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As retail heads into a busy holiday season, live from Las Vegas Market, Dawn Grooters of Broken Vessel Sales joins me to help you prepare.
There is a common theme in our discussion today: relationships and connection = MORE sales. Dawn shares tips to reach customers by standing out with events, gift wrapping, open houses, and the lost art of phone calls.
You can use phone calls to personally invite your loyal customers to events, check on abandoned carts, and get to know their needs. The more you know your customers, the more you know how to help them with gift guides and more.
Dawn also urges retailers to take this pre-holiday season to analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Really capitalize on those strengths and special talents within your team.
Speaking of the team, this is such a busy time, and an overworked staff can get close to burnout. Show your appreciation with extra treats, samples, and gifts, and maybe an after-holiday celebration!
Don’t forget to take care of yourself too. Store owners need to prepare at home and in the store, whether this means setting up meal services, scheduling downtime, or pre-planning displays and events.
The fourth quarter is already the busiest season; make it a successful one too!
I’m rooting for your success.
- Selling techniques for retailers this holiday season.
- Holiday 2023: What do retailers need to know?
- How to sell more in Q4.
- Tips for beating holiday burnout in the busy retail world.
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Crystal Vilkaitis: If you want to sell more during the holidays and beyond, then this is a great episode for you to listen to. I’m sitting down in person with my friend Dawn Grooters with Broken Vessel Sales Solutions. We had the opportunity to be in person at the Las Vegas market and have this great conversation around what retailers need to know as they are entering the holiday season. You want to, often for a lot of our retailers, fourth quarter is our biggest quarter. And so Don has some really great sales tactics and strategies and advice for you to sell more this holiday season. But of course. You can use these tactics beyond the holidays as well. Now, because the holiday season also can be very busy and crazy for our retailers this month in October, as this is airing live, we are focusing on holidays and burnout. And so Dawn is also giving some great tips for the store owner, as well as your employees to help keep everybody energized and refreshed. So we can really show up for our customers this holiday season. Dawn specializes in the gift and home industry, working with retailers and wholesalers and reps and really creating inside sales teams. And she really focuses on building relationships as a method of selling, which you’ll absolutely learn in this episode. If you are in the gift and home space, you definitely want to check out Dawn’s podcast Inside Gift and Home with Dawn Grooters, and you can check out her website, brokenvesselsales.com. I love this conversation, love Dawn and her energy. And I think that you will too. So let’s dive into today’s episode.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Welcome to Rooted in Retail, the show that’s dedicated to helping independent retailers thrive in today’s ever evolving retail landscape. I’m your host, Crystal Vilkaitis, and I’m thrilled to have you join me weekly as we explore topics that are vital to the success of your store, from marketing to mindset, money to merchandising, sales to leadership. We’ll cover it all. Each episode features interviews with industry experts and accomplished retailers who share their real life insights and actionable advice. Get ready for a great conversation on how to build your dream business with Rooted in Retail. Dawn, welcome to Rooted in Retail. I’m thrilled you’re here.
Dawn Grooters: Thank you so much for having me.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Yes. Yes So we’re at the Las Vegas market. Yes, and the last time we did this we were at the Las Vegas market Yeah for Crystal Uncorked and we’ll link to that episode because you had great tips in there and we learn more about what you do And we’re gonna continue that conversation in this episode, but we’re gonna focus on holidays and some burnout stuff. Since this is going out in October. Yes. Yeah. So let’s dive right in. Could you share some effective sales techniques that independent retailers can employ to increase their holiday sales, especially in today’s competitive market?
Dawn Grooters: Yeah. Yeah. So I think one of the biggest things that you can do as retailers during the holidays and set yourself apart from other retailers is the services you provide.
So whether that’s like gift wrapping or things like that. even when you have open houses, calling your customers and in personally inviting them to it, because I talk about inside sales and my businesses about it, I’m a huge advocate for making phone calls because that’s a lost art almost. And so everybody’s inboxes get filled with emails and things like that.
So I think even if you call your top customers and personally invite them to your open houses or you have open carts on your website. If you have a wholesale or not a wholesale website, but you have a retail website and you have open carts on there calling those customers and saying, Hey, is there something you have questions about these products or trying to get that sale to move forward by asking them questions?
I think you’ll learn a lot about it. And those are things that not everybody’s doing. So you can set yourself a apart from that. And it’s just another sale strategy to use.
