Sales does not come naturally to me. I’m not the aggressive type who loves getting in people’s faces and selling them any and everything, where the mindset is “10% domain knowledge, 90% sales knowledge.” I prefer the product and experience side, but in a new company you don’t have a choice: you are everything. The way we work at Zylie is a mix of several sales channels. We have our own website, which accounts for a fair amount of business (but increasingly less and less proportionately), we have ecommerce retailers like Amazon.com, FAO.com, a few smaller online shops, and hopefully a few more large ones by the holidays :), and we have brick and mortar stores. These stores are specialty toy and gift shops, and are mostly independent/mom & pop shops. They are by far the best venue for Zylie, and are the best to work with because they have an emotional connection to their store and their inventory. As a young company, it’s great to hear their insight into our brand and their feedback about how customers are responding to us. But selling to them is really, really hard. You have to pound the pavement. And we’ve run out of time to do it completely by ourselves. So we’ve hired a rep team to help us out, with a guy managing that team.
Getting the reps on board is hard enough (they are typically resistent to new lines in their portfolio) and getting them to actively promote your product on calls is even harder. Every promise they make to you up front gets tested, and reality usually strikes a different chord than their initial reaction. This is always frustrating, and it comes down to a matter of motivation. So we’re headed out to Long Island this afternoon to, as they say, rally the troops. We know these reps love our products, and we know they’ve been writing orders to their best accounts (a good early sign), all we need to do is stay on their radar and stand out from the pack. It feels like we’re approaching that famous scene from Glengarry Glen Ross, except with the exact opposite approach. We’re not the sales guys, we’re the brand, so I want to motivate around our message, our potential, the opportunity we present. There is so much to get excited about in our company, the key will be to transfer that passion to this group. But with our company, that’s an easy task. If it isn’t for you, you’re probably doing something wrong.
So, off to rally the troops.