Mark S: Yes.
Marc V: So, hopefully we get a little bit of participation today, but this is only our second live. So, why don’t we get into the podcast?
Mark S: I like it. The science of upselling. Marc, why don’t you set this up for us? Because you read this book, doing research for the podcast, and it really has had an impact on our last two or three. So, why don’t you start?
Marc V: I’m always just searching for marketing and business books. I’ve got two books going on at once, at all times; a fiction and a business one. I found this one. It’s called Influence, by Robert Cialdini. He talks about, basically the psychology of persuasion. It’s a really great book. I learned a ton of stuff.
One thing to mention is – not that he talks about it, but we need to talk about it. Persuasion is not manipulation.
Mark S: Right. We spent 65 episodes avoiding the S-word, which is sales.
Marc V: Yeah.
Mark S: Because honestly, ,that’s what you guys are all doing. If you are a small businessperson, whether or not you like it or realize it, you don’t actually get paid for making t-shirts or for physically doing embroidery.
You get paid when you make a transaction, and somebody buys that, somebody gives you money for that. So, just like that is sales, and we try to talk about that in different ways, we’re really not talking about persuasion, in the sense you go into a car dealership, and they spend the next three hours convincing you that you cannot leave without this car.
We’re talking about ways to talk to your customers, that will inspire and motivate them to either make a purchase, or make a larger purchase than they had thought they would.
Marc V: The big thing is that people can buy t-shirts anywhere. They can buy custom apparel, caps, shirts and all of the accessories that you sell, anywhere. They can go to Target or Walmart, and buy something not custom.
They can order from a big brand that’s online, that offers custom apparel.
Mark S: And no matter how inexpensively you sell your shirts, or how beautiful your shirts are, there is someone that is probably just as good, just as cheap, and just as available as you are.
Marc V: Yeah. And there’s somebody who has a different technology for decorating shirts. There’s somebody who believes a brand or a style is better. That’s not always equal.
So, what you’re going to do, and as you improve the way you talk to your customers with persuasion, is you’re going to help to show them that you are an expert, that you do make a great garment at a great and really good price, or at a fair price, or whatever. It’s got value to it, more importantly.
Mark S: Yeah. These things and the last three podcasts, really, these things are what differentiate you from that other business. These are ways that you can talk to your customers, that give them reasons, that give them motivations, and that inspire them to buy from you, instead of the competition.
Marc V: Yes, because like I said, they can go anywhere. So, let’s go into it. We’ve got six things that we’re going to talk about today.
Mark S: Six.
Marc V: Yes, six.
Mark S: I decide visually, it’s more important on this one, since we’re on video.
Marc V: Six things on episode 69. It works all over the place.
Reciprocity is the first thing I’ll bring up.
Mark S: What does that mean?
Marc V: We talked about it in the past two episodes. So, if you haven’t listened, you should. Reciprocity, essentially what it means is that socially, when somebody is given something, or a favor is done for them, they feel an obligation to provide the favor back, to do something back. It’s just something that’s natural.
Mark S: It’s what we do.
Marc V: It’s what we do. We’ve talked about it before, but you go into the store where they sell chocolate chip cookies at the mall, and you go in there, and they give you a piece of a cookie, and maybe a sip of some coffee to taste, that they make there, as well.
So, a husband and wife, they go in there. They each take a sample of a cookie, and they each take a sip of coffee. Then, one of them leans over and says “Well, we have to buy something.” Right? It’s like, why do you have to? You do not have to. They gave you this, completely for free. There was no obligation.
But you feel a natural, like you’re compelled.
Mark S: Yeah. There’s an urge to do that. Now, this doesn’t work for everybody, 100% of the time. There are college students that go to the food court, and they just eat the samples. That’s how they get through college. And you might be one of the people like me, who declines a sample, or keeps walking.
But a large percentage of the people, most people will respond, just in the way that Marc was talking about.
Marc V: Yes. Also, 100% of us respond to this in some way. For me, it might work with the sample of coffee. Then, I feel compelled to buy a cup of coffee. For you, it might not. But it’s going to work for us, in all different ways.
So, when you’re learning to kind of work with reciprocity with your customers, you’re going to have to learn with your business, with your customer type, what are some things you can do for them, as a favor, that will help you upsell.
Mark S: And it could be a combination of things. We talked about the free cap example. But you know, if you have a retail location, it may also be something just to encourage people to stay in your store longer. So, they have a longer time.
It’s why, if you go into a car dealership, one of the first things they offer, after you sit down, is a can of Coke or a bottle of water. Because you’ll sit there, and you’ll finish it. Or you’ll drink a lot of it, and it’s sticky. It keeps you in one place.
“They did this for me, so I’m going to finish my coffee.”
Marc V: Yeah. It’s true. Actually, we have a comment about this, which it’s funny, but I think it’s making a point here. Brandon says “I’ve been giving away one rhinestone as a giveaway, but I haven’t gotten any sales.”
