Category Archives: Sales & Selling Advice

Sales and selling tips & advice for your new small business.

How to Buy Direct from Manufacturers: For Small Retailers

So you wanna buy direct from manufacturers to start a small retail or distribution operation? This quick article will help guide you in the right direction.

In many cases, a manufacturer prefers to distribute its products to an established retailer or distribution company rather than dealing with an unknown individual. Even if an individual who claims to be a business contacts the manufacturing company he may need to provide proof of his business status. Additionally, the manufacturer may request a bulk purchase. So if you want to buy items directly from a manufacturer on an ongoing basis in the course of business as a small retailer or distributor you’ll need to get a reseller’s permit from your state.

1. Contact your State Franchise Tax Board division or finance department to request an application for a reseller’s or seller’s permit. This is a permit that establishes your company as an official business that plans to resell goods to end users. You’ll likely have to pay a fee for this permit and provide detailed information about your intended business activities. You may also need to register your business with the state before receiving the reseller’s permit.

2. Wait to receive your reseller’s permit in the mail.



3. Call the manufacturer that you want to do business when you have your reseller’s permit and explain your desire to establish a vending relationship. Provide details about your company, including the locations where you plan to sell the items (such as online or in your physical store). The manufacturer will consider establishing a business relationship with you based on your business plan, reputation and company credit report (if available).

4. Fill out a credit application as required by the manufacturer if you want to receive the goods on credit. Negotiate a discount rate and invoicing terms. Fax, mail or email a copy of your reseller’s permit to the manufacturing company to wait for final approval for your distributor account. You may have to sign a distribution agreement with the manufacturer that lists terms.

5. Request a catalog of current available products that you wish to sell to your customers. Submit a purchase order (see here for an example) to the manufacturer listing the items you wish to buy and your delivery address.





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Tips for Selling Your Services Online

In order to successfully sell your services online, you must have a few skills. The first is a reliable system for finding good clients and making it easy for them to find you online. Second is the ability to communicate fluidly and consistently—even if it is only via email messages. You must develop a rapport with your clients that lasts from the start of the project right up until the end. Thirdly, you must demonstrate that you are a true and trusted expert at the service that you plan to provide. Finally, you must have great organizational skills, as you will often find yourself juggling multiple clients and projects at the same time. Here are a few simple tips for success if you plan to sell your professional services online.

Provide Contact Information to Gain Trust

When you sell your services online, trust is a major issue. Potential clients need to be assured that you are a legitimate business person before they send you money and it is customary to ask for a deposit before work begins on a service project. One way to reassure your client that you are trustworthy is to provide as much contact information and details about your business as possible. Get an 800 number for your business—some toll-free services even allow you to pick a local number. Provide a business address as well, even if it is just a post office box (some offices now allow you to use the post office’s full mailing address along with your box number) or a rented office address where you can receive mail.

Always Lay Out Terms in Writing

One common challenge that you may experience when selling your services online is managing confusion regarding your terms after the project begins. Some service providers figure that it’s such a small job that a contract or discussion isn’t really necessary, but that can turn into hours of unpaid work. Avoid this issue by making it a point to outline your general terms on your website for all to view. Go over the specific terms of your service project in an email so that you both are clear before you proceed and outline them all in a clear-cut contract. In some cases, the email itself can serve as a contract for a very small project. Some clients like to finalize things over the phone, but this is tricky because there’s no proof of your agreement. Get everything in writing.

Provide As Many Samples and Testimonials as Possible

When a potential client is deciding whether you are the right service professional for his needs, he’ll want to know if and how you’ve helped other clients in the past. If you’ve successfully completed projects in the past, contact your past clients to ask for a review of your services along with permission to publish their comments.

Selling your services online is not a simple feat and comes with its share of challenges. But you’ll find success if you set forth a clear-cut process for attracting, accepting and servicing clients.



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Tips for Sales Success: What Makes Someone Pull Out His Wallet?

I have been in sales for about 12 years as of this posting (if you listen to the classic wisdom of Zig Ziglar, we’ve all actually been in sales since the day we were born). I have met and talked to thousands of people in face-to-face sales scenarios and over the phone while selling my products and services. I’ve learned a few things during that time about people and what makes someone start pulling out his wallet to buy what you’re selling.

Look Prospects in their Eyes

Most people trust a sales person who can look them straight in the eye. They say that the eyes are the gateway to the soul — looking someone directly in the eyes says that you have nothing to hide. It makes them more comfortable with buying from you. So if you have kind, trusting eyes don’t point them down at the table, a paper or in the air when you’re talking — use them to your advantage. Connect with your prospect by flashing a genuine smile and looking her straight in her eyes.

Confidence

This point kind of goes along with the last point about looking people in their eyes. If you want people to be inspired to buy from you, you have to exude confidence in everything that you do. You have to be direct and certain. If you’re not confident about yourself and the product that you’re selling, why should anyone buy it from you?

