It’s important to do 2 things when an opportunity arises:
1. Recognize the potential for opportunity
2. Take actions when the opportunity is presented.
So how would you go about doing this? Let’s jump into some ways to recognize a potential customer and how you could take the next step into getting them closer to being another satisfied customer.
Look for visual clues:
– They stop at your booth or eyeball the shirt you’re wearing
– They are wearing custom branded apparel – like for a business
– Facial expression when you show them what you do
– Come by your shop/booth or visit more than once
– They are obviously IN your niche market target
wearing cheer, business logo, bicycle shorts
– They’re USING promotional products
Listen for verbal clues:
Oh yea we always get custom shirts made
– Where do you get them now? What could they do better for you?
Do you customize ………… hats, bags,etc
– Discuss all the things you offer and suggest things they should get
I’ve thought about doing this
– Great, let me show you the benefits and how it’s affordable
Do you have a storefront?
– Why do you ask? is there something you are looking for? I customize anything
Do you have a business card?
– Why do you ask? is there something you are looking for? – Let me get your info too
Do you have Facebook / Insta etc?
– Of course. I am always curious why people have an interest to follow. Interested in seeing samples or reviews?
Converting Conversation Starters:
– It looks like you get custom shirts done, where do you get that?
– I see you bought some custom apparel before – I’d like to chat about a little higher quality option, okay?
– A lot of businesses like yours give away swag/wear custom t-shirts
– I’ve got a bunch of clients in [insert niche], can I show you a few examples?
– I was in a [insert their business] the other day and it looked like they were doing great selling t-shirts – have you thought about that?
– People always stop and look at that design. What size are you?
Converting to the Sale:
– I’d love to show you what I can do – how about if I make you one?
– It sounds like you do a lot of different things – I’d love to be a part of that. Why don’t you make a small mixed order now and let’s see how they do?
– While you look around – how about if I make you one of these? They’re only $____
– Why don’t you hire me to do that logo/shirt/design a little better? I’m sure you’ll be happier with it
– I love that design too – do you want me to wrap it up or have it delivered?
– I’m sure you’ll be happier with the work I do – why don’t you place a small order now, then if you like them we can discuss a larger one?
On the phone
– Can I save you some shopping time? I’m going to do a great job at a great price – I promise you’ll be happy with the results. Why don’t you just let me take the order now and I’ll get started?
– I’ve got time in production schedule tomorrow or Friday – can I put your job in one of those time slots?
– You’ll be happy with the price detail I’m sure – when do you need me to deliver the shirts?
– I’m about to start a big job – if you place the order now I can probably get it done beforehand? is Tuesday delivery in your time frame?
1. Write down some of these converting phrases and make them your own
2. Practice them [corny, but necessary]
3. Use them – and keep track of when you don’t.
4. See if your sales improve!
Welcome to the Custom Apparel Startups podcast, your best source for information, news, tips and tricks to get you off the ground running, and earn success with your custom apparel decorating business. So, get ready to soak up some knowledge!
Now, here are your hosts, Mark and Marc!
Mark S: Hey, everyone! Welcome to episode 105 of the Custom Apparel Startups podcast. My name is Mark Stephenson, from ColDesi.
Marc V: And this is Marc Vila, from Colman and Company. Today we’re here to talk about sales conversion strategies. This is a continuation of this marketing plan that we’ve been working on since episode 101.
Mark S: Right. We had the recap episode, and then we started on this.
Marc V: Speaking about the recap episode, Monty Mims from SanMar, -.
Mark S: Yes, the Apparel Geek. That’s his term, not mine. I didn’t look at him and say “Wow! What an apparel geek!”
Marc V: Or sometimes Apparel Nerd, depending which social media platform you’re on. He was so excited to have made the top ten!
Mark S: He did make the list.
Marc V: He was really excited. Did he message both of us or was it just me?
Mark S: No, no. I think everyone.
Marc V: Okay. Well, if you’re listening again, we’re happy to have you in the top ten, too. Just to kind of throw back, if you didn’t listen to that episode with Monty Mims, whatever one it was, look at episode 100, and we say the number. Go back and listen to that one.
Mark S: Just as a side note, if you do mention Monty on your podcast, you will get an alert on Ancestry.com!
Marc V: Yes! We’re talking about sales conversion strategies. It’s because we’ve taken a few steps, as far as identifying leads, gathering information from people, getting them on your email list. You’re taking steps, and one of the big steps in making money is actually converting people into a sale.
Mark S: And really, kind of the theme of this is going to be; you’ve created a lot of interest, by picking the right niche and being in the right place, and doing all of those previous four episodes’ worth of stuff. You’ve got them to the point where they’re interested, and maybe even signing up for your email list or your marketing list.
How do you get from that interest, from the guy that’s standing there in your store, fondling one of your custom t-shirts, to making sure that he writes you a check or gives you a credit card?
Marc V: Because this is kind of how things work. If you did everything that we’ve talked about so far right, you are just going to get people that come and say “Here’s my money. Give me my apparel.”
Mark S: Absolutely.
Marc V: It’s going to happen.
Mark S: That’s the best outcome.
Marc V: Yeah. You’re going to get those customers that are going to just come up to you and give you money, basically.
However, there is another 30%-40% growth in sales that you can get, by taking some steps to actively pursue that sale.
Mark S: That’s what we’re talking about now. We’re talking about sales. We’re not talking about 1980s car salesman sales or door-to-door insurance sales. We’re talking about professional sales, where you take somebody that’s expressed an interest, and get them to buy your product.
That can be a scary thing for a lot of people.