Mark S: That’s great.
Marc V: Actually, it’s a great point that you have to match what it is to what you expect to get back. So, yes. If you gave away one rhinestone, you should probably expect nothing. It has no value.
However, if you gave away a sticker -.
Mark S: Actually, I think the value is .007 cents.
Marc V: We have these numbers memorized. But yes, if you actually have a rhinestone sample, say you make a sticker for them, with their logo. Or maybe just a yellow ribbon or something that’s kind of like a standard free giveaway, like an American flag or something like that. And you give this away.
“By the way, I do rhinestones.” What you’ve done is you’ve given them something for free. You’ve done a favor for them. Then, you’ve made an offer back. “Hey, by the way, I offer rhinestone apparel. I could do stickers for you, shirts, anything like that. Here’s one for free. All I ask in return is you tell me how you like it, and if you need some, keep me in mind.”
Mark S: That really goes back to the previous couple of podcasts, when we talk about the different ways that you can engage your customers, and make them feel special. You include that cap with their shirt order. You include an extra shirt for the coach, when you deliver an order for the team.
You do something special, do something unique, or offer them something for free, that is completely unexpected. It kind of builds that social contract that you talked about.
Marc V: Yes, absolutely. It’s the same reason why they give away the cookie sample. It’s because for one, they want you to know for sure that they make great cookies. But then, as soon as you get one, you feel a little bit compelled to take an action. “If I’m not going to buy a cookie, I at least should tell some people.”
They might even have a sign, “Tell your friends,” on the way out.
Mark S: It makes me buy one of those diet drinks. That’s what happens.
Marc V: Okay! So, that’s a little bit of a summary of reciprocity. What you should do in practice for this, would be to find a way to either give away something for free, and request something in return. It should be very deliberate, in what that is.
If you give away a free cap, or you do an embroidered patch, and you give that away with an order – this is to current customers, because we’re upselling customers. You give this to them, and you say “When you need patches, or if you’d like some patches, give me a call. By the way, please refer me to any of your friends or colleagues.”
You’re asking for a couple of things there. Even if they don’t have the budget to buy the patches or the caps – maybe they don’t have the money for that, if it’s like a Little League. They don’t have the extra money to buy patches, too. However, because you gave that for free, that person will feel more compelled, and rightfully so, to refer you to somebody.
Mark S: I like that. And you know, if somebody out there that is part of the Custom Apparel Startups Facebook group, just go through, and you can comment right in the Facebook group, if you’d like. So, if you are just tuning in, because the live feed is everywhere, in the different streams – if you are just tuning in, we are Mark and Marc, from the Custom Apparel Startups podcast.
We’re talking about the science of upselling, persuasion, and ways to talk to your customers.
Marc V: Awesome!
Mark S: We’ve just talked about reciprocity. Now, we’re going to move on to consistency. All of these techniques, these ways of talking to your customers, that we’re going to discuss today, work independently of each other. But they work even better, when you put them in combination.
Doing one of these things is great. Doing all of these things is a ticket to more money, basically.
Marc V: Absolutely. It’s little bits here and there. Just keep on working toward it.
The second one is consistency. What this means is people like to remain consistent over time. This is true for so many things. It’s brands, it’s what’s your favorite coffee, it’s your favorite phone, it’s your politics, it’s your religion. It’s everything. People like to remain consistent.
Mark S: Even if you pride yourself on being inconsistent, you’re being consistent in doing that.
Marc V: Yes, you’re being consistent, doing that. So, especially when we’re public about it. Somebody is more likely to adhere to their actions, beliefs, habits, especially when they’ve publicly expressed it.
Mark S: Basically, you’ve staked your reputation on it. We’ve got a couple of good examples.
Marc V: Yeah. The one that I like, that we talked about, is the phone one. You’ve mentioned that probably what you did not do was buy an iPhone and buy a Samsung, test them out for six months apiece, a half day at a time, and picked that one that one perfect for you.
You purchased one, for whatever reason. It doesn’t matter, at this point.
Mark S: Yeah. I mean, if you’ve got a beard, you probably have an iPhone.
Marc V: I would guess so! So, you’ve purchased the iPhone, and then you’ve told a bunch of people how great it is. You’ve posted on social media that you love your phone, that you just got it. You send emails that say “Sent from my iPhone.” You’ve kind of displayed to the world, you’ve reviewed the phone on Apple’s page.
Mark S: It kind of becomes part of your identity, like “I’m an iPhone user. I’m an android user.”
Marc V: Exactly. You have some pride in this. And when you go to buy a new phone, you’re going to probably remain consistent to that brand.
Mark S: You’ve not starting over. Right? By the way, it works on the other side, as well. I am famously not an iPhone user. Just the fact that I say it that way means that that’s become part of my own personal brand and my identity. I don’t use an iPhone. I argue with my kids all the time. We always give each other a hard time.
So, is there any chance that I’m going to buy an iPhone next? No, there’s no chance!
