Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fooling Myself

In my follow-up post about Maidens I attributed low belt sales to the presence of another merchant.

That was probably not the true cause.

I've been slacking. Both at Boar's Head and Maidens I let Ron and Xap do most of the selling, worse at Maidens, and I kind of skulked around not talking to customers as much as I should. 

Besides not selling many belts at Maidens, we didn't have any sales of more than one item (of note - I don't count two mug loops or two pieces of hardware) - nobody bought a belt and a pouch, no couples bought a belt each, yadda yadda. That's . . . just wrong. The only time that should happen is a horrible, awful, no-good, bad-sales day. 

I suppose one could blame it on lots of customers being broke college students, but I don't think so.  We had things set up so brown belts and black belts weren't direct line-of-sight from eacho other, which I think was a mistake, but I don't think that was it either.

Xap is good at sales, but it was only her second time out. Ron isn't as good as I am (although I haven't had to tell him to go away so we'll get sales for years now). I know the inventory. I know my schtick. I've got it ingrained to keep cheerful, and for some strange reason my "customer service" voice is a half-octave to an octave higher than my normal voice (really throws people who haven't heard me use it before). 

I got it ingrained when I was in college, my family bought a Swiss Colony cheese store/franchise, and I went to the "University of Swiss Colony" managers session for two weeks, where I learned to walk the lease-line (front edge of your store, in a mall setting), and tell the customer to "Eat this or eat the fondue fork!" Ok, not really, but I felt like it sometimes. They taught high-pressure sales. The WSM and I couldn't stomach the used-car salesman level of pushy, but I did learn to talk to the customers and suggest and nudge and whatnot.

(BTW, if you know my dad, who can be pretty laid back, watching him do samples on the lease-line was fun!)

I need to get back on the job, and go back to being a salescritter. 

Ron and I were discussing this a couple days ago, and I said I need to let him do the sales recording and making change and whatnot . . . which means I have to decipher his handwriting . . . 

Ron pointed out that he's actually a decent 10-fingered (in Dvorak) typist any more, and I already have a bluetooth keyboard paired with the iPad, which has the iPad version of Numbers (spreadsheet) installed. The iPad already goes to events with us, so we'd just have to set up a spreadsheet for recording sales (when people don't want/need a receipt), and bring the keyboard.

The only bug there is power - the iPad probably won't last a busy day. So we'll look at the charging station/radios we've seen at hardware stores and UPSes to figure out what will power the iPad (which draws more power than a standard iPhone/iPod, so not all USB connections will do), won't weigh a ton, and hits a reasonable spot on the price curve. For the radio/charging station thingies we'll probably take the iPad and cable to Berland's House of Tools, it's probably easier to explain why we need to unpack one and try before buying there than Home Depot or Menard's.

Looking at doing the Midlands Regional Arts and Sciences Fair at the end of this month (see link in the sidebar), so that means the Monday after Capricon, which Ron's taking off for recovery and I've got off as a State of Illinois employee, we'll be out looking at power options, and getting ramp ends and lumber. And once we're confirmed I need to reserve a trailer.

Yes, we need to buy a smaller trailer. And the best way to get the fundage for that (unless we tap the tax return) is to . . . do more events! 

I'm also toying with the idea of being a dealer at WindyCon this year, since I'm not doing Publications. 

Working the Capricon Cafe, so Cap is out. Duck is out for one reason and another. MuseCon I'm waaayyyy to busy for, and I have mostly finished goods, not materials/supplies. Reenactor Fest/Military History Fest (changing names) was last week, and our stuff isn't quite right anyway. Must think/look about other conventions.

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