Flourish & Thrive Academy. Read closely and take notes - Robin's invaluble advice will help you increase your sales and get your jewelry business on track.
H: What is the difference between brand building activities and income generating activities?
In the Flourish & Thrive Academy Facebook group you once posted:
"Set your intentions for the day and do 5 revenue generating activities today. Pick up the phone and call existing customers or new customers. If you sell direct to consumer/retail, contact existing customers and give them incentive to buy from you or refer a friend or friends. Have a positive attitude and be friendly and see what happens!"
I have this as a daily reminder and my iPod sends me this message every morning!
R: Heather, I LOVE that you have this in your your iPod as a daily reminder! The difference between brand building and income generating activities is such a great question!
Brand building activities are actions that gets your company/business name out to your audience.
It would be things like working on your social media - facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram - or updating images on your website so you customer is seeing new and fresh images frequently (this gives them even more of a reason to come back to your site). It's also blogging or creating a new collections postcard. It is even contacting press and sending samples out to an editor or stylist. These things are important, but really can be time sucks and in order to stay in business you need actual sales.
Revenue generating activities are actions specifically geared towards bringing in sales.
In my opinion, business owners should do revenue generating activities daily. I know there are many hats that a person wears when running a business so this isn't always possible, however, sales should be a priority.
SIDE NOTE: By having set sales goals, one can see what is needed sales wise for the business. By taking the goals for the year and then breaking it down by quarter, month, week and day, one will learn what they need to sell on a daily basis in order to meet goals. This information will help when doing revenue generating activities.
So what are revenue generating activities?
*My favorite one is picking up the phone and calling existing customers. This doesn't have to be a "salesie" call, but rather a connection call. Find out how they are, how is your jewelry selling for them, if they have any events coming up that you can help support. Let them know what is happening with you and your line. What are your best selling styles right now, what you are doing for upcoming holidays and happenings like Mother's Day, Graduation, Wedding Season, Father's Day, etc. Ask if they are ready for these holidays and happenings.
Sales is about relationships and a good sales person does what they can to help their customer.
*Calling potential customers. Maybe it's a store you saw listed in Lucky Magazine or Daily Candy. It could be someone you met at a party who was interested in your jewelry and you exchanged business cards. No matter how you found them, call them! Start the conversation and learn more about them and their needs. Do research before you call them - look up their website. This will help when talking with them.
*Face to face interaction is the best. It allows you to share your story and really find out your customer or potential customers needs. Trade shows, Craft Shows, Trunk shows, sample sales or house party sale are all good revenue generating activities. The type of event you have will depend on your business.
*Partner with another person on doing a show or an online event.
*Create an email promotion with a call to action. For example, place your order of $150 today and receive free shipping. Or create urgency like limited edition pieces, only 2 left.
*Increase your sales by always adding 1 or 2 more pieces to every order.
H. Do you have advice for getting over the fear or shyness of making sales calls to stores or potential clients?
R: I know if calling is not your favorite thing or you are shy it can be challenging. My advice is to script out what you want to say so you are never at a loss for words.
Remember your focus is your customer/client and their needs.
Smile when you talk, people can actually hear your smile. Be prepared with letting them know how you want to help them and that your goal is to make their job easier. For example Mother's Day is May 12, have an order prepared for them based on what sells well for them or prepare an order based on your best sellers for this special day. If you are working direct to consumer, let them know what special packaging you have for Mother's Day or that you can include a handwritten note.
Practice is the best way to get over the fear of making sales calls. I heard the term "lean in" recently and I love it. When a person is interested in hearing what you have to say, they "lean in". People want to be heard and many times we don't take the time to listen. The most important thing when speaking with your customer is to be sincere friendly and listen. Also, if someone is not interested in working with you, don't take it personally thank them for their time and feedback and move on. No usually means not right now. I have a jewelry company that I work with and they had been trying to get into this one store for 10 years. They knew it was the right fit so they kept in contact with the buyer and then it happened... they received their first order. That was 3 years ago and that store is one of their top accounts today.
H: What is your secret weapon for a super effective sales week?
R: The phone is my secret (or not so secret) weapon. Calling and connecting with customers is joyful for me. I genuinely care about the buyers and clients I work with. I want their businesses to succeed and they know it.
H: How important is packaging and display in selling to stores and boutiques?
R: Packaging is important because you want to make sure your product is branded with your logo. The type of packaging will of course vary depending on the type of jewelry or product you make. I have to admit I more then sometimes buy things because I am in love with the packaging.
Good display and merchandising of your product is essential for a store. You want to make sure you provide your customer with ways to display your product. Giving merchandising recommendations is something I like to do. Again, it is about making things easier for your customer. In many cases, I have taken pictures of my suggestions and shared them with my customers. A picture can not only provide your customer with a great visual, but it will also show them why they need to purchase the pieces and quantity you recommended.
H: Do you have any advice on ways to stand out when starting out in the wholesale market?
R: Know you "WHY". Know "WHY" you started your business and know YOUR story. What's going to set you apart and make you stand out is who you are, why you are doing what you are doing and your story. It's hard to design or create a product that hasn't been done before, don't get me wrong, great product is important, but what will define you and your line is your story. People want to connect on some level. I believe this is why video is playing such an important role in today's business. I also believe that connection is why calling a customer or meeting them face to face produces the best results.
H: And finally, Flourish & Thrive is getting ready to launch Volume 2. How would a solo-entrepreneur benefit from the course?
R: Tracy and I are super excited about our Vol 2 course, Mulitply Your Profits! The course is for jewelry designers who want a roadmap for structuring their business for maximum profitability and freedom. Tracy and I know first hand that if you truly want a successful business you need to run it like a business and not a hobby. Having systems and best practices in place will allow a business owner even a solo-entrepreneur to do the things that they love (one of which is most likely designing). The course will empower the jewelry designer to step into the role of CEO of her/his business (even if they are the only person in your business). Tracy and I will be sharing the systems we’ve used to help build & manage businesses of all sizes. We can't wait!
Robin Kramer is a brand marketing maven and sales expert who has an impressive history with leaders in the retail industry that have built their brands on innovative merchandising and strong service cultures. Among these brands are Williams-Sonoma, Inc. and Old Navy division of Gap, Inc.
For the past 12 plus years, Robin has worked with primarily small, upscale wholesale jewelry brands and designers to bring their products to market, position these niche brands for maximum exposure to their target customers and build relationships with national and international retailers. She has a keen eye for recognizing products, designs and brands that represent a unique and fresh approach in a crowded and competitive space.
In 2010 Robin started her consulting business, Red Boot Consulting and in 2012 she partnered with jewelry designer Tracy Matthews to launch Flourish & ThriveAcademy, an online academy for teaching jewelry designers everything they need to know about running a business.
She is based in Sausalito, California.