This is an excerpt from Get Your Greeting Cards Into Stores: How to Find and Work With Sales Reps (Updated 2017 paperback) If you like to make greeting cards, this book explains how to get your cards into stores and sell them nationwide. Learn about changing trends in the indie card market and niche opportunities available for artists. Book includes detailed guidelines on pricing cards for a profit, getting professional feedback on your designs, finding sales representatives, pitching your card line to them, approaching stores, and the industry standards you should follow. Information is also applicable to gift items, such as magnets, journals and calendars.
Reps Like Choices
It is easier to get a rep’s attention if you have a large assortment of designs to choose from. Since reps know that store buyers may only buy ten percent of what is presented to them, the more cards they have to select from, the better.
Reps Like Numbers
If you want a rep to pick up your line, the most important thing they will want to know is your numbers. See if you are able to answer the following questions, and then include this information up front when contacting the rep:
-How many cards are in your line?
-What are your best sellers?
-How many stores do you sell to?
-What is your average order?
-How many reorders have you gotten?
-How long have you been in business?
Reps are in the sales business, so even if they love your cards, they may not think they will sell. Show them any sales statistics that might inspire confidence that your product will make money.
The best thing you can offer a rep is a product that sells for them,
and not a product you want them to sell for you.
A good analogy might be a writer who has published his first book. After he sees his book in print, he might feel he has accomplished his goal, but the publisher is just beginning their task, which is actually selling the book.
In the same way, getting your cards into a store and seeing them on a rack can feel like a very exciting accomplishment, but for a rep, that is only the first step of their larger goal, which is to get reorders. A rep only wants lines that generate reorders.
What to do When You Don’t Have Numbers
Some reps might be willing to carry your line to a dozen stores just to get feedback. If so, offer them double the commission on any cards they happen to sell, or perhaps a consultation fee to cover their time showing your cards to stores. Then the rep can give you direct feedback from the stores and make suggestions for improvement. From this, you will learn a lot about your designs and whether they are marketable on a broader scale.