Lesson 11-Local Sales
FYI: Rhino-complex is NOT cured! Portland OR is B-I-G! I spent 5 hours and drove 90 miles delivering Hide A Heart orders to 10 locations. I can already see that this second year of being in business is going to be LOADED with LOTS of LESSONS!
I don’t know about you, but I pretty much stick to ‘my neck of the woods’ for shopping and buzzing about or working at my hospital job. Yesterday I spent up close and personal time learning about the size of city in which I live, the number of people living in this city with me and how many of them DRIVE!
In late December 2010 I pinned down my first large local sale with New Seasons Market. I wa s so excited I Tweeted and FB’d the news immediately! New Seasons Market is Oregon owned and have a lovely reputation for supporting local products. I shop New Seasons stores all the time because they offer locally grown produce and lots of organic products. AND they are “the friendliest store in town”!
Preparing the Order
In between holiday sales, Etsy Success Holiday Boot Camp articles written for Handmade Spark + getting holidays together for my family, I spent the rest of the month getting the order made, packaged and ready for delivery. I spent a lot of time deciding what packaging would be most attracting in a local display. Oregonians are pretty proud of buying local and I wanted to make sure local folks saw that Hide A Heart is a Oregon company!
Early last year I learned that UPC code was required when I decided to sell Hide A Heart through Amazon.com. I found bar code by Googling ‘UPC codes’ and among the many listings I selected the one I thought sounded best after clicking on several to read what each site offered. Already having the UPC bar code turned out really lucky for me when local vendors wants bar code on the packaging because I already know where to go to order the bar code stickers. YAY!
New Seasons Market did not ask that I create a ‘display’ but I decided to include a little ‘stand up’ card with each order figuring it might serve to create a little more attraction toward the product. Product was expected to be delivered to nine different locations between January 4-15th. This is a ‘key’ point to remember as you continue reading.
Because New Seasons Market is using Hide A Heart as part of a Valentine’s promotion, I wanted to deliver all the product to all locations on January 4. Why? Because I know stores spend the week between Christmas and New Years selling discounted holiday products and doing inventory and when completed, they begin putting together the next ‘holiday’s’ display. I figured the earlier date would be the better for maximumValentine’s promotion exposure!
Last week I also contacted the Multnomah Athletic Club (MAC) and asked if I could ‘refresh’ their order to which they happily agreed. I told Tonya I would deliver the product on the 4th because I was out and about already but I didn’t really give much thought to that requiring I be in TEN different locations on the same day! Are you saying to yourself, “that’s going to be more that she can chew!”?
The night before delivering the order I was so excited I couldn’t sleep! I was also obsessing about what I might have forgotten to prepare, going over and over each little detail to reassure myself. It didn’t help because once I was satisfied about the details I spent the rest of the night worried about the amount of sleep I was missing.
I chose to walk 4 miles yesterday morning at 8:00 am in 22 degree weather and couldn’t be ready before 11:00 am. My husband had other business that needed tending and wanted to join me for the first delivery. You may recall, he IS the officially named President of Hide A Heart….uh huh.
The first delivery was expected around 11:30 am. As I got ready, Randy, a veteran salesman, suggested I might want to ‘spread out’ delivery to more than one day to which I haughtily replied, “Oh No. I want everyone to have product on the same day.” “Okay” he said shaking his head but wisely staying silent because any protest when I am in THAT frame of mind, he was well aware, would fall on deaf ears. After all, the man has been married to me for 38 years and has learned a few things about me.
Learning HOW to Deliver
- I called each store site to ask for the name of the person in charge of the ‘department’ that would be receiving the order and added his/her name to the invoice
- I asked what time would be good for me to deliver the order
- I met each manager face to face taking time to find out a little about him/her and explaining about how Hide A Heart began and thanking him/her for taking time to meet with me
- I had created a ‘route’ with Mapquested directions
- I was ‘punctual’
- The product met with approval-whew!
Lessons I Learned this time
Mapquest Directions showed the driving distance would take 2.5 hours but with traffic, finding a parking place and visiting with each manager, the driving/delivery time expanded into 5 hours. I was so exhausted when I returned home, I could barely see straight.
The Great News!
Now I know that stores are located in about three MAJOR parts of the city so next time I will take three days to deliver product!
And by the way, at the end of yesterday, I had to admit, my dear, wise and veteran salesman of a husband had been absolutely right! He loves when that happens!