Marc V: And this is why. This is where it really comes down deep. Let’s say that you see the new commercial for the new iPhone that came out. You go online, and you do a little research. You’re up late at night, and you’re kind of flipping, and you’re like “Man, I like that feature! I like that!”
You’re thinking in your head, “I might actually like this phone. There is no way I’m going to let my daughters know that I am going to buy an iPhone.” Right? You’re not going to do it.
Mark S: No, no. But in reality, all of those features that I like, they would have been on last year’s Samsung. But if you’re not a phone person, maybe it’s cars. Maybe you’ve always driven a Ford, or you’re a Mustang guy, or you only buy SUVs. You may have rationale, but one of the big motivators behind that is this need that people have for consistency.
The reason that we’re talking about this is, if you can develop that kind of consistency in your customers, then it just makes it easier to keep them as customers. It kind of snowballs. It’s easier to add that cap to the next order. They’ll add more shirts to the next order.
They will do whatever they can, to reinforce that original decision that they made, to go with you.
Marc V: Yes, and especially if they say it publicly. This is why it’s really important for you to ask your customers, “Will you share on your Facebook or on your Twitter? Will you take a picture, and post it to Instagram, that I’m your embroiderer or your t-shirt person, or I’m the person that makes your caps? That I’m your go-to person?”
For one, it is going to help your business. For two, it solidifies them, to help them really remember why they made that decision in the first place, and why they do like working with you. Then, that locks it in.
So, if you go and visit one of your customers, and it’s a decent sized company, and you meet with the owner or the decision-maker, and they introduce your around as “Oh, yeah. This is our t-shirt guy. This is our t-shirt woman, right here.” You’ve now solidified that decision, with that person. They’ve made it public.
It can be public in the way of social media, it can be public as just telling friends and family. You can encourage to be introduced to the Little League team. Whatever you do, whoever is the person that’s making the decision, that you’re doing business with, work with them to get them to share publicly, that you are their person.
Mark S: I’m sure you guys have all experienced this as well, that pride that you get, when you make a recommendation, and somebody follows it.
Great new place in Tampa, called The Armature Works. I’ve been there twice. I talk about it all the time. Somebody else goes, and we immediately have a connection. And I feel better, because I know I found something good, and I convinced somebody else to go, and I know they enjoyed it. So, that kind of reinforces things for me.
On the other side of that, though, and this isn’t really upselling – it’s more getting that customer. They may have that consistency, that relationship, with another vendor. But once you recognize the motivation behind what they’re doing, the fact that they may just be keeping up with that other t-shirt vendor or embroidery vendor or whatever it is.
They may just continue to do business with them, from a force of habit, because they’ve committed to being their customer; because they’ve announced that publicly. So, you’ve got to strategize a little bit differently, maybe, and recognize that.
Maybe you could, “Look. I know that you’re an iPhone guy. But if they ever disappoint you, you might look at Samsung. There’s a lot of great stuff. I’m happy to be here for you, when you’re ready. If they can’t fill an order, that’s no problem. I understand that’s your guy. I just want to be your guy in reserve.”
Marc V: Yeah, because when you learn this stuff, and you think about it on a larger level, you’re also realizing that they already have some consistency built somewhere. “Our league or our school already uses somebody. We already have a company that we use.” They’ve got some consistency happening.
They may even have reciprocity, that they feel an obligation to go back, because the last time, they did a rush order for them, or they gave them some free apparel for a charity walk. So, you’re needing to also break through persuasion that’s happened somewhere else.
Mark S: The last I’ll say about this is – it also goes back to the introduction. We are doing the Custom Apparel Startups podcast, episode 69. We’re live on Facebook and YouTube. And one of the places that we’re live is on the Custom Apparel Startups Facebook group. And a great place to see that stickiness of consistency is there, because I’m with ColDesi, and we sell embroidery machines and direct-to-garment printers, and bling machines and a lot of stuff.
Marc is the Colman and Company guy. He runs ecommerce, and they sell the Digital HeatFX, and all of that.
Whenever a question is asked on one of the groups, “What kind of embroidery machine should I get?”, no one says “Well, I use an XYZ brand, but I think this brand is better.” No one will ever say that. What they’ll say is “Oh, I’ve had Tajimas for years,” or “I own an Avance,” or “I own a Melco,” or “I own a Brother DTG printer.”
It’s not like they bought two printers or two embroidery machines, and compared them side by side for years, and decided that this was the best one. No. They made that original decision. It’s worked out okay, so now they have that consistency. They’ve got that stickiness.
So, look for that in potential customers, so you’ll know what you’re up against. And try to inspire that in your existing customers, so they’ll continue to buy.
Marc V: Absolutely. I think the biggest takeaway here is that any time you can get your current customers, that are happy, that like working with you, that you’ve taken care of, that you’ve given a really fair deal and a great garment, that request that they somehow publicly mention that, mention you and share that, whether that’s social media, at a public event, in their business, wherever it is.