Telling a Story (Preferably Yours)

I can’t stress this point enough – if you really want someone to pull out his wallet and buy from you, you should have a story prepared to tell. I’m not saying that you should tell stories about your childhood and how Santa Claus didn’t get you what you wanted for Christmas. I’m talking about the story of what inspired you to start your small business and also stories (testimonials) about how your product or service has helped you and other people.

The Package Deal – Best Offer

All some people need to make the final decision to buy is to hear a special offer at the end of your pitch. When they’re right on the cusp of deciding whether to buy or not, thinking and scanning the product, offer them a package deal. For instance, if you’re selling an item for $10, you might offer 2 of the item for $15 — one for the buyer and one for his friend. Of course, you have to analyze your costs to determine if this would be a profitable sale. People feel good when they know they’ve gotten a good deal.

Use these tips for sales success the next time you find yourself in a face-to-face sales scenario selling your products or services. They could be the difference between “maybe next time” and “ok, I’ll take it!”



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Sales Tips: Selling Products In Person

Selling products in person at trade shows and special events can be intimidating at first, but with practice, effort and technique, anyone can become a top seller. Items that are often sold at these types of in-person events include:

–          clothes

–          electronics

–          books

–          jewelry

–          antiques

–          food

–          crafts and special creations

Use the following sales tips as a starting point for success when selling in face-to-face scenarios.

Use Your “Best Stuff” to Get Their Attention

One of the first senses that a potential customer will use when evaluating your product (with the exception of food maybe) is his sight. You must get the customer’s attention by first enticing him visually. The way you display the items is very important — make sure that the area is clean, tidy and well-organized. Put your best or most eye-catching stuff front and center on the table to force them to take a look, then you can present your other items as his interest grows.

Make It Easy for Them

Make it as easy as possible for a potential customer to find what he needs when he comes to your selling table. For instance, if you’re selling clothing at a fair or fashion show, separate your clothing into style, color and size order. This is also a way of showing that you take pride in your inventory, which makes it seem more valuable.

How to Greet a Potential Buyer

The way you greet your potential customer in a face-to-face selling situation is extremely important. A genuine greeting shows that you are polite and courteous. Start by first making direct eye contact and offering a warm smile. Say “Hello or Good Morning” — whichever fits the situation. Follow your greeting by simply asking, “Is there anything in particular you are looking for?” Give the potential customer time to respond. If the customer responds “yes” or “maybe,” then you know that you can further assist them. If his response is no, then smile and simply tell him, “Okay, just let me know if you need any assistance.” When you follow these simple tips you are making the buyer feel at ease to browse.

Be Willing to Negotiate – To an Extent

Negotiating can be a slippery slope and a bit intimidating, but with time and practice you can master this skill. Obviously, your goal is to make a sale but your ultimate objective is to make a profit for your business. In a negotiation, you have the upper hand because you are the only one who knows what you actually paid for the item. Use this information to determine the best price you would be able to offer on each of your items for sale. If you have a customer who is suggesting a price that undercuts your cost for an item, just remain calm and make a different offer, which may include throwing in another low-cost item for free. This shows the customer that you are willing to work with her and also that the item is valuable (worth having).

There’s one last bit of advice to add to this list of sales tips that you should always keep in mind when selling in face-to-face scenarios at special events, trade shows, flea markets and community fairs: treat everyone with respect, whether they buy or not. You never know if a non-buyer might one day become your biggest customer.

3 Keys to Selling Success for a Small Business

You’ve probably heard that the ability to sell to people is something that you either have or you don’t have—an innate talent. But in truth, it is something that you can learn through experience. You must learn how people think and make decisions. People who are successful at selling usually come to a sales transaction equipped with confidence, information and intuition.

Confidence

People are very perceptive and they can detect when you’re unsure of yourself. If you show that you are unsure of yourself, that might mean that you’re unsure of the product or service you’re selling as well. Avoid stumbling over your words, shuffling about or glancing around nervously. Look the potential customer directly in the eyes and tell him what you’re selling. Remember that you, as a person, reflect on the product you’re selling—in many cases a customer chooses you, not the product. So carry yourself with confidence whenever you are talking to a prospect. Practice pitching your product or service in the mirror or to a trusted friend who will give you constructive advice.

Information

If you master every feature of the product or service you’re selling, you increase your chances of converting sales. Customers are bound to have questions—every time you intelligently answer a customer’s question, you remove a potential barrier to making the sale. Also, once you identify the customer’s needs you can easily match them to the product’s features.

Also, when it comes to selling, people usually need to see it to believe it. Do a product demonstration if possible or offer a free trial of your service. Provide the potential customer with as many samples as they need to be convinced that what you are selling is great.

Intuition

Intuition is not something that is easily taught when it comes to sales, but it can come with experience. An expert salesman eventually comes to a place where he can predict how a potential prospect will respond to his product and pitch. He learns how to read faces, gestures, body language and comments from the potential customer to know what he should say or do to get the sale. If you don’t have this ability, ask a more experienced sales person to mentor you.

Of course these are not the only traits you need in order to become a successful sales person—having an awesome product or service is a large part of the formula. However, when you go in prepared with plenty of confidence, information and intuition you’re putting yourself in a good position to start pulling in some sales.