Crystal Vilkaitis:I love that idea because I really feel like A lot of people aren’t, they’re not picking up the phone and you, it’s a service selling a service. Right. So you can so help your customers buy, you can help them shop during this crazy busy time of year for everybody. And that’s such a good tip. Love it. Okay. Given the rise of online shopping, how can a retailer’s sales team adapt their strategies to ensure they’re reaching and persuading potential customers effectively?
Dawn Grooters: Yeah. So I think this is something. To allude to what I just said about calling abandoned carts. So how many of us will go put something in our cart and then forget about it? Or maybe we have a question we’re not quite ready to buy. But I’ve had retailers do this in the past. They’ve heard me talk about inside sales. And so they, they’re like, I don’t know if this applies to me, but maybe I’m going to try it and I’m going to have them use inside sales. techniques to be able to close some of those carts. And, what they found is they have learned so much more about their customers and what their customers are wanting and what’s holding them back from actually placing that order online, and if you have that online space, That’s another avenue for you to get revenue. And so, it’s important that you utilize that and you take every opportunity, just like every person that walks into the store, you take every opportunity to learn about that customer and to be able to close the sale on that customer. And so, asking them what’s working, what’s not. It’s not working or you know, what’s holding you back from placing this purchase or do you have questions on the product? Those are all things you can ask when you give them a phone call and you call them to talk about that, call them to talk about the product that’s in the cart.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Yeah. It’s about the conversation and more information. Yes. Yeah. I mean, that’s going to really empower your sales team if you have that, which. Leads us into our next question. Can you talk about the importance of understanding your customer’s needs and wants during the holiday season and how can a retailer’s sales team tap into these insights and maximize sales?
Dawn Grooters: Yeah, yeah. So definitely ask questions. Any customer that comes into the retail store, your sales staff should be asking questions. So even if it’s like, who are you shopping for? Do you have a budget? That’s going to help that sales associate then know what items to direct that customer to. So if they walk in and say, I have a hundred dollar budget and I’m buying a Christmas present for my mom, that sales associate can then help them navigate that and ask, you know, what does your mom like? They can help facilitate that sale to really close that sale. And it’s another way of adding a service to your customers so that they are getting help. Cause most of us will walk into a store and be like, I don’t know. I’m going to see something. Maybe I think they’re going to like, and maybe I don’t. And so finding those, asking those questions and finding that information out for your customers will help then facilitate that.
Crystal Vilkaitis:I am one of those people who I have such a hard time buying gifts for other people. I feel the pressure. I want it to be perfect and I want them to love it. And then I end up just buying like an experience where I’m like, let’s go out to eat. Like I just, let’s spend time together, which is also great. but I just can see when we’re actually talking to our customers, we’re really helping them shop and then turning that into social content, as you were talking, I feel like they could do reels and do these videos about, let us help you shop, come into the store, tell us who you’re shopping for. They could even have like, here’s your guide, you know, who are you shopping for? What’s the budget? What are their interests? And then they can pull some stuff for you making it really easy.
Dawn Grooters: Yes, yes. It just helps them, because we’re all short on time. Yep. We’re all short on some of us short on budget right now and stuff too, but we still wanna be able to give those gifts to those people, especially during the holidays. So if we can get some help in that, I think that’s the best thing that those retailers can do.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Mm-hmm. I love it. For independent retailers looking to revamp their sales strategy ahead of the holiday season, where should they say, start? And what key factors should they keep in mind to ensure success?
Dawn Grooters: Yeah, so I think they really need to do an analysis. I’m big on analysis because I think you need to find out what your strengths are. And then obviously then capitalize on those strengths, but then also find out what your weaknesses are and work on those. And so whatever your strength is, maybe you have this awesome salesperson and she is killing it in regards to sales that maybe she could train some of the other people and like, this is what I say or this is how this works or maybe they have another strength that like you have a great service if you have like interior design, capitalize on that, especially during the holidays and people want to, they’re going to be entertaining and having people come into their homes, whatever your strengths are, look at that, analyze that and then capitalize that. for the holidays, but then also look at your weaknesses and kind of start to identify those and you have to grow those as well and figure out how to overcome some of those weaknesses so that you do have a strong and it all starts with analyzing what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at.