Get them to say it out loud, or type it or write it somewhere, introduce you to people. That’s going to help lock that in. That relationship’s better.
How you upsell with that is, now you’re the person. You’re the person that they trust. You’re the person that they go to. You are their expert, and now they’ll go ahead, and they’re more likely to buy other things that you offer.
Mark S: Which is great!
Marc V: If you do embroidery now, and then you turn and you offer heat transfer vinyl or digital transfers, or something to that effect, then when you contact them and say “Hey, by the way, I now offer t-shirts, as well,” they’re very like to continue to work with you.
Mark S: That’s a great kind of segue into way number three that you should be talking to your customers, or some ways to talk to them, to inspire more sales. And that is social proof.
Marc V: Yeah. Before I get into that, Myra Roland said good morning to us on Facebook.
Mark S: Good morning, Myra!
Marc V: So, we should say good morning back. We appreciate you coming to listen, along with everybody else who is listening live or recorded. Thank you very much!
Mark S: No. I’m just going to say thanks to the live. The recorded people, forget it.
Marc V: This podcast is, there’s no charge for this podcast. It’s free. We do a lot of research ahead of time, and we spend a lot of time, to give you great content. What I would ask in return is if you could share this with some other folks in the industry, that you know, or just other small business owners, to help educate them.
Also, it’s good for us and our viewership and listenership.
Mark S: Yes, and we’re going to talk about social proof, so if you are an iTunes person, then definitely rate us on iTunes. Definitely review us there.
Marc V: Yeah. Social proof; when we are going to make a decision, we are likely to make a decision that kind of the crowd, that other people have made.
Mark S: It’s 100% of the time.
Marc V: We can go to the phone. If all of your friends have iPhones, and this is the first time you’re going to be buying a phone – I don’t know what world this is, but I’m just saying this is the first time you’re buying a phone. You’re more than likely to buy an iPhone, like your friends.
Mark S: You’re seven. It’s the first time you’ve bought a phone.
Marc V: If you go to a food truck rally, which is big nowadays, and there are 12 trucks, and all of them have two people on line, but that one has six people on line, that place has got something good. They’ve got something going on. I know it’s a longer line, but I’m more than likely to get into the line.
It’s also that people do what others do. It’s also why a musician on the street will seed his hat or her hat, with dollars. This way, when somebody walks by, “Other people are giving this great musician a dollar. I’m going to do the same.”
Mark S: You never see an empty tip jar at Starbucks. They always put a buck in there or something like that, just to get people started. That’s kind of the social proof. It’s kind of like the “pay it forward” thing, where if you’ve tried this experiment, if you go through a toll booth, you pay for the person behind you, it’s rather likely that they will pay for the person behind them.
They’re getting some kind of – when you witness those things or you experience those things, you’re more likely to do that same, because that’s what’s happened to you.
Marc V: Yeah. So, how does this turn into sales and upselling? What you need to do is you need to be able to facilitate an environment where you have social proofs. That goes back to the consistency. If you have your customers review you online or on Facebook or on your website, or if you have a store, and you have a board up where people can write thank-you notes, or whatever it might be – pictures of them in the apparel – you’re creating social proofs.
If you work with a local dance team, and you make all of their apparel, if you can get pictures of all of the schools at an event, with all of the apparel you made -.
Mark S: “Look at all of these people!”
Marc V: Yeah. You have a giant wall. That’s social proof. Somebody walks in. They’re not sure if they’re ready to make a purchase through you. They look on the wall, they see the social proof. “Look at all of that great apparel and look at all of these people who have made the decision that I’m going to make.”
Mark S: I keep coming back to the car dealership thing, because I think it’s such an interesting little laboratory for sales techniques. You’ll still run into some salespeople today that when you buy the car, they like to take a picture of you with the car.
They do that because they can share it and say “Oh, look at all of these people I made happy! Look at all of these smiling customers!” Nobody’s in tears in the finance office, or anything like that. It’s good social proof.
If you’ve been to trade shows, which we’ve done thousands over the years – if you’ve been to trade shows, you’ll know that no one ever goes over to a booth that no one’s at.
Marc V: That’s very true. An empty booth.
Mark S: An empty booth is “Oh, geez. I’m not even going to try.”
Marc V: So, how do you create some social proofs? Here are some simple things you can do. For one, ask people to like, mention, share, review you, on social media, wherever that might be, wherever you are. Take pictures. If you have a store – whether you have a store or not, actually, because it also works for social media, as well. Take pictures of you, with your customers wearing their apparel.
If you have a team of people, a company, “Hey, can I come by your shop and take a picture of everybody one morning, with all of the apparel that I made, or that we made together?”, or whatever you want to say, and share that. You share that online, you share it in person.
You can have some sort of – even if it’s just actual physical things in your store. You can have books with thank-you letters. It doesn’t matter what it is, but you need to have social proofs, and have a lot of them. Have them online and offline, have them be pictures, reviews.
