Monthly Archives: November 2010

are you a good salesperson? take the quiz

Now that Graham and I are wily veterans of the sales world (having pounded the pavement for five solid days now), we’d like to share our expertise with you, dear reader, in quiz form:

1. How should you dress when making sales calls?
a. Consider your potential buyers’ level of formality and dress accordingly
b. Consider the least wrinkled items in your hamper
c. “For success”
d. “Used-car-salesman” chic

 

2. What is the first thing you should do when entering a store?
a. Smile and make eye contact with the manager
b. Browse through the merchandise to see if yours would be a good fit
c. Note exit locations in case of fire
d. Note exit locations in case of humiliating rejection

3. How should you present your merchandise to a potential buyer?
a. Via a well-organized package including product photos, line sheets, contact info, and order forms
b. By acting shifty and holding open one side of your trench coat
c. Through a long-winded, one-sided sales pitch
d. By setting up a display on his or her desk after arm-sweeping all desktop items onto the floor

4. When asked a technical question about your product, you should
a. Be prepared to answer it accurately and succinctly
b. Refer to your company’s specialized handbook, page 315
c. Stare blankly
d. Fake a tracheal blockage and flee the store

5. If a potential buyer says, “No, thank you,” you should
a. Not take it personally; your product is simply not a good fit for his or her store
b. Weep until you’re asked to leave
c. Ask “why?” Repeat ad nauseum.
d. Check back daily until the restraining order is officially filed

6. When the meeting is over, a good thing to do is
a. Thank the buyer for his or her time
b. Mark the building’s exterior with a spray-painted “X” so you know you’ve already stopped there
c. Squeal your tires as you drive off
d. Follow up a few days later with an elaborate gift, such as a flat screen TV (don’t forget to file off the serial number)

We are purposely being elusive with the answers to this quiz so that you can reflect and ponder the kind of impression that “odd guy art” left with its customers. Good luck to you in all your sales!

Marie

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if “Plan A” doesn’t work, there’s B, C, and D

While a successful enterprise begins with a well-researched business plan, one must also remain flexible. “Odd guy art” is no exception.

Our intent when we started this T-shirt design company was to rely solely on internet sales. But when we launched six months ago, we were immediately met with, well, cyber silence – despite months of research and prep and eager attempts at social network marketing.

So we evolved a little. We designed a display stand and began selling at local events and outdoor summer markets. What a relief to see our sales take off! But we had to pack it up when summer came to an end. (If you’ve ever visited Wisconsin in the fall you’ll understand why we don’t sell our wares outdoors after mid-October).

So we evolved again. We researched some more (we are nothing if not stat junkies) and decided to sell our shirts wholesale. So far, we’ve had great initial success approaching retail shops, so we’ll add those venues to our repertoire .

Though we won’t give up on internet sales (patience, Grasshopper…), we are very pleased with the direction that “odd guy art” has taken. Statistics dictate that a successful internet presence takes two years to achieve, after all, and we are happy to do all we can in the meantime to serve you.

Oddly yours,

Marie

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sales calls: “odd guy art” style

 

Yesterday Graham and I packed up our gear and hit the road, hoping to convince area retailers to buy our T-shirts. That might sound simple (and ultimately, it was). But prior to this big event, we spent two months preparing. Here’s what we did:

1. We identified which stores to target. We asked ourselves, “Where would members of our demographic shop?” Based on that (and with our particular designs in mind), we chose art boutiques, bicycle shops, coffee shops, and art-related gift shops.

2. We calculated our wholesale pricing. Graham’s previous entrepreneurial experience was of great help here. We considered our material and labor costs to reach a reasonable wholesale price that retailers seemed pleased to accept.

3. We designed a wholesale marketing package. We bought yellow folders and filled each with the following: A line sheet identifying our products, full-color trifold T-shirt-shaped brochures, a full-color oversized postcard detailing our company, our business cards, and our order forms.

4. We re-researched our products and services. We wanted to be prepared to answer questions about our T-shirt composition, weight, country of production, and sizing, along with information on the screen printing process, shipping methods, and payment terms.

5. We developed a loose script and rehearsed it. Since we chose not to make formal appointments with prospective buyers, we wanted to keep our visits brief but fruitful. Our first question (after a cheerful greeting and an expression of sincere interest in their store) was, “Do you buy merchandise from independent vendors?” The conversations took off naturally from there.

6. We packed samples of our products. Depending on what type of store we entered, we brought in the samples of our merchandise that would most appeal to its customer base.

7. We made a follow-up spread sheet to fill in afterward. We listed the name and location of each store, contact information, date of contact, spaces for dates of future contacts, and notes on the visit and other particulars.

So far we’ve tackled our home city and its surrounding county. (Imagine our delight when the very first buyer said, “Yes!”). Next, we’ll hit the shops we’ve identified in nearby Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay. After that, who knows? Maybe you’ll spot an “odd guy art” shirt in YOUR city. In fact, if you have an artsy/clever/eclectic store in mind, please let us know! We’d be truly grateful.

Cheers!
Marie

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