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Increase the Size of Your Apparel Orders
By C.J. Mittica, Robert Carey and Daniel Walsh
Research by Larry Basinait
Nov/Dec, 2010

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The average size of a wearables order in 2009 was $287 less than a general promo products order. How to lessen the divide? Start by asking the right questions, suggests Anita Brooks, owner of On the Gulf in Gautier, MI (asi/202900). "I think one of the biggest things is just asking," she says. "Sometimes we become a little myopic. When we deal with old customers, sometimes we just stick with the same old things."

In other words, the best way to increase the size of wearables orders is, quite simply, to try. When some salespeople know a sale is definite, they take what they have instead of pushing higher. "It’s so easy, when you get an order, to say, ‘Yes,’ and ‘Thank you,’" says Marc Held, national sales manager for Bodek and Rhodes (asi/40788). "You’re excited. I don’t think enough people stop and ask, ‘Hey, have you considered this?’ and look to upsell."

 Held looks for sales options ranging from logical to off-the-wall. He says he goes by this strategy: "Give them three or four options you like, and give them one option they’ll scratch their head over." Why pitch them the head-scratcher? "Your competition isn’t selling them," he says. So that means you might get the sale. Take a tie-dye shirt, for example, which is created by hand and is a solid seller for Bodek and Rhodes, according to Held. Plus he likes them, which helps make the sale easier. "If you like it, your enthusiasm will show," he says.

 Your pitch doesn’t have to include a crazy choice – just something that can also be viewed as new to your client. Brooks recalls one client who wasn’t doing any business in wearables. Then a pitch was made, and so too was a sale. A client like that may be doing business with a distributor in one area but not in another.

Embroidery is particularly common for this kind of situation, as many companies take their garments to a local embroiderer – who Brooks says may be subpar. She says this is an area that distributors can push in on, and she sticks with Trademarks Embroidery (asi/91755) in order to show a better product and position herself as an expert. "A lot of times, it’s not being afraid to step back and be that leader for them," she says. She once pitched Konica Minolta on how good its logo could look, as opposed to how it was looking. The company was impressed with the better quality, and Brooks got the deal and increased orders as a result.

C.J. Mittica is editor, Robert Carey is a contributing writer and Daniel Walsh is a staff writer for Wearables. 

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