4. Listen to what the buyer is telling you.  The information you can glean from your first buyers can be very helpful in feedback on your product line, your sales materials and your presentation.Are You Just Starting Out Wholesaling to Retailers? Wholesale Business Consulting and Coaching

If you need further help, please check out my 1-on-1 Wholesale Coaching and Consulting Program where we explore your personal situation in more detail and work out a strategy that works best for you and your line of products!

 

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Three Reasons Why Buyers Don’t Buy

Buyers have many reasons why they don’t buy your products.  Sometimes, you just contacted them on a bad day or a bad moment in that day.

According to professional salespeople, three main mistakes can be easily avoided when dealing with buyers.  Andy Preston, a writer for the Sales Gravy website, lists the following avoidable mistakes in his article:

  • Sales Mistake Number 1 – Poor First Impression
  • Sales Mistake Number 2 – Not Taking A Genuine Interest
  • Sales Mistake Number 3 – Poor Last Impression

Sounds pretty simple, yet how can you avoid these mistakes.

Avoiding Mistake #1:  Take an interest in the store when you visit them.  Ask them about their store, about their customers, or about items they may be looking for.

If you are talking on the phone or sending an email,  let them know that you did your homework before the contact by commenting on why you decided to call them.  One way to do open your sales conversation is by saying:  “I was looking at your website and I see you carry ABC Company’s product.  That is a wonderful line.  You know, in most stores that sell this line also sell my XYZ products successfully.”

Avoiding Mistake #2:  Direct your concerns for the buyer by making sure you chose a good time to visit or call them.  Respect their busy schedule and remember that their customers are more important than you!

It was not uncommon, while I was road repping, that I would make an appointment only to find that the buyer’s time was limited because of some last minute changes in schedule etc.

One time in particular, I was visiting a candy shop when her ice cream supplier showed up, unexpectedly, with several gallons of ice cream that needed to be put away immediately.  When I saw the dilemma, I immediately offered to help her put the ice cream in the freezer.  Fifteen minutes later, she was rested, relieved and willing to buy from me.

Avoid Mistake #3:  Making a good last impression is just as important as making a good first impression.  What you do after you take the order is critical in obtaining re-orders.

Checking in with the buyer a week or so after you ship their order to check to make sure the order happily arrived in good condition.  And, believe it or not, it often prompts the buyer to get the products on the shelf quicker!  But mostly, it shows that you care about your buyer and their store!

A little common courtesy can go a long way in dealing with buyers before and after they purchase your products!

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