Sell Something Today
We talk a lot about marketing, but we see all the time on the Facebook group and we get calls about it: “My business isn’t doing well RIGHT NOW. How can I sell more stuff?” So what’s missing is “today.” Let’s do something today.
This is a morning drive activity. You want to do something different. You want to grow your business. You want to sell more stuff. You want to get better at what you do. That’s why you read these blog posts and listen to our podcasts.
We’re going to share some steps to help you sell something today, trying to narrow things down to what will produce results right away.
First thing first, other than reading this blog post, you have to stop finding excuses to not sell something. If you don’t have enough business to produce today, then you’ve got the free time to do the things we’re going to talk about. We don’t want you to be practising on your machine, learning about Facebook ads, getting caught up on your bills, etc. Things are all things that you use to avoid picking up the phone, going outside, or going online and actually selling something.
Working with the premise that you’ve already got some customers, the first thing you should do is come up with a reason to talk to people – call, email, visit in person. You need an offer. Start with the end in mind – which is a sale – then you need the why people are going to buy something from you today. You need some kind of an offer to talk about. It has to be a reason that your customers are going to want to take action on right away. You see this all the time, example “Buy your furniture today, get a free love seat.”
You can be 100% transparent when you talk to your customers, “We’re trying to get some business today, this is the deal that we’re offering today. I just finished a job and I’ve got some free time on them.”
Map out your offer for the day and we’ll give you some ideas on what that could be:
- Get a free set of caps with company embroidered polos
- Free shipping
- Personal Delivery
- % or $ discount for orders over a certain amount
You can also use it to combine things and sell something you don’t normally sell. For example, you’ve got an embroidery machine and you do vinyl for t-shirts. Perhaps you have a bunch of embroidery customers who’ve never bought a vinyl shirt from you. Offer some kind of deal on a two-color vinyl shirt.
When you’re trying to think about this deal, it’s not about giving something away for free and making it so that you’re making less money. It’s about you packaging something together, that’s a little bit different from what you regularly do, that’s profitable for you and offers something substantial to your customers. Perhaps normally you take the generic brand of polos and that’s what you normally embroider on, and you normally profit $12. You may not be able to afford to give away a free t-shirt. What you can do instead is say “If you do a Nike or Eddie Bauer shirt, we’re giving away a free t-shirt with everyone.” Those higher end brands might make you a profit of typically $20, so losing the $5 profit from the free t-shirt is more reasonable. Plus you’re giving a new product for your customer to buy.
It’s also an opportunity to add something to your product line that you’ve been working on. You’re currently doing caps and t-shirt, but haven’t done bags yet, and so that could be a great giveaway. You can offer 10-20% your first order of bags.
If a company typically orders their polos from you every year, you can offer to do one additional logo on the sleeves for free – get them to order early. Or even do that logo in vinyl.
Look through your repertoire of things you do and find something that you don’t think you do enough of. Then figure out a way to offer it to your customers.
A dangerous game that you don’t want to play, because you’re trying to sell something today, is to decide “I’m going to sell tote bags” and then spend the next couple hours on your supplier’s website deciding what tote bag to offer. If it’s going to be the offer that you’re going to offer today, you’re going to have to trust yourself that you’re going to make it work, and make quick estimates on the cost of the tote bag, OR you’re going to say “I’m not comfortable with doing that. I’m going to offer something I have sold before.”
This whole offer of the additional product, if you can’t figure it out within 30 minutes, then you’re going to do free shipping or a 10% off offer instead. Do something very simple.
If you run an ecommerce store, perhaps you’ve never done a buy-one-get-one deal, and now you’re stuck trying to figure out how to even make that work for your site. You can waste hours trying to figure that out. In cases like that, it becomes a great idea for another day.
This isn’t an offer you’re going to have to offer customers continually going forward. Tell them it’s a one time offer, that you’re offering because it’s untypically slow for you.
Now that you’ve figure out your offer, how do you deliver that to people in a way that will give them an opportunity to write you a check right now?
You go through your customer list and you call all of them. Everyone who’s bought from you before and tell them what your offer is. The phone call and the voice mail message are the same. “This is Mark from Custom Apparel T’s. I know you’ve ordered stuff from us before, I really appreciate that. I don’t know if you can hear in the background, but my machines aren’t running today. So for only today, if you’re interested in any custom t-shirt or embroidered hats, I can offer 10% off/I can offer you a free shirt with every 10/I can offer you free shipping. Just give me a call back before 12, so I have time to put together the order for you, and I will give you that offer.”
When you call only have one offer that you think is really good and then you can have a backup offer, so if they’re not into the main offer, you can give them 5% off instead (example).
Along with calling them, you can send out an email using an email service like Constant Contact or MailChimp. Don’t get caught up with spending two hours on art and design. Keep it simple. If you don’t have a big enough list that you’re using an email service, individually copy and paste that email and one-off send it (don’t bcc!).