Crystal Vilkaitis: I love that. A book I really love is the Strengths Finder, which there’s a, have you ever done that? Okay. You’ll have to check it out. It’s pretty cool because there’s a quiz in there and I think you have to pay to take the quiz. Like $37. And it will give you your top five strengths. And the whole thing talks about how you should really focus on those strengths and integrate those into all aspects of your life and really capitalize on those, because when we are in our zone of genius and like we’re doing what we’re good at, we get that momentum. And when we’re doing stuff, we’re not good at. It slows us down. We can feel frustrated. And so if you’ve got somebody on your team, maybe you hate doing something, but somebody is like, I would love to do that. You know, it’s a great, you know, the power of a team for sure. But gotta know your strengths. Yes. Take the time to get to know your strengths.
Dawn Grooters: Yes. Yeah, absolutely.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Awesome. Okay. Let’s talk about some burnout. Okay. Because the holiday season, our retailers are so incredibly busy. What advice do you have for retailers to prevent or manage their own burnout during this busy time of year?
Dawn Grooters: Yeah. So I think that they should be willing to ask for help. I have a friend that’s going to be opening a retail store and I think she’s opening it in October. So right into the fourth quarter and she’s like, I’d love for you to come and help just like do an open house and things. And I’m like, absolutely. Me as her friend, I am there to help support her. And so I’m glad she was willing to ask for help because I want to do that for her. And so, so many of the retailers out there have friends and family that are willing to jump in. They just maybe need to ask. And so asking for help in that, or. Even asking for help from your sales reps. If you have great relationships with your sales reps and asking for help to come in and do open houses with you and bring in some samples or some giveaways for that kind of thing. Sales reps, a lot of them will be happy to do that. And so it will help then grow your relationship with them. So I think it’s just asking for help because you can’t do it all you can’t You know set your store and manage the finances You just can’t do it all yourself And so if we’re willing to ask for help that manages helps to manage a little bit of that burnout so that we’re able to all work together to make that a success.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Totally. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s such good advice. And it reminds me of one of our retailers, Kirsten, she did, now this was during COVID. She did this Facebook live video and basically was like, help. We are trying to figure out this new world and we need some volunteers and she cried a little bit in the video because it was an emotional time and we’re all just trying to figure this out and She had over a hundred people respond and say I will help, I will help, I will help, her community so showed up for her And I just think that sometimes as business owners We don’t want to ask for help because we think we’re gonna be intruding But really, I think there are just people who really do want to support us, like you were saying. So you’ve got to put yourself out there.
Dawn Grooters: Yeah. Yeah. Definitely. I think it’s just, we have to be willing to ask. We do. That’s the hard part.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Right? I know. I know.
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Crystal Vilkaitis: Now what about the retailers employees? What kinds of tips do you have to help them with burnout?
Dawn Grooters: Yeah you know, they’re working so hard too that I think if it’s just showing a little extra appreciation on some of that, I think will help. so, and you don’t even have to spend a ton of money or you don’t have to give them extra days off or, you know, maybe there is some, a time frame where it’s slower that they can take afternoons off or something later on. During the holidays, that’s not. possible, but showing some extra appreciation. So, you know, even if it’s, you made rice crispy bars and brought them into the store or, you know, you gave them some lotion or some samples that maybe you had gotten or something like that, just show a little extra appreciation to them because that appreciation will then fuel them. So they’re not burnt out and they’re like, Oh, I am appreciated. I’m working so hard. I am appreciated. I’m going to continue to work hard. And I think we all want to be a little, be appreciated when we’re working for someone and helping them grow their business. And so if we can show some of that appreciation, I think that would be helpful.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Absolutely. I so agree. What final advice do you have for retailers during the holiday season as they are entering this crazy time of year?
Dawn Grooters: Yeah, yeah. So they are juggling a lot. But I think one of the things that they can do beforehand is prepare. even as, when I have busy seasons and stuff, I know I have to prepare ahead of time when I know that’s coming. And you, we all know, fourth quarter’s coming and it’s busy, so if we can prepare, even if that’s on like the family side. You know, if you’re a working mom and you have a retail store and you have your family at home preparing and having like a meal service. So like I at one point in my career in my business, I had Hello Fresh and I had three meals delivered every week because that was meals that then we could make really quickly. I didn’t have to grocery shop. I didn’t have to do they were simple meals that were healthy. It wasn’t tater tots and chicken strips, which does happen still, but it was like things that were quick and easy, that prepared my family for when I was going to be gone a little bit more and things like that. So even if you can do things at home or at the store to prepare, so if you’re, you know, if you know you’re going to have this certain display or all of your Christmas products, even preparing that ahead of time, like how that display is going to look. Or putting all the merchandise together. That’s going to go in a certain display. It’s one step closer to preparing for that busy season. So you don’t have to do it all.