Marc V: Yeah. People don’t generally like to be pressured. Therefore, it’s kind of the “Do unto others” type of a thing. Usually, people don’t want to do what they don’t like done to them. It’s a typical human thing. You don’t want to feel pressured into a sale, so you don’t want to feel like you’re pressuring somebody into a sale.
However, if you really think about when you’ve bought something recently, and you’ve met somebody who was a nice, professional, good salesperson – this could be the last time you upgraded your phone. It could be the last time you got a car. It could be when you bought your house or rented an apartment.
Whatever it is, you’ve met somebody that you feel that you really like them. Maybe you left them a good review.
Mark S: They clearly know what they’re doing.
Marc V: They know what they’re doing, yeah. Also, if you really pay attention to it, they were trying to convince you to say yes, to finish it up, to do it. Because they know that you could have easily left the Verizon store and gone to AT&T. But if you do it right, it doesn’t feel like pressure, even though you are pursuing it, you’re antagonizing the close.
Mark S: Here’s the way I would put it. You’re helping people make a good decision, because you’ve got a good product. You’re a good person to do business with. You’re very passionate about what you do. You make sure the quality is good. You try to deliver on time. You deserve the business.
And if they leave without buying from you, if they leave without your products, then they’re going to buy from somebody else. And you can almost guarantee they’re not going to be as happy with it as if they would have bought it from you.
Marc V: When they leave your store or in front of you, and they go somewhere else to buy something, you realize that there is an inherent risk that when they go somewhere else, they could get a much worse product at a much worse price, and have a terrible experience.
That’s really part of the mindset you have to get into. Say “I know what I do is good. That’s why this person should buy from me.”
Mark S: Honestly, if you’ve ever talked to any of the ColDesi salespeople or the SCSRs for Colman and Company, when they’re on the other end of the phone, that feeling may come through, because we know that there are places where you can buy most of what we sell. There are other places where you can get similar products.
But I can almost guarantee that you’re not going to have the same quality of experience anywhere else, than if you deal with us. So, the way I feel, it’s my responsibility to help you come to a decision to do business with us, because that’s going to be best for you. And if you have that belief and that attitude, then it’s really not sales conversions. It’s like good decision conversions. That’s really what you’re trying to do.
Marc V: You’re finding the people that match right up with what you sell. That’s kind of the purpose of the niche thing. You’ve found a niche of people that buy what you sell. So, you’ve already identified them. And if you kind of move them along the process, you get to here. We’ve done everything else, and now we’re here.
Let’s go ahead and talk about it. Let’s give them some things they can actually do.
Mark S: I think what you’ve got here first is great. You’ve really got to do two things. You’ve got to recognize when there’s an opportunity, when there’s potential and opportunity. In other words, what are you looking for in what people do or say, or how they act, that make you think it might be time for them to make a decision?
The other one is that you need to take action, when you see that.
Marc V: It’s really that simple. I think about it sometimes as when – I don’t know if I’ve told this story on air before. I’ll give a really short version of it. I think I may have told the story like 50, 60 episodes ago.
Mark S: Then everyone’s going to remember it! That’s for sure.
Marc V: When I was in middle school, you’re just starting to like girls and boys and stuff like that. Everyone kind of has that memory.
Mark S: Both, really?
Marc V: For different people. Different strokes, different folks. Anyway, there was this girl I thought was cute. Me and my friends used to go to the move theater all the time. Every Friday, we’d always go to the movies, and she and her friends always went.
I’d see her and I’d say hi. I always wanted to just ask her, “Sit next to me.” That’s the motivation of like a 12-year-old. “I just want her to sit next to me!” But I was too scared. Long story short, because there’s more to it, but actually she had liked me, and she wanted to sit next to me.
One of my friends, years later in high school, we’re seniors, and we’re talking about it. He was actually dating her, at that time, which was fine. I had a girlfriend and such. But we had a conversation, and the memory got brought back up. He was like “You couldn’t tell that she liked you that whole time?” It was because I wasn’t mature enough to see the cues.
Mark S: You missed the opportunity!
Marc V: I didn’t see the cues, that she would smile or be bashful or get flushed, get choked up.
Mark S: I get it.
Marc V: So, you’ve got to kind of be mature in your salespersonship and in your business, to recognize an opportunity when it’s in front of you, and not let somebody walk up to you, say something so obvious, and then just walk away. Maybe we can start with some of these cues that we’re looking for.
Mark S: Yeah. Let’s talk about the visual cues that you see. This would obviously be like at an event, at a show, at a trade show that you’ve got a booth at.
Marc V: If you’re networking somewhere.
Mark S: You’re networking, and you’re wearing your apparel. Or even if you’re doing that active word of mouth thing, and you’re going around and introducing yourself to local businesses.
Marc V: Or you’re introducing yourself at your child’s ball game or at a competition with one of your kids. We’ve talked about you network at children’s birthday parties, wherever you are.
Mark S: Let’s just refresh your memory that the number one thing that you’re going to do when you enter the custom apparel business is always wear what you do. 100% of the time, you’re wearing custom apparel. So, wherever you go, you can look for this first visual cue.
If you’re at a social event, or if you’re networking, someone will notice what you’re wearing. If you’re wearing a cool custom shirt that’s got your logo on it, it talks about what you do, you’ve got a custom cap; whatever your gig is, they’re going to notice that at some point.
When they do, if they stare for a second, that means they’re probably interested in what you do. If you’re at a trade show or if you’ve got a retail location or a shop full of stuff, that’s when somebody eyeballs the stuff in your booth. I do that all the time, especially when I don’t want to talk to a salesperson.
Marc V: You eyeball booths?
