Success Tips

Dedicated to the growth, prosperity, and health of your wholesale business.

Producing a topnotch product is the first step on the road to success for every wholesale business. The second step is advertising and marketing to spread the word about your products. Many wholesalers mistakenly stop there, however, and simply wait for orders to fulfill. For long-term success, additional steps are crucial—and too often neglected.

To help you, Retailing Insight has prepared the following business tips. None of these tips are difficult, but they do require your time and attention—time and attention that will return to you a healthy and thriving business!

Success Tip #1: When retailers place an order, your job is also to help them successfully sell your products. Provide attractive displays or share suggestions for helping your product stand out in their stores.

Success Tip #2: Follow up immediately! When you receive a voicemail, email, or order, follow up within 24 hours. Retailers want to work with professional, prompt wholesalers. Show them that's you!

Success Tip #3: Don't overlook your Junk Email folder. Spam emails has become an unexpected cost of online communication. However, as a business owner, it is vital to check your spam and junk folders as often as you check your inbox because, even with advances in spam filtering, legitimate emails can still end up being flagged as spam. According to some reports, as much as 20% of legitimate emails will never reach your inbox.

Success Tip #4: When setting up email addresses for your business avoid any of the common roles such as "admin," "info," "sales," or "contact." Because they are commonly used, spammers will send junk mail to all of them until they reach one that is active. You can find more email roles to avoid in our Spamalot article.

Success Tip #5: Provide a special offer only available on your Retailing Insight ad, or include a special offer code for Retailing Insight readers only. Remember, people often forget to mention a special offer, so always make sure you ask how they heard about you.

Success Tip #6: Certain products can be more difficult to track, especially if you use a distributor or outside service to handle your orders, so you also need to track traffic to your website. Google Analytics is a great tool for this. Typically you will see a spike in traffic directly after an ad campaign, but, again, our retailers often hold onto Retailing Insight for a year or more, so keep tracking.

Success Tip #7: With so many of us carrying around a personal computer in the palm of our hands, now is the time for you to make your website mobile friendly. Fortunately, there are several services out there to help you get up and running very quickly. Here are two we really like: Mobilize Today (free to $99/yr.) and DudaMobile (free to $9/mo.). To see if your website is already "mobile-ized," visit GoMo and test your mobile functionality for free.

Success Tip #8: During work hours, have a live person answer your phone, if at all possible. Studies show that 33% of callers will not leave a message in voicemail and 47% will not call back if they receive no answer or a voicemail message. When voicemail is unavoidable, make sure you have a professional and friendly message with your company name and when you expect to return the call (the more promptly you return customers calls, the better).

Success Tip #9: 75% of all business transactions are not completed on the first call. Multiple contacts are often needed before retailers place an order. So, make sure you stay in touch with retailers through email, newsletters, social media, postcards, flyers, catalogs, and phone calls. Always gather retailers’ contact information (phone, email, and mailing address) when they call or email, whether they place an order or not. Also provide an email newsletter sign-up button on your website with a form that captures all their contact information.

Success Tip #10: Create a reason for retailers to provide their information to you. Occasionally offering specials to retailers who provide their contact information is a great way to build a customer list. The possibility of a special offer also motivates recipients to read the emails or mailers you send them.

Success Tip #11: Frequency is critical. While you don't want to spam retailers, you do want them reminded often of your company and products. Find balance by staying in touch through different formats. For example, after you receive a phone call, follow up by sending a catalog. Next, send an email, then a postcard, and later a phone call. Repeat regularly.

Success Tip #12: Remember to stay in touch with your existing accounts. Your best accounts are those loyal retailers who quietly reorder on a regular basis. Show your appreciation with a personal note or phone call to say, “Thank you.” A sincere gesture, sincerely delivered, helps a good customer relationship become a great one.

Success Tip #13: By following the traffic on your website, you may discover some red flags to help you improve your business. For instance, is there a lot of traffic to your website, but no orders, calls, or emails? That's a big red flag indicating it’s time to investigate why people are visiting your website but not ordering your products. Is your website up to date? Do you have professional product photos? Is your message clear to retailers? If your site is more oriented toward consumers, can retailers easily tell you also sell wholesale? How do your prices compare with your competition? Is your phone number and email address prominently displayed for retailers who have questions? Are your online forms working properly?

Success Tip #14: Provide multiple ways for retailers to order from you: Online, Email, Telephone, and, yes, even Fax. Let retailers decide what’s easiest and quickest for them. If they can’t order their preferred way, they may not order at all. Here are two resources you can look into to make it easier for customers to place orders with you: www.MyFax.com—provides inexpensive toll-free fax numbers that send incoming faxes to your email inbox. www.eVoice.com—sends incoming phone calls to any mobile phone so you don't miss a single order.

Success Tip #15: Your company’s business phone, cellular or not, must always (always!) be answered by someone who opens with your business name, their name, and a personal greeting of choice: “Hello, this is ABC company, Diane speaking. May I help you?” Yes, it’s that simple! Now your potential customer has an image of a professional, friendly company (especially if you used your happy voice). We found a good resource to help: Phone.com is a feature-rich plan that will differentiate your personal and business calls on your mobile phone. It also provides a toll free number for your business, and even has separate voicemail greetings.

Success Tip #16: Make it a company policy to ask customers, “How did you hear about us?” Ask this not only when orders are placed, but also when retailers call or email with inquiries. Include the question on all forms you use to sign up new customers. Be sure to record your responses and tally up what you’re hearing. Consistently asking, “How did you hear about us?” will tell you more about where and how to market your company and products than any other question you could ask.

Success Tip #17: Is ordering your products a quick and easy process for new wholesale customers? Now is a good time to review your process for setting up new accounts to see how many hurdles, re-directs, and speed bumps you can eliminate. Even small improvements will increase your orders and impress your future customers.

Success Tip #18: Retailers need to hear from you often, but not too often. Find balance by staying in touch through different formats. For example, after you receive an initial phone call, follow up by sending a catalog. Next, send an email, then a postcard, and later a phone call. Repeat regularly for healthy sales.