Social proof can also happen, actually just in real time. You go to like a local Chamber of Commerce event, if you’ve joined, and maybe you make apparel for a few people. As you’re being introduced, you kind of say “Oh, by the way, I make custom apparel. I do hats and t-shirts.”
And you’re standing next to Mark. “Oh, you know Mark? I do all of his stuff. How do I do?” And get Mark to say “You do a great job.”
Mark S: Speaking of trade shows, that’s what happens in a lot of trade shows. People will give away shirts that have their brand on it, and if you wear the shirt, they will give you a prize. For the rest of the day, they get “Have you seen all of the people walking around with my shirt on?” That’s social proof.
And speaking of social proof, I think I did not say good morning to Terry Smalley.
Marc V: Oh, thank you!
Mark S: Good morning, Terry!
Marc V: Good morning, Terry! Thanks for joining us live. Thanks to everybody, for joining us live. Thanks to the folks listening to the recording, too. I like them just as much.
Mark S: Do you really?
Marc V: I do.
Mark S: Okay. You’re much easier than I am. Okay, that’s social proof. Reciprocity, we talked about. Consistency, we talked about. Social proof is equally important.
All of those three things, and what we’re going to talk about next, if you think about these while you’re doing business every day, if while you’re updating products on your website, you think about these; while you’re talking to somebody about selling transfers or rhinestone designs; if you think about these things and employ them, you’ll start to notice it’s easier to do business.
People will respond to you, and you’ll be able to sell a little bit more. That’s the goal here. That’s why we’re doing all of this stuff, to convince people to buy from you, as opposed to anybody else, and to encourage people to buy more.
Marc V: Yeah. And it’s important that you do a good job on all of this, too. It’s important that you follow all of the other things that we’ve talked about in our podcasts. This only works when you also are delivering a good product, and you are confident in the product, and you set expectations correctly for your customers, what to expect out of your products. How to wash them, whatever they might be.
It all ties together. The next one is likeability.
Mark S: Yeah. This one is tough!
Marc V: This one’s easy!
Mark S: It’s easy for us, because all we do is marketing. All we do is sales and marketing. We’ve spent our whole careers getting along with people. That’s basically our job. Not all of you are that likeable, especially the people that aren’t watching live. A higher percentage of them are not likeable. It’s way worse.
Marc V: We’re combative today!
Mark S: I’m not as likeable as you.
Marc V: What I would say is this can be simple, but a challenge. For one, you should be nice to your customers. You should answer your phone in a way that makes it seem like you’re a business, and you are happy that they called.
Mark S: Yes, please do that.
Marc V: Your email signature – this goes back to so many things.
Mark S: We have a list of pet peeves.
Marc V: Your email signature shouldn’t be this long, big.
Mark S: Of things you won’t do, people you don’t want to hear from.
Marc V: All of that stuff. Be likeable. Shake peoples’ hands. Smile when you talk to them. Answer the phone in a pleasant way. Thank people for giving you their business. Send a thank-you note. Whenever you are quoting somebody for a job, make sure that you are letting them know all of the reasons why you’ve made this choice.
“I’ve chosen this shirt because of this. You mentioned to me that shirts being washed a bunch of times is important to you. This is why I’ve chosen this brand for you. This brand is going to be better for you.”
What you’re doing is you’re educating your customer. You’re being an expert. You’re being friendly. You’re being likeable.
Mark S: Yeah. You’re not doing this. “Here’s a free hat that I am giving to you because -.” You really have to relate to people, and treat your customers as if they were your friend. We’ve got a lot of customers online right now. We’ve got people on the Custom Apparel Startups Facebook group that we chat with on the weekends, on Facebook. The people in our sales departments do the same thing.
If anyone is not likeable, if you don’t feel good about talking to somebody else, then you’re just not going to buy anything from them. Or you’re going to buy the smallest thing you can, like this hat, and then just leave.
Marc V: As a business owner, this can work in a complete circle. It’s not just about you being likeable to your customers. It’s about being likeable in general, as your own personal brand, because you will get referrals from people who will never buy from you, for whatever reason. They’re just not your customer. They’re never going to buy from you. However, they might refer you.
I’m just going to say this. This is the same, for when you’re calling to order supplies. You should be nice to the person that’s on the phone, and be likeable. Because those people also get phone calls from other folks, who say “Do you know anybody in New York who does this? Because I only do t-shirts, but I need bling. Do you know anybody in New York?”
And guess who they do not want to send referrals to?
Mark S: Anyone in New York?
Marc V: Well, anyone who’s not likeable, but it’s not mutually exclusive. Just be likeable all the way around. It’s going to help you get business. It’s going to help you grow your business.
But in the upselling spin on that, when you’re likeable, you are more likely to be trusted, you’re more likely to be seen as an expert, you’re more likely to hear the word “Yes,” when you request something. Likeability affects all of that stuff.