Mark S: Yes, I do. I’ll go by, and there’s somebody looking at me walking by, and I’ll just look, like I can’t take my eyes off of something. That’s a visual clue, when they notice your apparel.
Marc V: And I would say like a little side note little pro tip on this, is do things to make your apparel more noticeable.
Mark S: Yes.
Marc V: If it’s t-shirts and designs, of course, have cool designs, so the design itself, the artwork, is noticeable. But if it’s not that, say you’re just an embroiderer, and you do caps and polos. That’s part of your niche. Don’t just have a plain white cap. That might be 90% of what you sell, are plain black and white regular caps.
But maybe you get the caps that have the lights in them. Or get a cap that has like the beer openers on them. There’s all different things you could do. Or a color that’s vibrant. If you get something that’s going to purposely push people to notice, then you’re going to force that opportunity more often.
Mark S: I like that. You can also do this by aggressively representing your niche. If you’re in the bling cheer wear/dancewear business, obviously you’re going to wear an over-the-top bling jacket or shirt. If you are in the graphic t-shirt business, maybe you’ve got your best, funniest design, or your most colorful print. You know, if it’s DTG, your most beautiful photo, to bring people over that will ask about it. They’ll key in.
Marc V: 100%, this works. A joke going around is with – my girlfriend Christina – I make graphic tees for myself all the time. When I’ve got the opportunity, I make graphic tees for myself, and I wear them out. So constantly, when we’re out, I get the “That’s a funny shirt. That’s a cool shirt. I like that design. Where did you get that?”
We were in ABC Liquors – I don’t know if you know – that’s a big liquor store, if you don’t have it in your area. It’s really nice, brand new, it opened up. They have a bar in there where you can get just tons of free samples, tons. Cool place.
Mark S: Yes, I know. That’s what I do with my weekends.
Marc V: Four people in one ABC Liquor mentioned something about my shirt, and it just said “tacos and tequila.” That’s all it was. But we’re testing out some new colors for vinyl, and I used these new colors that are just unique. Not seen before. That was part of it, too, was that it was a noticeable color.
Mark S: You’re going to get free sample requests!
I like that. The next one is you want to look for visual cues, if they are wearing custom branded apparel, like for a business. If you notice someone, especially if you’re at maybe a networking event, let them notice what you’re wearing, but also notice what they’re wearing.
If they’ve got a corporate logo on their cap, or if they’re wearing a corporate polo, or if they’ve got a branded bag with somebody’s logo on it, that’s an opportunity for you to start a conversation. Because they either bought that or their company bought that for them. Maybe they had it done professionally, and that’s your opening, because you’ve noticed.
This is kind of before you’re starting this closing or selling process. These are the precursors, what you need to look for.
Marc V: Yeah. There’s a lot of different ways you could go out noticing and mentioning something about their custom apparel. For one, you can notice quality, good or bad. It’s an easy way to just start the conversation. “Hey, that embroidery looks pretty good!” I actually do that.
Mark S: Me, too. I do it all the time.
Marc V: Well, I don’t actually do it. But if I was a person who had an embroidery machine, I would say that. I’d say “I run an embroidery shop. The embroidery on that’s pretty good. Who did it?” That’s one way to say it.
The other way is the opposite of that. I was at a restaurant when I was by the beach. It was this tiki style restaurant. The bartender had on this really nice moisture wick style of shirt, and the embroidery was really, really bad. Terribly puckered, crooked, placed wrong, crooked, puckered up. It was bad.
If I was an embroiderer, you might get the manager and just say “Hey, I noticed. I do embroidery. You might not have liked that, the way it came out. I know why it did that, and if you’re looking to get them replaced -.” So, you could compliment or notice something.
Mark S: And this is for later, but you would start that conversation with a compliment. “I love your restaurant. But listen. Let me tell you what I noticed. I’m an embroiderer, and I see this guy’s shirt. Notice how it’s crooked? I know you want to represent better than that. Let me try.”
Marc V: Yeah. “The shirt is awesome! That color, perfect choice.”
Mark S: “But that other company you hired really sucks.” “My mom did that.”
Marc V: You put a facial expression.
Mark S: What I like about this is it’s a dying art, and it’s one of my pet peeves. When you’re at an event or a trade show, what people generally do is they will focus on the person in front of them. They’ll have one conversation with one person. It’s very comfortable to do that.
Then, there will be blinders, because people are coming up, and they’re looking at the stuff all the time, constantly, while you’re talking. So, watching peoples’ facial expressions, you know how to gauge interest. If somebody is interested, maybe they stay a little longer. They’re excited, when they see a design. They’re animatedly talking to one of their friends, and pointing.
These are kind of obvious clues, they’re visual clues that they’re interested, and they’re probably ready for the next step.
Marc V: Also, they may be attempting to make eye contact with you, to say like “Hey, I’m next.” All of us, if you’ve worked in any sort of retail or restaurant, you know that feeling easily, when you’ve got a lot of customers around, and somebody’s trying to look at you. You acknowledge them. That’s it. Make sure you’re paying attention for that stuff.
It doesn’t matter if you’re at a show or in a store, or if you’re sitting at a luncheon table, and there’s one person over there that you realize they’re noticing your apparel. You can see it in their face. Or they comment to somebody. That will happen with shirts that I have, where I’m in the store and I hear a guy behind me just say to his buddy “Oh, that shirt is pretty funny!”
If I were selling them, I’d spin around. “I heard you. Thanks!”
Mark S: Absolutely. You cannot be shy. This is your business. You’re there to make money.
