Sales transactions have been part of our lives since the dawn of time. You are always ‘transacting’ in some or other way, however big or small. You often don’t even realise this, as it is commonplace in our day to day lifestyles. You become more directly aware of what exactly ‘sales’ entails when the roles of buyer & seller are reversed, & ‘you’ are now that seller, especially if it is in an entrepreneurial capacity. Suddenly terms like profit, loss, stock, quality, delivery timings, productivity, customer service, overheads etc. take on a whole new meaning & can feel quite daunting. Relax, you will soon find your own rhythm to match your pace. Hopefully the following tips & guidelines will help accelerate the ‘show me how to make money’ process! So, let’s do this!
- Define what type of business this is to you
Is your business venture a side hustle or full time undertaking? Unnecessary stress is caused when these lines are blurred. If this is clear to you from the get-go then it will help you set clear overall goals as well as realistic daily/monthly targets on what you are aiming to achieve.
- Set goals
Setting goals creates order & structure. It also provides parameters within which to focus your time and energies. Break your goals down into monthly, weekly & daily targets. Like the saying goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” Well-known preacher, Francis of Assisi, summarized it as, “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, & suddenly you are doing the impossible!”
Let’s simplify this. Consider this scenario: You bought a few lines of accessories, including 150 hair scrunchies. You are really keen to sell all the scrunchies within the next month but you are unsure how that is even possible considering that you have 150 of them! Set goals like this:
- 150 scrunchies to be sold within a 30 day month could be achieved with goals like this:
- Your weekly target: approximately 38 scrunchies (38 scrunchies x 4wks= 152)
- Daily target: approximately 6 scrunchies per day based on a 6 day week (6 x 6)
Suddenly it does not seem unreasonable – right? Now you’re unstoppable!
- Set reasonable targets
Be realistic about the targets that you are trying to achieve as this will make achieving your goal/s more practical, reasonable & achievable. In this instance for example, don't aim to sell 150 scrunchies but then you're only targeting your 3 closest neighbours.
- Have a target market in mind
This will help you focus your energies on whom you actually want to get 'buy in' from. From the outset, it will help you streamline your future plans to grow & maintain your clientele database. Let’s use the scrunchies as an example again. Now that you know what the goals & targets are around this line of stock, you need to now focus on whom you would like to try & sell it to, to drive the sales. Target markets could include:
- Children’s school friends & parents
- Church Congregation
- Gym buddies / acquaintances
- Understand your target market
Once you have selected a target market / audience, do research on what their needs & wants are in relation to what you are selling. Use different research methods to understand why they are following certain trends, styles etc. This will guide you on what type of products to sell to them & help boost your sales.
- Examples on where / how to sell your products
- Advertise stock lines on your Whatsapp status & try & secure orders
- If you have a big online following or you are trying to grow your followers while growing your business, have fun on social media by posting fun content around your stock
- Book a spot at local craft markets
- Sell via contacts who work in office blocks
- Baby showers (check with organizer & mom-to-be if ok to do so before or at end of function)
- Bridal showers (check with organizer & bride-to-be if ok to do so before or at end of function)
- Follow up on prospective sales
If there was a potential lead or interest in a product or service that you are selling, follow up soon after. Do not be overbearing in your approach, be casual but try & fit in features & benefits reminders of your products / services. Try and close the sale.
- Know your products
Know the key features, benefits & detail of your products. This will give you leverage & edge if someone is trying to compare your product / service to that of a competitor. You will immediately have comebacks for what makes your products / services unique. A person who is clued up on the products & services that they are selling are deemed as more honest in their sales pitch, knowledgeable in their field, & professional.
- Believe in what you are selling
Sales are easier achieved if you believe in what you selling because you will speak with passion about your products, regardless of what methods you are using to gain a sale: face-to-face, telephonically or using digital platforms. Sell with conviction!
- Look the part
If you are selling accessories, ACCESSORISE! One of the easiest ways to sell products that appeal to people’s image, is to tastefully showcase the products that you are selling. For example, in the case of accessories, everyday that you are out there selling selling selling, wear the hair accessories, wear the jewellery, rock that scarf or bandanna. Glam up your daily look. You will attract attention to your products, & people will be excited to see what you will be rocking from day to day, thereby landing potential new customers.
- Customer Interaction
When advertising, suggest how or with what products can be used / worn. This makes the sales experience fun, interactive & builds rapport with your customers.
- Avoid selling on credit
I see too many entrepreneurs & start-up companies making this mistake & then venting their ongoing frustrations on social media. It creates unnecessary stress on you having to follow up on late payments or short-paid amounts. The time you should be spending growing your business is then hampered by challenges like these.
- Customer Queries
Respond swiftly to customer queries however many times a person might have queries. That finicky customer could become one of your most loyal patrons.
- Be diligent with your stock holding
- Do weekly stock counts, or daily stock counts if you are moving stock fast.
- If you have lines that are selling well, or you are introducing new lines, ensure that you are well stocked up. Try & avoid being out of stock on these lines. Customers find it frustrating & sometimes when they look for similar products elsewhere, you might lose future sales from them, for good.
- Be professional
This applies to every aspect of how you run your business venture (how you conduct your sales, how you deal with customer queries & complaints, how reachable you are via your contact details, what content you post on social media etc.).
- Contact Details
- Ensure that the contact details that you advertise is correct.
- Be reachable on the platforms that you advertised as ‘contact details’. If you do not want to receive Whatsapp communication on your personal mobile number, rather activate a Whatsapp account on a different SIM card which is solely used for business correspondence. This will also help streamline communication.
- Customer Incentives
A quick & fun way to drive sales is to run promos. This could take many different formats but it is always clever to do promos by combining it with another product or service in your product offering. This allows the customer to experience another one of your sales items while subtly encouraging future buy-ins. Let’s say you’re aiming to drive sales on big silky scarves, perhaps run a promo whereby, for every two scarves purchased, the customer receives a 3pk hair clip set. Chances are that the customer will definitely be buying hair clips from the catalogue going forward.
- Customer Relationships
There’s an age-old saying in the sales world, ‘People buy from people that they like’. This is undoubtedly true. So, be authentic, likeable, friendly & professional at all times! This will build rapport with your customer & help retain the customer’s brand loyalty.
- Grow & Maintain
Any business is a cycle of ‘grow and maintain’. Continue to grow your customer base but always, make your existing clientele base a priority to maintain. An existing customer that feels appreciated will almost often be a loyal to your brand customer.
- After Sales Service
The after sales service experience is an important part of the sale. Do not underestimate this. Listen & respond to customer queries & concerns. Be empathetic if there are complaints.
In closing, above everything, have fun! You have taken this leap of faith & embarked on this entrepreneurial or ‘side hustle’ journey (whichever one tickled your fancy!), so embrace it!
This article was created for Zees Fashion Accessories, for the company’s exclusive use.
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