By this stage in the year retailers have placed their Christmas orders indeed they’ve mostly received their stock and they are starting to watch what is selling and what isn’t. They’ve had a rough year, as have those of you whose business it is to sell to them!
That said there seems to be a little more confidence around than there was at the start of the year and certainly it’s feeling better than last October!
The goal therefore is to persuade your stockists to restock key items before Christmas in order to maximise sales. This will require you to be pro-active and to have undertaken some analysis of their ordering habits. First you need to know who your key clients are so that you can target them for sales calls. If you’re a MyCake user there is a report you can run called ‘Income by Customer’ which will answer this question quickly for you. You could also run the ‘Income by Product’ report to look at what your top selling products are.
We suggest you make a list of your top 10 customers (the definition of top 10 being who has ordered the most in terms of £ value of invoices).
Before you call this list of clients you also need to analyse the following:
- how often do they usually order from you?
- specifically what did they order most recently (ie what did they stock up on for Christmas)?
- what is their usual order ie number of pieces of each item?
- what are the top three products that they buy from you?
- does the list of the top 3 vary with the time of year and if so what are their Christmas favourites?
- are there products which are your top sellers that they are not currently ordering?
- do they pay on time?
The last question on the list is worth a look at because there’s no point encouraging sales to customers who are bad payers!
Now that you know what each clients ordering habits are you are in a position to discuss with them how sales are going, what their stock levels are and, if they are selling well, to suggest key products that they might like to re-order.
You also need to be clear on how quickly you could fulfil the orders – afterall there is no point suggesting products that it would take you ’til after Christmas to deliver on! The goal here is to sell them products which you can deliver asap (anything with more than about a four week delivery schedule is not going to leave them enough time to sell it).
And last but not least, get calling! Pick a quiet time of day (for them) and have the information in front of you. Start off by checking that it’s a convenient time to speak, then move on to ask them how sales are going in general and how sales of your products in particular are progressing. Compare the answers to the information you have on what they ordered and do the mental arithmetic to work out what stock they are likely to have left. Where the answer is that they are low on things ask them if they’d like to re-order in time for a pre-Christmas delivery and if possible suggest an order volume as well.
If the answer is no then have a couple of other questions in reserve such as when will they be ordering for the new year and can you call them to discuss this in January? If you have new products which you’ll be launching in 2010 give them a heads up about this and ask if they’d like to see details on these. Ask them if they are intending to re-order at all before Christmas and if so when and can you call to discuss?
As you can tell we strongly suggest that you have a conversation mapped out in advance, not necessarily scripted but just so that you know what questions you would like their answers to and what to ask them if you just get a ‘no’ but little explanation (actually you want to avoid these sort of closed questions that can easily be answered with just a yes or a no). This approach typically results in a more detailed and thus more useful conversation!