Marc V: So, they come by your shop or booth, or wherever you might be showing off. More than once, they’re revisiting. That, to me, it’s such a simple one. Just focus on learning facial recognition. Don’t use it as an excuse, that you have a hard time remembering. Pay attention.
Mark S: Picture yourself at a market. I had a long conversation with Kaylee, one of our listeners, about doing a market in Wichita. She said she sees the same faces come through her booth every week, and they’re not all customers. So, if you see somebody more than once, and you notice them in your booth, but you don’t remember them giving you money, you should encourage them to do that, because they want to. Because they want to. They just want a reason.
Marc V: Yeah. They’re so close, they just need that reason. What else do we have?
Mark S: I like this one, because you have to recognize your niche. If you are in a niche market, and you’re wearing the right apparel, if you see someone else wearing a bling t-shirt, a baseball mom shirt, if you see somebody wearing cheer wear, if you see somebody -.
Marc V: Like a noodling shirt?
Mark S: A noodling shirt, or carrying a fish by the mouth, with their fingers. If you see somebody that’s you, if you see that niche, then 100% of the time, if you’re in a retail environment or a show or a shop or a networking event, where you have any excuse at all, just walk right up to them and just relate. That’s it. Start the conversation.
Marc V: “That catfish in your hand is awesome!”
Mark S: Yeah. “Hey, the last time I noodled…”
Marc V: Yeah. It is a good point to find those people and relate to them. It’s easy to do. The thing is, it can be uncomfortable if you’re like “Oh, I sell fishing shirts. Now I have to figure out a way to go up to people who might be there, and talk to them about my shirts?” It doesn’t have to be like that. It’s not that complex.
You go up and you figure out a way to make conversation with the person. Then, you eventually just throw that out there.
Mark S: “I love your shirt! Do you fish somewhere locally?”
Marc V: Yeah, and go into it.
Mark S: “Hey, we’re both wearing fish on our shirts!”
Marc V: “My fish is bigger than yours!”
Mark S: Okay, could be. The next thing is if you notice someone that is using promotional products. This is an opportunity where, just like some of these others. If somebody is wearing a custom t-shirt, if they’re wearing corporate apparel, if they’re wearing something in your niche, if they’re using some kind of promotional products or swag, even if they’re trying to get you to do business with them, you know that they are already spending money on personalization.
They’re already buying pens with their logo on it. They’re already buying t-shirts. They’re already buying hats. All you’re doing is putting yourself in front of them, so you’re in line to get a piece of it, the next time they do that.
Marc V: That’s great. The opposite of that is something that I like, too. If they’re very obviously in a niche, and they’re not wearing something.
Mark S: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.
Marc V: If you are doing corporate wear, and you’re meeting with an Accountant or a mortgage broker or something like that, and they’re wearing a button-up shirt like this or a polo shirt, and it doesn’t have anything on it, or it’s just a Nike shirt or a polo, you say “You know, your logo would look awesome on that, and you could get it done for the same price as that polo brand shirt.”
Mark S: I love that. It’s actually a joke around the office here that literally everything I wear is this shirt, with an embroidered or a DFX logo on it, definitely.
So, they’re using promotional products. They’re wearing it. These are all visual clues, and you’ll get very comfortable with this. You’ll learn it. Start, if you’re at a show or an event. Notice when people notice what you do. Then, what we’ll do next is kind of work on strategies, or at the end, we’ll work on some strategies on how to turn that interest into a sale.
Marc V: Good. Let’s talk about some verbal cues. We’ve got a few of these, as well, because it’s not only your eyes. You want to look with your ears, as well.
Mark S: Yeah. Look with your ears.
Marc V: We haven’t figured out any other senses, yet, but they could be there. But definitely listening.
Mark S: You could maybe, if there’s a particular smell, you could say “You know, I sell some odor-blocking custom t-shirts.”
Marc V: “Oh, yeah. We always get custom t-shirts made.” You hear them say “Remember the last time we had shirts made?” If they’re near you or around you, if they mention that they have shirts made, “Where did you get them from?”
Another thought is “Where did you get that? I’m trying to improve my business. What should they have done better? What’s a lesson that I could learn?”
Mark S: I like that.
Marc V: You get a conversation started, and they say “Oh, yeah, the embroidery was crooked.” “Oh, I figured that one out, already.”
Specifically, just a question. Maybe you have shirts out. “Do you do hats, too?” You dive on that stuff.
Mark S: If you’ve done any kind of sales at all before, these may be kind of obvious. But what we want you to do is not let these opportunities pass you by.
Marc V: This is all like mental exercise stuff. You get yourself in the mindset.
Mark S: If someone walks into ColDesi and says “You know, I’ve been looking for a place to buy vinyl,” they will leave with vinyl, because they’ve been looking for a place. But if you just say “Oh, that’s great! There are a lot of places around here that sell vinyl. Have a nice day!” Not. Don’t do that.
Marc V: It’s funny, but it’s important to just get yourself thinking about that stuff, and you’ll notice that extra 10%.
Mark S: It’ll be embarrassing, the stuff that you’ll notice.
Marc V: I’ve thought about doing this.
Mark S: That is a great one, because it’s non-committal on their part. You’re going to maybe ask them questions or show them things that might get them over the top. “Why haven’t you done it yet? We can partner up on this. I’ve got this and that and the other thing.” You’re going to look for things that they say, that may not say “Hey, I’m ready to buy this right now,” but it might be something slightly less for them, than that.
Marc V: You’re at a little networking event, a Chamber of Commerce luncheon thing, and somebody will just say “Yeah, I’ve been thinking about, one day our staff should have uniforms.” They might just say it noncommittal like that, but that’s your opportunity to just -.
