#IndieBusiness Social Network

Enjoy Your Life! Build Your Business! Have Your Way!

This is the intro:

Being in business sees me wearing many different hats... and I absolutely love it! I am formulator on some days... and other days I am cleaner supreme and queen of the laundry room. I am organizer, book-keeper, product development officer, advertizing consultant, social media strategist, public relations director, chief soap maker extraordinaire, vacuum vixen, steam-shark siren, personal assistant, CEO, salesperson, customer service manager, team leader, and the list goes on and on and on. Ohhh, I love my many hats!

Today... on the direction of the Team Leader, I am to wear the sales rep hat. This was a directive passed down from the CEO herself. During last night's big board room meeting, phase two of Project Storm was brought to a successful conclusion, and the wholesale push starts today as phase three gets under way. This is exciting.

What I love about wearing different hats, are the duties that fall to each one. Wearing my sales rep hat, I have to get out there and sell my stuff. And the best part of it all is... I get to decide on how best to do it. Of course, I have to run my ideas past the Team Leader, who in turn runs it past the CEO... and every person in the chain of command is... me! I do take the different hats seriously though, and I never try to wear two at once. I mean... I can't have the cleaner making financial decisions on behalf of the company. I just know she'd contract the work out and wouldn't bat an eye at the cost! ;)

Today, wearing my sales rep hat... I will be on the phone, making appointments to strut my Manor Hall stuff. I am so going wholesale. Hello world!

This is the business gold:

Having a plan for going wholesale is important. It needn't be anything grand. Certainly you need to identify products that are cost effective to produce, in terms of labor and ingredients. And you'll need to have a price list... and maybe some printed sales sheets of your wares. A little wheelie bag wouldn't go amiss to house your products examples in, and maybe a neat folder to match in terms of color and co-ordination.

What else? Well basically, you just need get your glad rags out of the closet, make sure they're freshly laundered and... you're pretty well near ready. Make sure to wear your heels, because even if folk can't see you sitting in your chair, you still gotta feel the part and sit up proud, right?

 

All that remains is to commandeer a tidy desk somewhere quiet, with an appointment book and a phone.


This is the easy peasy how to:

1)   Make a list of local stores that you think may be a good fit for you, note their telephone numbers, and address.
2)  With your list to hand, sit at your uncluttered desk in your best sales rep outfit, and really feel the part.
3)  One by one, make your phone calls. You're a local business owner, and you wonder if you can personally call in next week sometime to introduce yourself and the kind of products you make.

note: Try to schedule all appointments for the same day... or same morning, etc. Making your appointments so that they follow on from each other means you'll get to walk tall in those CEO shoes for a real block of time, and your introductions will become easier and more practiced.

 

another note: Don't try to slump it in your pyjamas and slippers. Folk know 'slump" when they hear it!



This is the "Help, I'm lost" bit:

If you're not too hot on meeting people cold, then start the de-sensitization process by doing running commentaries when making and packaging your products. Something along the lines of, "Hello, I'm blah blah and this is how I make my facial grains." Talk all the way through each stage... and end your running commentary by holding up the finished product in your hand and showing it to your workspace as though the room was full of store owners. As each day in your workspace goes by, you'll soon find your voice for what's needed.

This is the pronouncement:

I pronounce Friday October 28th to be Phone-it-in Friday. In this economy, many small store owners are looking for new lines that have low minimum opening orders, and free shipping. Being Indie and staying local, means you can offer both. The time is right to phone it in!

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I was so tickled by your beautiful post, Susan, that I tried to comment from my phone.  It would not allow the post comment to take, but here I am, alas. 

 

Your comment, "Folk know slump when they hear it," floored me with laughter.  Oh so true!

 

I am swamped with wholesale accounts at the moment, but soon will be on the hunt for more (part of our boost-us-up 2012 business plan).  For Indie's that are start-ups - do not begin to think you do not need wholesale accounts.  Well, you might not need them if you have a product that totally blows things out of the ranks, but chances are wholesale will make (and will most likely not) break you.  It really is the way to make the volumes. 

 

Thanks, Susan (Manor Hall Soap CEO, Team Leader, project coordinator, soap house cleaner, and soap maker extraordinaire+)!!

 

- Mary from the Cincinnati, Ohio area

 

 

So... you know slump when you hear it too, hey Mary? How many calls do you field each week from the pyjama brigade. I know I get quite a few, and you really can hear it in their voice. :)

 

You're so right with the volume. It really does help with the monthly stats and figures, especially for the start-ups. Sales of six packs soon add up, and with only a few wholesale accounts many fledgling Indie businesses can be looking at doubling their yearly dollars at least.

 

It's great to hear your wholesaling is going well, especially for this time of year. Not without putting the work in though, hey? And you've got your little shop almost ready to serve folk. Business plan in action too! I think that's what you call a hat-trick. You go, Mary. It's an example for us all!