If you’re particularly likeable, and you treat your customers well, and then you turn around and you say “Hey, we’ve got a new garment that came out for 2018. It’s different than you did before. The shirts are $5 more apiece. I know, you’re going to spend more in your budget, especially when you’re ordering 100 shirts. I understand that. But trust me on this. This shirt is much nicer.”
Or it could just be upselling the caps. “Hey, a lot of my customers,” – social proof – “Are buying these caps. I think that it’s a great decision for you, especially for your workers who work outside in the sun. I can give you a really good deal on them, XYZ.”
Mark S: You should try to be likeable, I think, personally. But from a business perspective, people buy, and they buy more, from people that they like.
Marc V: And companies that they like, which is kind of going back to actually both the Samsung and the iPhone brand. They do a particularly good job of making sure that you like their brand, that they are likeable, as an inanimate object or just as a brand.
Their commercials might be witty or funny, or inspiring. When they do their speeches and their announcements, they want to be likeable, because they want you to not only buy a product that you’re going to enjoy, and that you are consistent in buying, but they also just want to make sure that you feel really good when buying it, because you want to give your money to that company.
Mark S: I really liked when Samsung let me know that if I bought one of their phones, it might explode. I liked that. I thought they were being very friendly, when they said that.
Marc V: That’s a good segue.
Mark S: I think so, because the next thing is authority, that we’re going to talk about.
Marc V: People have a tendency to obey authority figures, even if the authority figure isn’t even that trustworthy or that great. If they’re an authority, then people are more likely to listen to what that person has to say.
Mark S: And by authority, let’s make that mean any recognizable name, really.
Marc V: Any recognizable name or brand. If Apple or Starbucks, or any brand that you know, that’s recognizable, turns around and recommends another company. If you magically were to get Starbucks to say that you make the best t-shirts, you would get tons of business, just because Starbucks, as an authority, says.
Mark S: It’s almost like social proof on steroids, in that circumstance.
Marc V: Absolutely. So, how do you do this on a local scale, on a small business scale? Authority within your town – do you make custom garments for the Mayor’s husband or wife? Is there a large business or a league or a school, that you do business for?
Mark S: For example, you could say that if you are in a local business here in Tampa, and it’s a pretty big business, and it’s a white collar thing – maybe you’re talking to attorneys or something like that, you might just name-drop.
You might just say “You know what? I just finished a really big order for this other company in town,” or “I just finished a really big order for the Tampa Police Department,” or “For the University of South Florida. I just finished that order. I’m ready to do yours, if you’re ready.”
Marc V: It’s like “Well, if the Police Department is ordering.”
Mark S: “If the University did this,” that’s kind of the authority. Just in saying those words, what you’ve said is that this other organization or company has tried me out. They approve. They buy my stuff. Shouldn’t you?
Marc V: Yes. I loved how you said it’s like the social proof on steroids. That’s what it is. It’s the equivalent of – one big brand or one big company, or one large authority can be the equivalent of hundreds or more individual people that are strangers.
This is a great reason to join local social groups, or the Chamber of Commerce, different things like that. Participate in events, because if you can turn around and say “The Tampa Bay Attorneys Alliance, I do all of their,” – I don’t even know if that’s a thing.
Mark S: I’m sure it is now.
Marc V: “I do all of their apparel for them, for all of their events.” So, for one, you can name-drop, as part of it. Further, if you can get the authority to actually post to your social media or write you a review, that’s fantastic, because you can say, if somebody’s in your store or you’re talking to them in person, you bring up your phone.
“Here’s my reviews. I’ve got a ton of customers. Look! The Tampa Bay Attorneys Alliance gave me five stars.”
Mark S: Let’s put ourselves in some of their shoes. It is Custom Apparel Startups. So, let’s say you don’t have any of that. You just bought a cutter from Colman and Company, which I highly recommend, by the way, a Cut and Press, from Colman and Company.
Marc V: If you wouldn’t mind some social proof on that, we survey our customers. The last time we surveyed, approximately 70% of them owned a cutter. And another 15% or 20% said that they wanted to buy a cutter. So, if you are in the custom apparel business, and you are considering expanding, or you want to take your business to the next level, most people own a cutting plotter.
So, what I would say is the social proof on that is that a lot of people are doing that, and it’s probably a good decision for your business.
Mark S: And while we’re on this, what I’ll say is Marc Vila and I have done almost 69 hours of content, specifically to help out small businesses, specifically to help get people into the custom apparel business, and to help be successful.
One of the things that you could do, if you like the podcast and you like the CAS group and all that stuff, is you could find something at Colman and Company to purchase. That would be reciprocity, because we’re offering you a service, with no expectations of gain.
Then, if you are inspired in some way to buy from us, then we appreciate it. And once you do, I promise you will always be a ColDesi and Colman and Company customer, and that’s consistency.
Marc V: It’s great. It’s fantastic, and it’s part of why we do this, is for the reciprocity. We want to give you something. We don’t expect anything or demand anything in return, at all.