Mark S: “How’s Tuesday?”
Marc V: Just start talking about it. “You should find out how much it costs, because then you could budget for it. I’m the perfect person to give you a quote.”
Mark S: I love that. The other one is these questions that are direct expressions of interest in what you do. The first one is “Do you have a storefront?” What does that actually tell you? What they want to do is they want to look around, and see the quality and the types of things that you do.
Marc V: “Do you have a website?” It’s the same thing.
Mark S: Same thing. “Do you have a business card?” That means “Well, I do, and I’m happy to give it to you, but you’re already here. Let’s take a look around together. Let’s work this out.” “I do, but I’ll tell you what. Let’s open up my laptop and go to my website, and let’s talk about your options.”
Marc V: Yeah. “No, I don’t have a store. I operate a little bit more behind closed doors. I do most of my stuff through networking at events like this. But I can show you a bunch of stuff. I’ve got pictures. What do you want to see?”
Mark S: I love that.
Marc V: Just kind of get the conversation flowing. Another tip on this is to ask open-ended, “What do you want to see?”, stuff like that. Not something that they easily get yes or no out of.
Mark S: One of my favorite things, if you don’t know what else to say to any of these things that you think might be clues that they want you to encourage them to buy something, “Tell me about.” “Tell me about your business.”
“Do you have a storefront?” “You know, I don’t. But tell me about your business.”
“Do you have a business card?” “Yes. Do you have a business card? I’d love to hear more about your business.”
Just let them talk about themselves, and they’ll present opportunities for you.
Marc V: Especially if they own a business or they’re in sales, or something like that, they are doing the same thing you’re doing. They’re looking for an opportunity to talk about it. If you hand it to them, then that’s like “Hey, that’s a freebie! I get to pitch.” Then, you get to reciprocate and pitch back. You get a nice flow going on, and the next thing you know, you’re friends and you’re doing business together.
Mark S: Just think. If you’ve been at this for a little while, and you’ve been to a networking event or you’ve been in a roomful of people, and everyone is fascinated by what you do and they ask for your card, just think about how few of those people actually bought something from you. And how it might have gone differently if you would have just said “Yeah. I definitely have business cards, but you know what? I’ve got pictures of what I do, on my phone.”
Or “Let’s go to my website,” or “Come on. Get in my car, and we’ll drive to my store in Miami.” Do something that will get them to the next step, where “I love that shirt!”
Marc V: Yes. You know what nobody likes, and what you can do with the phone picture thing? People like seeing things. People like looking at pictures, obviously. Nobody wants to see you scroll forever, to try to find pictures of your polos. What you should is – every phone will do this. You either “favorite” or put in a folder, “things I would show people.” Where you could open up your phone app, go to that folder.
Mark S: Or on your home screen.
Marc V: Yeah, hit that one. You don’t need a lot. You don’t need 150 pictures in there. 20 pictures of “These are my 20 pictures I show anybody who wants to see a picture.”
Mark S: I love that.
Marc V: And they’re easily accessible.
Mark S: Now that we’ve talked about what visual clues might be, and what verbal clues you are going to turn into opportunities, ,now we’re going to kind of talk about how to actually get them to give you money, at this point.
Marc V: Okay. Converting the sale?
Mark S: Yeah. This is converting conversation starters.
Marc V: Let’s talk about some of this. Also, we actually have some notes in here on converting conversation starters, so taking the conversation and getting it into a sales conversation. I think we’ve covered a lot of these, right?
Mark S: We did. Let’s just make sure.
Marc V: We’re reading here, while you guys are listening.
Mark S: Marc Vila will do some closeup magic.
Marc V: I forgot! The times that I’ve brought my closeup magic tricks, you did not say anything. You know! You know that I’ve got it with me.
Mark S: That’s true! Actually, I do like a couple of these. I like saying something like, if you are in a niche, or you see somebody that’s obviously in a niche like fishing or something like that, you could say something like “You know, I’ve got a lot of clients in your niche,” in the plumbing business, in the hairdressing business, “I’d love to show you a few examples.” That starts a conversation.
Marc V: And you don’t have to have them right then and there, too, if you don’t. Maybe in your top 20 pictures, none of them are plumbing businesses, but you have a couple plumbers you’ve done business for, and you’ve got pictures somewhere. That’s a good excuse to, you now get to have a second conversation, because you owe them something.
Mark S: I like that. Or you could say something, you’re talking to somebody that teaches Yoga, “You know what? I was in a Yoga studio a couple of weeks ago. Man, they sell tons of custom apparel! That’s what I do. Are you doing that in your shop?”
Marc V: Yeah. “Three out of four of the people in the class were wearing that Yogami shirt, so you should be doing that, too! I can help you get going.”
Mark S: And I love this little one. If you are at an event, you have to be careful who you ask. “People always stop and look at that design. What size are you? I bet I have something here for you.” In sales lingo, it’s the assumptive close. “Obviously, you’re looking at that shirt. You touched it. You want to buy it. Yes, I do have it in your size. Let’s go!”
Marc V: That’s a good thought, too, because then they get to pick it up, hold it up. Now they’re physically imagining it.
So now, we’ve got conversation started that’s leading toward kind of the sales process. You’re starting a conversation that can lead to quoting somebody on a project, talking about a job.
Mark S: Getting cash.
Marc V: Yeah, getting cash. So, how do we get some cash?
Mark S: What you can do is you can use some of these kind of phrases, like “I’d love to show you what I can do. How about if I make you one?” If someone is very into custom t-shirts or they’ve got corporate apparel, you might say something like that.