 

-Susan

Reach out. Make friends. Let's lift each other!


 

that is wonderful Mary that your wholesale accounts are doing so well.  

Dawnaurora - State College

 

Love it! Love it! Love it!  It's 9:17pm, I'm just getting in from being on a road trip with my guys all day and had to rush to the comp. to read my gal's Friday push (and the comments too). So glad I did!

All I can say is WOW and AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Some great nuggets here!  The practice without an audience is just what I need to do.  The thoughts of cold calling scares the bejeebers out of me.  I mean REALLY scares it out of me!  I imagine all sorts of questions that I just can't answer or subject matters that I have absolutely no clue what they are talking about or I envision myself totally acting a fool and stuttering or rambling on and on about something and nothing.  OH YES!  Will be practicing like crazy around here until I get it down pat and can do it in my sleep without thinking. Yes ma'am!  I'm on the practicing thing.  Gotta get comfortable in my skin and speech and own it, baby!

Sales rep outfit for calling, eh?  Don't slump it in the pj's, huh?  Rats!  Guess that means no ponytails either? Well..... If I must, then I must!  Don't have to like it to do it, right?  Can't have people hearing me slumping....no ma'am!  

 

I so agree with you too, Ms. Mary.  You need wholesale to make the volume. You learn very quickly that bar by bar, bottle by bottle and jar by jar is great but it takes volume to push hard enough to move mountains.  The plan here is to push for more wholesale accounts in 2012 too.  I won't be doing the phone thing today but it's coming.  I've got a heart's desire and a goal that must be reached and it will have major power behind it, thanks to all the great advice and wonderful support of my Indie gal's and guys here.

 

Looking forward to hearing from others on this and how everyone does with there Phone It In Friday motivation. Thanks Susan, for just what I needed, just when I need it.

 

Ginger in Chattanooga

Yes, Ginger... you have to dress for the occasion! It brings forth such positivity from within. ;)

 

Doing a running commentary when working on your own, does help tremendously with overcoming the collywobbbles of cold calling or talking to a group. So does "playing shop" with the closest person to you. The closest person to you knows you inside out... so nerves are real high when you start to role play. You're far more self conscious than you would be with a neighbor or friend. The "posh voice" starts... you stumble for words as you get your products out of the bag, and then it's like... complete embarrassment. So, you start again, and gradually it all tones down in the self conscious stakes. Before you know it, you just become yourself with a real a professional edge. Playing shop works for kids, and teaches them much about communication. It works for adults in the same way too.

 

You will get your heart's desire, and you will reach your goal, Ginger. You've a great determination that's only rivaled by your passion. That's got Indie stamped all over it. Go, girl!

 

-Susan

Reach out. Make friends. Let's lift each other!


I didn't have time to read this until now (10:00 Saturday night).  I've got a pile of wholesale and private label customers, more contacting me in interest, others whose names I got from a friend or employee of the person and still others...  Oh my!  I need to do follow-ups.  Yet, I've got three shows coming in up in six weeks, my VP of Marketing and Product Development wants to add two Christmas scents (and sets) to her line and there's also school in there.

 

With school getting over fairly late in the day sometimes, it's not always easy to get those calls in.  I have noticed, though, that I'm more motivated making those calls on school days when I've already disciplined myself to "dress the part."  Generally, the part is of "teacher" (sometimes on casual Friday, even though it might be Tuesday), but I'm not in bum wear.  I save the bum wear days for production and the dress-up days for administrative work.  I love calling with that smile in my voice and that lace of Southern charm and shmoozing up to my customers.  It's part of customer service - talking to them, hearing their needs, tossing ideas around - and I love it!

 

(Update on the employment thing coming up on that thread so as not to hijack Susan's.)

 

~Sara

Susan,

Repeat:

1)   Make a list of local stores that you think may be a good fit for you, note their telephone numbers, and address.
2)  With your list to hand, sit at your uncluttered desk in your best sales rep outfit, and really feel the part.
3)  One by one, make your phone calls. You're a local business owner, and you wonder if you can personally call in next week sometime to introduce yourself and the kind of products you make.

That's also golden! In today's world of social media and blogs, we sometimes forget that our best sales tool is often the plain old telephone. That's true for every single business in the planet, no matter what you sell.

I don't sell a few products, but mostly services, and I cannot tell you how much increased business I enjoy on a weekly basis because I call people and talk to them one-on-one on the telephone. I use email. I use my blog. I use this site. I use every resource at my disposal. But the phone works better much of the time, than anything else.

Pick up the phone and make those sales calls. Do it. It works.

Thanks for this super advice, Susan!

dM

 

Thanks for this Susan!  I'm still getting things up and running but when I'm ready, I'm sure going to use this as a resource!  

 

I just was able to read this now, but great information Susan.  Thanks so much for sharing this with us.  

Here is too Indie Ladies taking business to the next level.

Dawnaurora - State College Indie Director

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