Mark S: And one of us is likeable.
Marc V: Yeah. One of us.
Mark S: At least half of the people here are likeable.
Marc V: But if you are going to get a heat press or a cutter, or vinyl, or a digital printer or whatever it might be, for your next purchase, then we would love for you to call or visit ColmanandCompany.com.
I think Ella just joined, so I wanted to say hi to her, as well.
Mark S: The daughter! That’s great!
So, the other thing about authority, and just keeping on this example, is not that many people know this, but we’ve provided embroidery machines for big companies like Nike and Perry Ellis. We’ve got direct-to-garment printers at Levi’s. Some of the biggest apparel companies in the world use ColDesi products in their businesses every day, and they buy all of the supplies for those products from Colman and Company.
That’s kind of our appeal to authority. When we name-drop, it’s because there’s a big – . There’s a big rap artist that does personal apparel with a ProSpangle.
Marc V: Oh, yeah.
Mark S: So, we do all of these things, and it becomes kind of natural to us. You can stop thinking about these things specifically, after you’ve worked on them for a little bit. It just kind of happens.
Marc V: What you’re doing is you’re just getting better at letting your customers know what it’s like to do business with you. That it’s a good decision, and it’s a good decision for a lot of reasons. We’ll just go from the top.
For one, you’re going to do nice things for them, and not expect anything in return, or demand it. You are going to be consistent to them, and they’re going to be consistent back to you. Other people are going to be purchasing from you. Therefore, there’s a proof that others out there like you.
You are likeable. You do the nice things for people. You act in a way that people want to give you their money, and purchase things from you. You try to build authority, or get some proof from authority.
So, if you are a startup, one of the best things you can do, if you want to try to gain that appeal of authority, is to go out there and find a name, whether it is a local celebrity or a local large business, or any group that you can get to do some business with you. It might just start off with giving them something for free.
Mark S: Yeah. It could be anything. For a new business, the way that you could talk about this is you could say “You know what? I was just dropping off a sample at the University of South Florida. I just visited Tampa Electric Company, to talk to them about their apparel.”
”They’re not my customers, but I am talking to them. I’m trying to get that business.” You’re not saying that. You’re just using those names to give you a little bit of extra authority, that normally a startup wouldn’t have.
Marc V: Yeah. “I’ve got a meeting with the local attorney alliance. I could stop by your shop after that.”
Mark S: That’s great.
Marc V: You definitely don’t want to deceive, in any of this. However, if the local University is giving you a shot to have a meeting with them -.
Mark S: It says something about your company already.
Marc V: Yeah. It already says something about you.
Mark S: There’s 50 people working in their basements, who are not doing that. So, you’ve already stepped out, and deserve that extra little polish that the authority can give you.
Marc V: Absolutely, so do it. Last one, and then we probably have about six or seven minutes left in the podcast.
Mark S: We don’t have a lot of time to talk about scarcity. Did you get that?
Marc V: That was amazing, actually. It kind of blew me away, for a moment.
Scarcity; things are more attractive when they’re limited. If you might not be able to get one, you kind of want it more.
Mark S: Or if you’re one of the only people that gets one, or one of the few people that has the opportunity.
Marc V: Here is an example that almost anybody can feel, if you want to feel the emotion behind this. If you were in middle school or elementary school or high school, and you had somebody who kind of liked you, but you really weren’t into them, you didn’t like them back.
Then, all of a sudden, they got a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Now, all of a sudden, the emotion changed. You kind of like them.
Mark S: I feel like you’re warning Ella. You’re schooling Ella about this stuff.
Marc V: But that happens, right? It’s because all of a sudden, when this person was available and liked me, I really wasn’t interested. There was no scarcity to that. But now that they’re with somebody else, I don’t like that.
That’s kind of like an emotional thing that happens with young adults and young children. That’s the first time you really, I think, emotionally feel that.
Mark S: Why do you think Starbucks only does Pumpkin Spice Lattes for one season of the year? It’s not like the ingredients are especially expensive. It’s just that they’ve identified that if they only offer it for a limited time, then it’s more special. It will cause people that will normally not buy, to buy.
It will appeal to that kind of consistency, like “I love this one. I get it every year.” It’s a great way to talk to your customers about your products, by emphasizing the availability or lack of availability. Like “I’ve got 200 of these [inaudible 43:20] 980 shirts that everybody wears, in the back. But you know what? I’ve got 12 of this new model that just came out. I’ve only got 12 right now, but I’d love for you to have them.”
Marc V: Yeah. There’s so much in this little scarcity world. It doesn’t have to be false. It can be very true.
Mark S: Absolutely.
Marc V: We talked about it a little bit in the last podcast, where we said that what you can do is when you order caps, if it’s a style that you think you can sell again, that if your customer needs 60 of them, you order 75. Now you’ve got 15 caps.
You didn’t have to pay shipping on them, because your order maybe got free shipping. You bought a case, so maybe you got some extra case pricing. You saved a little bit of money. Those are reasons to do that, right?