“I see you love the bag. I’d love to show you what I can do. How about if I make you one?” You just assume that they’re going to pay for it, and it’s a sale.
Marc V: That’s a great point, because at first, when you mentioned it, I was like “Oh, make them a free sample,” which is one tactic you could do.
Mark S: You could.
Marc V: But you could just say “How about I make you one? I could make you one, something like this.”
Mark S: “They’re only $25. Come on!”
Marc V: “We can go do it right now!”
Mark S: You could also say something like, especially if you use the “tell me about your business” kind of conversation starter, “It sounds like you do a lot of different things. I’d love to be a part of that. Why don’t let me do a small mixed order for you, and you can buy them, bring them inhouse, and see what you can do with them?”
Marc V: That’s great.
Mark S: A small mixed order, telling them it’s going to be a variety of products, especially if you’re talking to a bigger business.
Marc V: This could also be like that Yoga studio you mentioned, or a restaurant bar, or any place where they might sell their own swag.
Mark S: I love that! “I’ll bet your customers would love to get a variety of these different things. Why don’t you buy two sets, and we’ll just put them in your shop, and just see how they do?”
Marc V: Yeah. “Just see how they do. It’ll be like a little experiment for you. I’m telling you, you’re definitely going to make a little bit more money, and you’re going to get some free advertising, because people are going to be walking around with your hat on!”
Mark S: I like this one, too. “While you look around, how about if I make you one of these? I’ll even put your name on it.” If you’re doing stuff on the spot, if you’ve got transfers and names and numbers and things like that, you could offer to customize it right there.
Marc V: Yeah. That’s really cool. “Why don’t you hire me to do it better?” That was like where I said the shirt looked bad. You might not necessarily say it that way, but you could say “Listen. I could outfit you in much better stuff. You’re really going to like it. It might be a good time to give an upgrade to the look, because the food’s great, the atmosphere is great, the drinks are great, and the person serving it, their uniform’s not great. Let’s make it match.”
Mark S: I like that. “Let me show you what a great quality shirt like that will do.” That kind of thing. I like that.
Marc V: You’ve got “I love that design, too! Do you want me to wrap it up, or have it delivered to you?” They’ve got something, maybe you’re at a show or an event, or at your shop or whatever it is, and they’re looking at it. “This is so cute! I love this!” “Yeah, that’s one of my favorites. Really popular. It’s $20. I can bring it up to the register for you now,” and stuff like that.
Mark S: I think the general approach that we’re talking here on a lot of these, is just assume that they want to buy that. They already want to buy that. “That jacket looks great on you! Let me find it in your size, and I’ll wrap it up.” “I love that shirt, too. Come on, let’s head for the register. I want to make sure you get one. Does your friend want one, too?”
Marc V: “That is the last one.” Point that out, for sure. “That’s the last one. What size are you? XL? I’ve got one XL in it. It’s the last one.” Make sure you point those things out, too, because that’s an opportunity for them.
What else do we have here?
“I’m sure you’ll be happier with the work I do. Why don’t we place a small order now, and if you like them, we can discuss a larger one later.”
Mark S: I like that for a couple of reasons. We talked about the idea that you’re going to do great work. And if they keep walking, they’re not going to get the same quality, or the same care that you’re going to give them. It’s in their benefit to buy something from you.
So, “Look. You’re going to be happy with it. Just buy a small order. Take five shirts or 10 shirts or 25 hats, or whatever it is. Try them out. If you like them, then we’ll talk about the big one.”
Marc V: Yeah. You don’t have to outfit the whole restaurant. Maybe just that bartender specifically, that I noticed the shirt on, first. “Let’s start with him. Five? Then, if you love it, then we can talk about the other ten employees.”
Mark S: I love this one, too, because it will work for the next thing that we’re going to talk about; how to do this, convert the sale on the phone.
Marc V: Yeah, because you are going to get business. If you’ve done all of the things we’ve talked about; you’re on Bing Places and Facebook and Google My Business, and when people go to Google Maps and they search “embroidery near me.”
Mark S: I’m so proud that you remembered Bing Places! That’s great!
Marc V: They go to all these places, and they find you. There’s a little phone button on your website or Facebook or whatever it is, Google, and they click it, and they call you up just to ask you real quick. So now, what do you do there? Let’s talk about some of those things.
Mark S: Really, we’ve got some examples, just short scripts, like we’ve been talking about, that are going to be in the show notes. I definitely want you to download them.
But what you don’t want is you don’t want somebody to call you, and then ask for a quote, and then you give them the price, and then they hang up. You don’t want that, because you’ve paid for that phone call. It’s not free.
Marc V: Yeah, in one way or another.
Mark S: You spent your time or your money. What you could say is something like “Can I save you some shopping time? I’m going to do a great job at a great price anyway. I promise you’ll be happy with the results. Why don’t you just let me take your order now, and I’ll get started?”
You’re saying “Look. You’re going to spend the next hour calling around, getting different prices and everything. You don’t know if those are going to be good. I know I do great work, so I’m going to quote you a fair price right now. Just place the order. I’ll take care of it.”
Marc V: It’s one of those things, speaking about it almost sounds funny or silly to even say that. But if you re-word that in an honest tone for you.
Mark S: Absolutely.
Marc V: Something I might say, that’s the same thing, is “Okay, great. When are you looking to do this?” “I’m thinking about it.” “Are you shopping around a little bit?” “Yeah, just calling.” “I’ll tell you what I did, because I listen to the Custom Apparel Startups podcast, I researched everyone around here. What you’re asking for is really what I specialize in.”