Word of Mouth
Perhaps you feel you’ve exhausted your customer list, or you’re so new you’ve only got 19 customers and they all ordered within the last few weeks. If you’re a local business, we talk about this all the time, you get samples (that you’ve already made), brochures, flyers, business cards, wear your shirt with your business logo on it, go find a business complex area and introduce yourself to the businesses. You’re not going in with a pile of shirts trying to sell them, you’re looking for that 1 out of 10 person who says, “Yes, we do need shirts.”
If you go to a shopping complex chances are there’ll be a hair salon or a nail salon. If you do bling, that’s a perfect fit. Even if you don’t get a business that orders from you right away, you will get someone who wants a custom bling shirt to wear to work. There may also be an independent pizza place, etc. who needs embroidered aprons.
If you have a niche you can visit those places as well, or you can pick up the phone and give them a call. “Hey, I’m a local business, I do custom t-shirts. If you ever need anything I’d love to send you some more information or a sample.” Your success rate is going to be lower, but if you don’t already have samples and business cards, your next choice is to phone those potential customers instead.
When you meet these businesses or give them a call, you do your sales pitch and their response is “Thanks we’ll keep you in mind” thank them for their time, but also follow up with “Do you know anyone who might be looking for some custom t-shirts?” If they say yes, great. If they say no, there’s still the potential that they’ll have you in mind if someone they know does mention to them that they’re looking for custom apparel.
Another way to get more business today, is through referrals. Call up your customers and ask for referrals. “Do you know anyone that you might be able to refer me to, that might be needing custom apparel?” Most people are going to say no. You’re not looking for everyone to say yes, but someone will.
If you did all this 10 days or a few weeks ago, go back through your list. There will be people who didn’t answer the phone the first time, who didn’t see the email, who weren’t in their shops, or that didn’t need custom apparel yesterday, but need it today.
For a little bit more of an advanced option is what we’re calling an unreferral. You’ve got your best customers – 20 who order from you regularly. You’ve called them, given them your offer, maybe some of them bought, maybe some of them gave you a referral, but you still have daylight left. Look at the business that they’re in and call their competition. For example you sell the uniforms and t-shirts to sell in a restaurant on the waterfront. They’re not the only restaurant in that area. You can call up the managers at the others and say, “I provide all the uniforms for The Beach Getaway Bar and Grill down the street, I have been doing that for a while, and would love to make you an offer and get the same deal going for you guys.” The unreferral is a little bit more out of the box, but it’s more specific than wandering through the town looking for businesses.
Find out what places are in your area (that are in the same industry as your existing customers), figure out how long it would take you to get to them, and map out 10 places, or however many you can reasonably visit in 2-4 hours. For this technique, samples are a requirement (so if you don’t have them ready, save this for another day). If you’ve got something you’ve made for your existing customer, that’s a great sample to bring. Perhaps it’s something they sell in the restaurant, you can let the competition know “This is what I make for them. I sell it to them for $20, they sell it for $35. I make about 100 each month for them. Would that be something you’re interested in?”
There are some businesses who are selling online, instead of locally. There are two different places to talk here.
If you have a new store that no one comes to, then you want to drive people to your website – spend some money. Hopefully you’ve learned a little bit already about doing ads for your website (if you haven’t, making money TODAY will be difficult, because you need to learn more about what makes a successful ad first).
You may have some existing customers and you can do the same thing with the email offer, sending them to your ecommerce site. If you know how to do online advertising through Facebook or Google, wherever, you need to create a brand new, aggressive offer you haven’t done before. Even if you have something that you’ve said you’ll never do – “I don’t do free shipping” – do it for today. Offer a ridiculous deal and get some business going.
If you’ve got regular traffic to your website already this is an opportunity to do something new and aggressive. Perhaps you have a funny t-shirt design in mind or a bunch of hats that you need to clear out, you take that product and you put it on sale. Change the headliner on the website to bring attention to the sale. If you have the ability to create pop-ups, do one of those – “Today only $10 off orders of $100 or more” whatever number you feel comfortable with.
Especially if you have a new site, take a link to your new site and go onto Facebook and LinkedIn and find your community groups. Find those groups that allow you to post links and create a post saying “Hey, I’m a local embroidery shop and I’ve got a deal on today – save 20%. Here’s a link.”
If your main business is online and you’re trying to get more business, you should have already learned how to do some online advertising, where are some of the forums you can go and advertise for free or paid, email marketing.
Don’t be afraid to do something aggressive. If you make $9/shirt instead of the usual $12/shirt, you’ve still made more than if your machines were not running at all today. And if you get a ton of orders and you can’t handle them all, you can easily turn the offer off.
Keep doing these things until you sell something. And let us know tomorrow, how much more you were able to sell today.
Have a good business!
Interested in starting a custom apparel business?
Choose to subscribe below and we'll keep you up to date with Success Stories, Business Tips especially for apparel decorators and our special pricing deals.