So, now you’ve got these caps at a limited availability, that you can offer a deal on. When you talk to somebody that you’re trying to upsell to, you say “Hey, I can get you any cap in this catalog. I’ve got 15 of these, that I can actually get you at a special price, because,” – you can be very transparent.
“When I order things, I sometimes order in a large run. I always a little bit more, so I can give customers that I really like, a special deal. So, if you pick this cap, I can actually give you $3 off per cap,” or whatever it is. And they get excited.
They’re going to say “Well, I’d love that deal!” So, they’re going to go ahead and make the decision to purchase, when they may have said “No” before. “Oh, you have to order them? Oh, there’s a charge for that?” All of these things add up. “You know what? I can get those any time, right?” “Yeah, you can.”
But when it’s “No, I can do 15 caps for you now, at this price, until I sell these. So, I can’t do this for you anytime. I can give you this special deal. I can give you super-fast delivery, because I have them in stock, and I can give you a special deal. I can have these to you by – oh, it’s 10:00 now. I can have them to you probably by 3:00 today.”
That’s scarce, because they will rarely be able to get that from you.
Mark S: This is great, because it also kind of builds on that reciprocity. “Because you’re a good customer of ours. Because you’re already doing business with us, I’m going to do this little extra thing for you. I don’t have a lot. I want to offer them to you. It’s a great deal.”
So really, what you’ve done is you’ve upsold them. You’ve sold them more, or something different than they normally would, that is better for you. And you’ve also kind of inspired and started that reciprocity chain, because you offered this to them specifically. Not sent out a general coupon.
“I’m talking to you, and I’m offering you this deal.” Then, they’re going to do something for you in the future.
Marc V: Yeah, it all ties together.
Mark S: “He gives me these special deals. He’s my guy. I got this special hat deal. You wouldn’t believe it!”
Marc V: It’s so true. It’s fantastic, when you combine all of these things together. In the last episode, we talked about couponing. We said one of the things you could do is if June is really busy for you, you can offer a coupon deal or a special deal for people to do business with you in May.
It frees up time in June for you to sell more, and it makes you less busy. And in May, you get some business now. So, there’s a good reason to do that. Listen to that podcast, for the full explanation. I promise it’s a good one.
Mark S: It’s good. I mean, it was better live.
Marc V: It was better live. Of course it was. But with that, when you’re talking about that coupon for May, “It’s only available in May, in the time slots I’ve got available to make apparel. So, if you want to be one of the people that gets this special deal, -.”
Hypothetical situation; “There’s two weeks left in the month. I’ve got room for about three more jobs to fit in, of about the size that you normally order. So, if you order now, I can get you into one of those slots, and I can save you 10%.” So, the time is scarce and the deal-saving is scarce. They can’t get that in two weeks, if they wait.
Mark S: “And you know what? The last company that took advantage of that was the University of South Florida.” Once again, this is the science of upselling. It’s the Custom Apparel Startups podcast.
Like we said in the beginning, each one of these things; scarcity, consistency, social proof, likeability, authority and reciprocity, each one of these things works great by itself. They will, individually, help you sell more. You may not even notice this happening. But in a year, in six months or something, you’re going to look at your bottom line, and it’s going to be better.
But once you start combining them, they way we’ve been summing things up in the past few strategy instances, then your business will really grow.
Marc V: Yeah. And all of this stuff is going to help you get one more deal quickly. It’s going to help you get that one more sale, that one more order, that one more customer that you weren’t going to get before. Often what I notice is, is when you improve your sales and you do well, it’s generally not because you just did one magic thing.
That does happen, and you’re going to hear those stories. A local t-shirt shop, they got a contract here, and all of a sudden, they went from running in their garage to having a big giant warehouse, because they got one big account. That’s the exception, not the rule.
The rule is generally that you do a lot of little things. You make great apparel, you’re likeable, you treat customers well, you attempt to upsell, you listen and learn, like with this podcast. You do a lot of things, and all of them add. It’s like one more customer here, one more here, one more here, and it snowballs.
You get more customers, more referrals, more reviews, more opportunities.
Mark S: It’s kind of the point of the whole podcast. It really is.
Marc V: Do we have anything else to wrap up or add here?
Mark S: No, I think that’s it. The only thing I’ll say to everybody is that we do appreciate you listening and watching. Look for us next week at 9:30, on a Tuesday, as well. Then, put Wednesday on your calendar, the 28th, probably 10:00 AM.
We’re going to have some special guests. It’s going to be great! I hope you will join us then, as well.
Marc V: Is it going to be some sort of authority?
Mark S: It is, as a matter of fact!
Marc V: Is it going to be a celebrity?
Mark S: It depends on the business that you’re in.
Okay, this has been Mark Stephenson, from ColDesi.
Marc V: And Marc Vila, from Colman and Company.
Mark S: You guys have a great business!
Marc V: Thanks for watching, thanks for listening!