Research Yourself

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

It's important that you keep on top of what people are saying about you. The best way to do that is to reasearch yourself on the web. Google your sale name and see what you find.

The one thing that you don't want is people posting negative things about your sale. Many times people will post negative reviews for things you have no control over. "I went to Sally's sale and there were hardly any bigger boys sizes." Yep. Sure enough. No one has a large selection of big boys items, because boys are so hard on their clothes! It is important for you to respond to these reviews in a thoughtful and non emotional manner.

By thoughtful and non-emotional I mean, don't be defensive, rude or nasty. Instead, if someone complains they thought that there were too many stained items that got through check in, respond with something like: Thank you for letting me know. I would love for you to bring this to my attention during the sale so that we can remove those items from the sales floor. We did have some trouble attracting enough volunteers at this sale, and since this is something you are passionate about, we would love for you to join our check in team.

Did someone forget to pick up and then they got on the internet and blasted your sale? The response is easy. Thoughtfully remind them that they signed the consignor agreement. They signed off that they were picking up on Saturday at X time. There were signs on the exit doors during drop off reminding them of pick up. They were handed reminder cards with their pre-sale passes. When you thoughtfully, and reasonably respond with the facts, anyone reading the complaint post will see that clearly, this isn't the sale's fault that the consignor forgot to pick up. But you need to remain calm, cool and respectful... which isn't always easy.

It is important to acknowledge issues that shoppers, volunteers and consignors may have, after all, they are the ones who are buying what you are selling, and providing the merchandise! And you can't fix something you don't know is broken. Spend a little time researching your name and see what comes up, and remember, be thoughtful in your response.

The Worst Kind of PR

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

It was recently brought to my attention that there is a sale in town who has not paid some their consignors. After watching this story play out over the last few weeks, I think its worth mentioning to my new sale organizers because several things have transpired with this particular story.

I first found out about it when one of my lead volunteers said she had not received her check and it had been 3 weeks since the sale had closed. Since she has intricate knowledge of my sale, she knew to wait at least one full week from the check release date before she contacted the sale organizer. It could be hung up in the mail system. So she waited. And then she contacted the sale organizer. No response. About this time, another consignor posts on a local parenting board that she has not received her check, but no one really takes it seriously, because the person who complained is our local problem consignor who gets banned from all the sales. Again, no response from the sale organizer. My friend continues to email the sale organizer. No response. It's been 7 weeks since the close of the sale now and she posts on the sale facebook page "Hey , I haven't received my check, can you let me know when to expect it." No response. People who have been promoting the sale are now getting involved. Their name is now being pulled into the conversations... "you promoted this event, you need to help me"... and they are getting no response either.

So why do I share this story?

1. If you are a sale organizer, the money owed to your consignors is not yours. Justify it however you want, but it's stealing if you don't pay your consignors.
2. As a sale organizer, there are emails you don't need to respond to. But one that concerns payment to a consignor, must be addressed and should be addressed immediately.
3. If people are posting on local boards and your facebook page that you have not paid them... you will lose ground quickly. You don't want to lose customers because people are talking about you not paying them! A proper response would be something along the lines of "Checks were mailed X date. Let me check with my bank and verify that your check has not been cashed and I will reissue you a new check immediately." Maybe it's lost in the mail, maybe someone stole it out of the mailbox, maybe it was tossed in the trash. Who knows? But it is your responsibility as a sale organizer to take care of it.
4. Dragging other people into the situation. When I advertise with someone, when I advertise a donation ministry on my website, when I rent a building... I am always aware that I am a representative of them. Not just my business, but their business too.

You have a responsibility to pay your consignors. And you have a responsibility to do it when you say you will. You aren't just representing yourself, but also the organizations that you deal with. Make sure that you are being a good steward. Not just of your sale, but of the others who are sponsoring your sale and promoting your sale too.

Copyright Jenifer Gifford 2012. All Rights Reserved.