Creating Active Word of Mouth
Make More Money Next Month
Creating Active Word of Mouth
The goal of today’s blog post is to help you earn more next money next month. The focus of this one specifically is on word-of-mouth, because most people have started and grew their business by telling some people what they do and then someone in that group either directly needed apparel or knew someone else who did. Then they continue to tell people what they do and get more clients, and those clients refer other clients.
The more people who know who are you are and what you do, and are willing to share that information, the better your business will be.
You can facilitate the growth of that word-of-mouth. It can be as simple as going up to a business, or someone you don’t know and introducing yourself and what you do. What you’re going to need though, is a plan.
What kind of business are you?
Are you a niche business or a general practitioner? In a niche business, perhaps you’ve created a business where you only sell bling to cheer and dance schools. On the general practitioner side, perhaps you are an embroider who does polos, caps, uniforms, etc. You need to first figure out if you are a niche or general practitioner and once you figure that out, you can figure out where you can go and what you’re going to do when you get there.
In order for this sales plan to work you need people within physical walking or driving distance to you that are potential customers. If you’re a general practitioner, everyone/business is more or less a potential customer. This isn’t necessarily better or worse than if you are in a niche market, it’s just different. It gives you a larger field to pick from. The harder part is that you have to be prepared to handle all those conversations.
To help us give more focussed advice, we’re going to split these two markets apart and talk about them separately.
If you’re a general practitioner it doesn’t hurt to focus on one market at a time. For example: car dealerships. Take a look at all the car dealerships in your local area and make a list, and then build a sales plan around it.
First thing you’re going to look at the city you’re in and divide it up into neighborhoods. Then you can spend your day, or portion of, in that neighborhood (and focus on a few blocks). When you start going out to these neighborhoods you may just want to start with a 4-hour block of time, schedule it in to one of your days during the week (we suggest something on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, and in the morning, or late in the day), and write down the area you’re going to tackle. Start with something close to your business. This allows you to meet with more businesses and you have the benefit of saying to them “I’m right down the street/around the corner/over a block.”
What do you need? What are you going to say? Before you can make those decisions you need to know what you want to happen. What do you want to accomplish for the day? Here are two goal suggestions:
- I’d like to get an order – doesn’t matter how big or small
- I’d like to build my email list
So your goal for the day could be you want to see at least 20 people, you want at least one of those people to make an order, and at least ½ those people to give you a card, or permission to contact them again. You don’t have to go into big offices. Start with smaller business like hair salons, car repair shops.
What you want to find out when you go to those business is, is the decision maker there, do they buy custom apparel, and do you make what they would buy. You could introduce yourself with some variation of “My name is ______, I do custom apparel and I wanted to come in and introduce myself. I do (all these types of things) and I wanted to reach out to the person here who makes those decisions, let him know who I was, and perhaps send him an email about some of the things I can offer your business.” Or “Hi my name is ____, I was walking through the building/neighbourhood collecting business cards. I do custom apparel would it be possible to get the card of the person who makes those decisions. Here’s my card.” Or you can ask if the person is there for you to introduce yourself to. Many businesses will be very used to people walking in and saying something like that. Create a little pitch ahead of time, to help you feel comfortable. The worst thing they can say is no, and if they do, don’t be afraid to ask if they know anyone who does need custom apparel.
If they do say the buy custom apparel or have need of something, you don’t have to jump into a sales pitch if you’re not comfortable. You can ask to chat with the person who makes those decisions, or ask for an email if the decision maker isn’t available. If all you do is drop off a business card or brochure and get a contact, that’s a success. You’ve created an active word a mouth.
If you do this once a week, and you visit 20 businesses each time you go out, you’ve met 80 new people. Even if that business doesn’t have an immediate need, they are going to say, “I just had the nicest person come into my store, they do embroidery, and they’re right here in town.” You’ve made an impression, so when you do email them later, they’re going to put a face to the email, and will perhaps remember you when they do have a need.
When you’re talking to those businesses, you’ve handed them your business card, and you’ve got a contact, don’t be afraid to ask “do you need anything right now?” You may get a contact that says “yes.” If you’re asking that questions every time, sooner or later there’s a good chance that someone is going to say yes.
The hardest part is just walking in and introducing yourself.
You’ve gone out, made 80 or more contacts – next month, someone is going to order something and you will have made more money.
If you sell to a niche market, for example cheer-wear, you’ve gone some very specific markets you can sell to. Chances are there aren’t 100 places in your area that you can sell to. So you won’t need to spend 4 hours every week going out to those places. You may only do that once a month, but it’s very calculated in terms of who you are going to. As an example, there may be 20 dance schools in the area. When you go out to these businesses you need to be more educated – you know exactly what you would sell them, the brands of shirts you’d recommend, the location for logos, etc. You have the opportunity to know how much these items are going to cost, what they retail for, and how long would it take for you to make them. Take more time to prepare, so you can get an actual sale faster.
With the niche market you will also want samples prepared, so these businesses can see what they could be getting and at what price. You might also want to consider wearing a shirt similar to the product you’re going to sell them – make sure it looks new, the colors are fresh, the embroidery is intact, etc. Because you may only have 20 businesses in your area you need to make every sales call the best it can be. You can start off with the sales call we talked about in the General Practitioner section, but you get to add that you do apparel specifically for their type of business. You’re letting them know you’re an expert in what they need.
For your sales plan, you can type into Google maps “Dance Schools” and the map will put a dot on each of the locations. Then you just have to get into your car and see how many you can get to in your 4 hours. For each of those locations, write the name of the school on a piece of paper, leave three or four lines, then write down the next place. Then when you go to the location, you can talk to them for a couple minutes, and when you come out, before you leave the parking lot, make a note or two on that business. Notes like “Not Interested” so you don’t bug them the next time you go out, or “Johnny, great guy, got his card”. So at the end of the day, you’ve got some possible prospects, and maybe one or two who want a quote – and you’ve already told them a time you’ll have the quote to them by.
Wear what you do
When you’re prospecting one of the things we always say is “Wear what you do.” Whether it’s embroidery, bling, DTG. You want to look professional, so make sure it’s clean, not faded, no wrinkles, but wear something that gives prospects a good impression of what you can do for them. Carry a bag or notebook cover you’ve embroidered. You should be able to easily show people what you do. It also gives you something to talk about.
To sum everything up:
- Decide your approach – general or niche
- Set goals
- Write a plan of what you’re going to say
- Schedule when you’re going out
- Actually do it!
If you go back to our Know Your Number blog post and do the math, you’ll be able to see that if you talk to 100 people, even if you get one or two sales, they have the potential to gain you more revenue over time.
This is something that most people are scared to do. The encouragement we can give is that all you’re doing is going out there, saying who you are and what you do, and giving a card. There’s nothing wrong with that – almost everyone will be cool about it and accept your card.