A New Season of Life

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

I've been spending a lot of time trying to figure out what I am going to do in post sale years. I am still hosting sales, but let's face it, the sale industry really is for the younger families. The 100 miles/100 hours in 6 days is exhausting and the older I get, the harder it is to recoup from a sale. I figure I have a few more years left, but I certainly won't be doing this when I'm 50.

It's time for a new season in my life, after all, I've been doing this for 11 years! I've spent the last couple of years trying to figure out what it is I am going to do with the rest of my life, and raising teenage boys is taking most of my time right now. Somewhere along the way, my oldest boy started his own business and I find most of free time is spent managing his business and helping him discover his path in life. I know nothing of his world, but I am learning and much like the people I mentor, new people are mentoring me, and quite frankly, I'm having a blast learning new things and connecting with my son.

I'm excited about what the future holds for my little family. I've made so many good friends through this business, and I am so thankful to have met people who have truly enriched my life. All good things must come to an end. But with every ending, is a new beginning.


Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

I get lots of questions about when will I start blogging again. Currently, most of my free time is spent in the forum, so for now... you have reached the end of the blog. Sadly, this means I have to admit I can't do it all, but since I am trying to be more intentional with my time, I am choosing to focus my time in the forum and not on the blog. Will I be blogging again in the future? I can't say for certain. I'd like too, but right now I'm choosing to focus my efforts in the forum. So... join us there!

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.

Why Do People Come?

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

I was recently talking with a new sale organizer who was struggling with competition. Some big names had moved into her town and she was wondering why people would choose her business over their businesses?

I always try and convey to my new sale organizers that your business is about you. People come because they like you. They like how you organize, they like how you do business, they like the way you treat your consignors/volunteers or maybe they like that you have a large or small following. Let's talk about two different real life sale scenarios.

A friend of mine moved away to another state where there was a big name sale. She said she loved the sale, she loved consigning/volunteering/shopping. But then the sale organizer sold to someone else and she said that they weren't as nice, so she quit volunteering, but still consigned and shopped. They sold out a year or so later and the new sale organizers were bitter and nasty. She didn't volunteer and quit consigning and shopping with them. Just because you have a name (perhaps from buying an existing business) doesn't mean that people are going to flock to your it. They may have more money, they may have more polished and professional advertising material, but it doesn't mean that they people are going to flock to them. This is a people business. If you aren't a people person, you are going to struggle, just like they are going to struggle. Just like this business lost people because of the attitude of the sale organizer.

When I started my sale, the very same season a lady partnered with a local radio station to hold a consignment sale. They moved into another sale's location with the promise of $40,000 in free radio publicity for the location via advertising this event. This new sale offered an 80/20 split. I went out and asked to leave fliers, after all, I can't compete with that kind of money on my shoe string budget, but I can capitalize on their big advertising budget! When the event was over, I was talking with the radio station volunteers and asked them how it went. They said it was "okay" but for the amount of advertising they invested, it was considered overall a bust. If I remember correctly, they had around 125 consignors. They never held another sale.

My point being that all the money in the world and all the flash in town doesn't necessarily convert into customers. Your first and next couple of sales are all about the community getting to know you. So don't fret. Don't worry about anyone else. Focus on your sale and your end game if you want to succeed.



Copyright Jenifer Gifford 2012. All Rights Reserved.