“Other shops, they might do this, but I specialize in this. I know my price is really fair. I know my quality is top notch. You’re really the right type of person that I like to deal with, and I’d love to earn your business. I feel like we’ve had a good conversation so far. If you feel good about it, I’m asking for it.”
Mark S: You could even do a throwaway negative. What that would be, would be something like “You know what? If you were going to order 2,000 of these things, I probably wouldn’t quote you at all. I’d send you to somebody down the street. But man, if you want 35 of these, there’s nobody else that’s going to do as good a job, or be able to get it to you faster.”
Marc V: Yeah. “You want 35 of these by Friday? I specialize in an order of that size at that speed. Not everyone else will do it. Some folks will say yes, but they don’t specialize in that. I know. I’ve seen the nightmares.”
Mark S: “You know what? You’re going to call around for the next 30 or 45 minutes, and you really don’t know what you’re going to get in the end. I’m going to promise you that everything’s going to be good, right up front.”
I like that kind of thing. I also like the production schedule, kind of a scarcity thing. “I’ve got time in my production schedule tomorrow or Friday. Can I put your job in one of those time slots?” That does a couple of things. First of all, you seem like a busy professional, and people want to do business with that, not “Hey, I could do it right now! Just come into the shop. I’ll print it.”
“I’ve got time on these two days. Why don’t you let me take your order, and I’ll get you in right now.” I like that a lot.
Marc V: Yeah. “I’m able to book you right now.” Or there’s other things. “Hey, I actually just had another customer that needed stuff due on Friday. They called me up, and they said that their event got postponed because of rain. Remember that storm that happened last week? So, I’ve got time right now or tomorrow. You said you wanted a rush order. You called at the perfect time!”
Mark S: I love that. I also like avoiding the price conversation, until you get a commitment. Somebody calls up for a quote, and you have a long conversation about, like you’re going to do, because you’ve listened to our other podcasts about “I’ve got a couple of different shirt qualities for your situation. I’m going to recommend this.”
You’re an expert. You’re going to talk to them like a pro. You’re going to say “Look. I know you are going to shop around a little bit. I’m going to make you happy on the price. Why don’t you just tell me when you need the shirts delivered, and let me get the order started?” Then, as an aside, “It will be $28.50 each.”
Marc V: Speaking about that, when you’re having that conversation, if you call up – I’ve done this – you call up a random shop, you’re going to get one that just says “12 shirts? $12.99 apiece. $20 setup fee. That’s it. it will take a week to get done.”
Mark S: Everyone is going to say that, 100%.
Marc V: No rapport. They look at it, and a lot of small business owners do this – in general, a lot of people do this – they look at a phone call or something like that as an interruption, because they convert very low. Meaning that most of the phone calls that they get don’t turn into customers. So, they look at it as “This is just another person calling for a quote, that’s not going to go anywhere.”
You want to make your business high-converting on the phone calls.
Mark S: I’ll tell you that if you have said to somebody within the past six months, “You know what? I get all kind of phone calls. Nobody ever buys anything anyway.” Then, you are the problem. You haven’t developed phone skills yet. So, rewind this podcast and start over.
Marc V: And listen to some of the other ones. Just go and listen to all of them, because we’ve talked a lot about rapport-building and snippets all over the place. But that conversation about “Okay, great! What are the shirts for? Indoor or outdoor? Alright. Just men, just women? Mixed? Okay. What type? Oh, okay. Athletes? Alright, you’re going to sweat in them.”
Mark S: Yeah, yeah.
Marc V: You’re learning them. They are not going to get that treatment from most places. And during this, you don’t make it like a battery of questions that you’re asking them, like they’re doing a survey. This is conversational.
“It’s going to be an outdoor event.” “Cool! What type of event are you doing?” “It’s a company picnic.” “Oh! I own a business now, but I remember I used to work for a company, and those were fun!”
Mark S: “We did picnics all the time.”
Marc V: “You’re doing it at a park? Okay.” You find the person, and you’re going to try to have these conversations with folks. Some folks will “Yeah, the park.”
Mark S: You’ll get short answers.
Marc V: You’re going to get short answers. You’ve got to find the spot where they will open the door for you, and they will. Alright, they don’t care about the place. “Tell me about your business.” Then, maybe that will open it up. Once their door is open, you’ve got the sale.
Mark S: I love that we’ve got another theme here, that you have to look at every phone call that’s not spam, and everyone that comes into your shop, and everyone that comes by your booth, as a golden opportunity. Treat it as an amazing opportunity, like the President of the biggest company, with the most cash, that needs the most custom shirts done in the world, just walked into your shop.
You want to be that person’s friend, so they’ll order from you. By the way, it’s incredibly rewarding to set up these connections. I love the connections that I’ve got to a lot of our customers on the CAS group, that we’ve talked on the phone and we’ve done videoconferences. That’s great! We both benefit from that.
That’s what you’re looking for, when you’re in these situations. Somebody walks up to you at a show, comes into your booth at an event, calls you on the phone, walks into your retail shop. Stop what you’re doing, and pay attention to what’s happening, and kind of follow these steps, through to a sale.
Marc V: Yeah, I love that stuff! You’re just sitting there explaining it, and it’s like this stuff is honestly just exciting to be able to talk about, for me. Because I’m always paying attention to this type of stuff, because we talk about it and we do it for a living.
So, whenever I go into a little shop or a store, and the clerk just doesn’t say hi to anybody. I just walked in, looked around, walked out. They have no clue what I was willing to spend, no clue about anything, and opportunity is just flying by people all the time.
Mark S: I’ve been waiting for the chance to tell this story!
