Want to see some wholesale orders roll in today?
Come on, let’s make you some money.
There’s a thing you can easily do that:
1. Won’t cost you anything.
2. Won’t make you look or feel like a slimeball.
3. Will almost certainly result in cold hard cash immediately winging its way towards your bank account.
Hardly any artists do it.
In fact, hardly any big suppliers do it either. That’s nuts on both counts.
But it means that when you do, your stockists will get even more of a crush on you than they have right now.
So, wanna know how it goes?
But for this to work you have to know two things before you start.
The first is that retailers are always actively looking to buy. This is one of the major ways we’re different from your other customers.
Let me give you an example.
A couple of years ago, we drove to the wedding of our best friend from college. We had to leave at five in the morning, it was snowing and the day before I’d had terrible food poisoning. I wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders.
After hours of driving we got to the hotel and unpacked the car. Anthony’s kilt, my dress, the presents – but no makeup bag. I’d left it in the bathroom at home.
I gave the kind of terrifying yelp a winged monkey would be proud of and ran to the car. I didn’t want to celebrate our best friend’s nuptials wearing nothing on my ghostly complexion except hand cream and some lipstick made from licking a red skittle.
I needed new makeup and I needed it fast.
The satnav said there was a supermarket nearby, so I drove there while praying aloud that it would at least have a Rimmel concession. Thankfully, it did.
Now, if I were to rank my intention to buy that day on a scale between one and ten, I’d say it was an eleven.
I was very, very actively looking to buy. You’ve probably felt the same way at one time or another.
Usually, though, our intention to buy is much lower.
If you’re just drifting aimlessly around the shops on a Saturday afternoon, it might be a four. If you’re running to the corner shop to get something for dinner, it might be a seven.
This is the typical pattern of intention to buy for your ordinary customers. It generally stays in the low to medium range with the occasional spike.
Retailers are different. We’re almost always at the very top of the scale.
That’s because we’re buying to keep our business afloat.
We need new stuff on the shelves all the time. A sparse arrangement of stock is not a good look for indie shops.
There has to be enough stuff to create a feeling of abundance, and there has to be enough to keep up with demand from our customers.
This means indie retailers are always actively shopping for new items. We might have a few off days immediately before or after Christmas, but otherwise we’re pretty much permanently stuck on ten.
Even if we just spent our stock budget for the month, we still want to hear from you. If you convince us that stocking your work will help our store to thrive, we’ll always find a way to purchase it.
This means two things for you.
1. Your stockists want and need to hear from you.
2. You’re not being pushy if you get in touch. Like, at all. You’re actually being incredibly helpful.
Now we know that, here’s how to make some cash today.
What you do is email or phone your current stockists, and say something like this:
“Hi Lovely Shopkeeper,
It’s [your name] here from [name of your company]. How are you?
I’m still totally psyched to be a supplier for [name of shop] and wanted to check in and ask if there’s anything I can do for you.
I’m always interested to hear which items are selling the best for my stockists, and have the chance to answer any questions you might have. Seriously, if I can lend a hand in any way, please just say the word.
I’m giving my fave stockists 20% off until this Friday, so if you’d like a top-up, click here to see my new collection and place your order.
It’s a pleasure working with you, and thanks again for stocking my stuff!
[your sign off and mail signature.]”
Getting in touch like this does three things.
It reminds your stockists that you exist and are rather marvellous.
It re-opens the lines of communication so they feel heard and you get valuable feedback.
It satisfies their ongoing intention to buy.
Because one thing’s for damn sure.
Your stockists are going to buy someone’s stuff this week.
Might as well be yours, right?
Important Things To Note:
1. Make it personal, make it personal, MAKE IT PERSONAL. Show you’re paying attention. Spell their name right. Ask after their dog (assuming you’ve been introduced.) Be a genuinely lovely human being and they’ll usually respond in the same way.
2. Don’t do this in your newsletter or as a group email. Hand-crafted, personal emails or phone calls are the way to go.
3. Don’t tiptoe around your offer or promotion. Whatever it is – free shipping, free items, a discount – put it squarely on the table. Don’t get all coy about it. And be certain to make your offer end soon. A promotion that ends in a fortnight doesn’t get me scrambling to order now. An offer that ends this week certainly does.
4. Use your own voice. Write the email like you talk and it’ll always come across confidently.
5. This works for stores who are showing interest but haven’t ordered yet, too. In fact, it’s a excellent way to tempt them off the fence.
There’s really no downside here.
It’s easy, free, and it’ll either make you money or make your stockists think you’re a breath of fresh air.
So go on. Do it.
Do it and let me know how you get on.
And don’t forget to buy yourself something nice with the proceeds.