Cocked and Loaded: A Public Service Announcement from your Customers

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

I recently opened an email from an avid shopper and consignor. I'm not surprised by the things in it, but I am honestly, always amazed at the things new sale and even experienced sale organizers don't think about. This shopper implored me to share with you all a few basics of sale management. Now I'm not in the habit of telling sales how to conduct business (unless they ask me), but this shopper was so angry and irritated about a few things, and I have to agree, it's time for some of you sale organizers to realize that the things you are doing are making customers angry... which in turn makes all sales look bad as a whole. So lets go down the list of complaints from this avid shopper.

Cocked and Loaded

Bullet #1: When you have a sale, you MUST put your address on your home page, right up front, where a shopper, consignor or volunteer can locate it without any hassle. This seems to be particular problem with church runs sales who think you know which church it is and where it is located. If you are going to have a sale, make sure your address and contact info is on your HOME PAGE! Even on the home page of the church's website if it is a church run sale.

Bullet #2: When you send out an email make sure your sale name and information is included in the email. This particular shopper forwarded me several emails that said: Drop off is today! But not one mention of which sale it was, or again, the location of the sale. If you are going to send out an email, make sure that you include in the heading YOUR SALE NAME! No one can read your mind, so quit expecting people to.

Bullet #3: When you send out an email, it's not a good idea to send it out so that the recipient can see all of the names of the people you sent this email to. It's a great way for another sale organizer to steal your email list. So if for no other reason besides it's annoying to open an email with 500 CC's, it's also a great way to give away your mailing list and give your competition a jump on your customers.

Bullet #4: Now this complaint has to do with large volume consignors. If you don't want to attract them, say so, but never, ever treat a large volume consignor like you wish they hadn't come. "Oh no, it's you again!" Look, let's face it, you need the inventory, and they are interested in providing it. You can make several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars off of a large volume consignor. When I see them coming, all I see are money signs! If you don't want them to come, tell them, but don't make them feel bad about being there. And by all means, if you have the opportunity, get those volunteers to help them unload!

Bullet #5: Non helpful volunteers. If you have volunteers who are just sitting around, you need to get them working! Help your consignors unload cars, take things out for shoppers or patrolling the racks to get things up and seen. I have heard stories of how volunteers sit around, and around, and around while your customers are doing their jobs! This is where volunteer duty sheets come into play. Volunteers who aren't helping your customers are making your sale look bad. Get them working and provide them with snacks and meals. You want happy people working your sale, so that your customers want to come back.

Bullet #6: If you need help finding or securing a location, sending out an email is a great idea. However, offering only pre-sale passes as an incentive to get someone to use their contacts is pretty lame. I know of sales that have done this, but in addition to pre-sale passes, they are also offering up significant gift certificates and cash... upwards of $500 to the person who helps them find a location. Offering pre-sale passes only makes you look self centered and cheap. I know, because I get a ton of people who email me with "Can you believe these people?" emails.

I'm off my soap box for now.

Copyright Jenifer Gifford 2012. All Rights Reserved.