Marc V: Okay! You hardly have stories!
Mark S: I know! This is such a good one! I want to reinforce the idea that everyone that you talk to on the phone and that comes into your shop or visits your event, might be a golden opportunity.
I was in the car business, as a young man. Being new in the car business, what they used to do is they have a rotation system. So, if somebody new comes in, they assign them to the next salesperson in line. It’s kind of terrible, but that’s the way it was for years. Unless you were new, and somebody that looked terrible came into the dealership. Then, they put you first in line.
I was selling Nissans at the time, and these two guys, obviously brothers, in their forties, came in. Cutoffs and t-shirts, literally had grease on their bodies. They each bought Maximas, with an American Express that day. They were dirty from working on their helicopter.
So, just an example. If somebody calls you and they have a terrible voice or they seem rude, when they first walk into your store, or they blow you off or anything like that, just ignore all that, and just keep looking for an opportunity to connect and to lead them down one of these paths. Because if they’re interacting with you, as it regards to your business, then they are interested in buying something, 100% of the time.
You don’t go into a clothing store if you’re looking for milk. You’re looking for clothes. There you go!
Marc V: Alright, we’ve got some plans. We’ve figured out some icebreakers, and we’ve turned that into some conversations, and maybe some different ways you can get them to commit to the sale.
What are our next steps?
Mark S: The first one is really important. I’d like you to look at the show notes here, or if you’ve been paying really close attention to the podcast, just write down some of the things that you might say in each one of these circumstances.
Because as you can tell, Marc Vila and I both have different styles, when we’re talking to people, and when we’re writing things to people, and when we’re on video. But they’re both really effective. So, you’ve got to find your own voice in these things.
Marc V: Yeah. The thing that I’ve always read and learned and practiced is just be genuine to you.
Mark S: Right.
Marc V: Figure out the way that it’s right for you to speak. The exact phrases that are in the notes, Mark wrote some, I wrote some. You might not know which is which.
Mark S: The better ones might be mine. I’m not sure.
Marc V: If you like the way that it’s written, and you can picture yourself saying that, because that’s the way you speak, then just do it. Take it. If you’re like “I don’t like the way that sounds,” how would you word it, then?
Because a couple of these, I wouldn’t say it that way, because if I tried to say it that way, it’s not me.
Mark S: It would come out fake.
Marc V: It would come out fake, yeah, so find your own thing.
Mark S: I think a good exercise for this is to picture yourself in the situations that we described. Picture yourself at a weekend market, and people are in your booth, and they’re just looking around your stuff. What are you going to say? What are you going to do, to make them make the next move? Right?
Marc V: If you’re at a networking event, even if it’s the children’s birthday party networking event, where you just meet, talking to parents, wherever it might be. When you do make those connections, where you got to bring up your business and it turned into a meaningful conversation, go through that in your head.
Maybe when you’re driving home, or something like that, think “How did I get started? What did I mention? That felt good. It worked. Next time I’m a situation, I’m going to just do something similar to that again,” and that just might be your in, all the time. It just works perfect for you.
Mark S: Or you’re going to add the same phrase to the end of every conversation that you have, that’s going to be “You know what? Can I send you some information? Can I deliver a shirt to your house tomorrow? I know it’s weird. We just met. We’re in a pool. But still!”
Alright. The next thing is you absolutely do have to practice these. You’ll be more comfortable saying things that you’ve said before. That’s why you always yell at your kids the same way.
Marc V: So, you’ve got that all set. Then, the last thing you do is just see if the sales improve. I would just say wait for them to improve, because they will. All of these things that we are talking about, I don’t think we ever talk about any type of get rich quick scheme. We never talk about “This is how you’re going to sell 1,000 shirts next month!”
Everything we’re talking about are the basics of standard marketing and sales and business growth tactics that, in one way or another, any expert or guru will agree with them, on some level. These are things that if you do this and you practice this, 100%, you’re going to sell more.
Mark S: You will sell more. And you know what? I’ll make an offer. If you want to go through any of these, if you want to practice your script, or you want to talk about situations and how you might be able to sell more in them, or what you might be able to say, specific approaches for your niche, give us a shout.
Marc V: Yeah. You can message us in the Custom Apparel Startups Facebook group, if you want. That’s probably the most common one, where folks will just send a quick message. Or you could email us through CustomApparelStartups.com. You can call in to ColDesi. I’ve had people just call in. They just call in and ask for me, and say “I heard you on the podcast. Let me just ask you a question.”
I encourage you to do that. If you’re listening to this, and you’re in buying, shopping stage, for equipment, the good thing is that Mark and I don’t actually sell the equipment.
Mark S: Yes, that’s true.
Marc V: So, if you want to call and ask about the business, and not have it turn into an equipment conversation and trying to sell you something, you just want to know about the business more, I encourage those conversations. Then, when you’re at the right time to talk to one of our pros who is a salesperson, then you can move over to them, to get “How big is the machine?”, and all of these things.
Mark S: I will tell you that there is a 100% chance that we will try to sell you on listening to more podcast episodes. That’s a guarantee!
Marc V: Yes. We make thousands of dollars, every time somebody listens!
Mark S: We make thousands of something. We make thousands of nothing.
Marc V: Thousands of nothings, but we enjoy doing it for you guys, because we hear good feedback all of the time, about how it helped. So do this, and it will.
Mark S: I love that! Okay, everyone, this has been Mark Stephenson, from ColDesi.
Marc V: And Marc Vila, from Colman and Company.
Mark S: You guys have an amazing sales closing conversational business!
Marc V: Wow, that was a long one!
Mark S: It was good.