Crystal Vilkaitis: So smart. Think ahead, prepare, plan. Yep. Yes. Okay. Dawn, are you ready for the resilience round? Yes. Okay, let’s do it. Okay. Best business book?
Dawn Grooters: Best business book would have to be Profit First.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Ooh, good one.
Dawn Grooters: Yeah, that one’s definitely one that I’ve started to implement in my business since then about a year doing that. And I think it’s so helpful in managing your finances.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Yes. So good. I so agree. Best retail technology? like an app or software.
Dawn Grooters: so I would have to say HubSpot. Okay, yeah. So I, a lot of wholesale vendors or sales reps, I recommend that to them. But I also recommend it for retailers as well, because it houses all your customer information. So you can send marketing through their email marketing. It has, you know, if they have phone numbers, it has that in there. You can put the last dates they purchased. There’s so much information that you could have. And if you have a lot of customers, it’s the best way to manage them. Yep. And I also have been hearing their ads and they integrated AI. Yeah. Awesome. And they have a free version that you can use and it’s very basic. And that’s honestly maybe what most people just need to use is that free version. You don’t need to upgrade to all the other levels at any point that free version has enough information in there to use.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Awesome. And it’s such, nobody’s mentioned HubSpot yet. I’m glad that you did because I do feel like it’s a great platform that people can also grow into. So your point of like, start free, but they really can help as your business grows. You can stay on that platform, and sometimes it’s so painful to leave platforms.
Dawn Grooters: Yes, absolutely. And I started with the free version in my business, and I’ve upgraded to another version now, just because I wanted more features. As we’ve grown, I’ve wanted more features, but it has grown in there, and I absolutely love it for just managing your customers.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Good one. How do you keep up with the ever changing retail landscape?
Dawn Grooters: I think it’s being willing to learn new things. You have to learn new things. Like, just like you talked about AI, which I’m still like, I don’t know exactly how this all works. And I’m, but you have to learn about it to decide if you want to use it in your business or not. But there’s so many things that technology is so rapidly changing that there’s so many things that you have to learn and decide, is this right for my business or is it not right? But you just have to be willing to learn, is the biggest thing, I think.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Definitely. And because it’s changing so rapidly, how do you recharge your batteries?
Dawn Grooters: So I have to go outside, honestly, I just have to be out in nature whether that’s taking a 15 minute walk or whatever, because it seems like when things are, you’re overwhelmed or there’s so much coming at you when you go outside, everything feels all those problems and stress feels so much smaller. It’s like, okay, there’s all these things that are happening outside in nature. And that you don’t have to, that your problems just don’t seem as big anymore. And so that’s a way that I have to recharge my batteries throughout the day. And even, you know, being in the winter, which I don’t love, I sometimes just have to go out in the winter and just be outside.
Crystal Vilkaitis: I so agree. I love nature. So therapeutic. To help retailers be stronger, more rooted in success. What’s a sales best practice?
Dawn Grooters: So I don’t know if it’s a sales one, but I think it’s knowing your numbers I really think it’s like financial numbers. It is sales numbers knowing your sales numbers, which, What’s coming in and what’s going out? I think Covid taught us that, that we had to You had to know your numbers. So if you were not financially strong, it was really hard to get through COVID. And so I think if you know your numbers, what’s coming in, what’s going out, what your inventory levels are, how much you need to buy to be able to sustain that, all of those things help you to be able to be stronger in the end. And then you feel more confident in what you’re buying and who you’re hiring and whether you can afford to hire more people and all of that.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Totally, know your numbers. So good. I agree. Finally, what do you think the future of independent retail looks like?
Dawn Grooters:So I think it’s really bright. I think you have to have an omni-channel approach. You can’t just have a brick and mortar store and expect people to walk in. That doesn’t happen like it used to, but I think if you have an omni-channel approach, then you will be able to have a bright future because I think people are. wanting to get back into retail stores. They want to look around. I’d love to shop. And so I love going into retail stores. And so I think you can just, you have to be able to be there in multiple places where your customers are at. So if it’s online and I walk into a store and I like something, but I’m not sure if I’m going to buy it. And then I go to their website and it’s there and then I put it in the cart. And then I, I’m like, Oh, I see it on social media. And that person’s wearing it. And I’m like, Oh yeah, I’m going to go back and buy it. So you have to have that approach, but I think it’s really bright for retailers. I think the pendulum swifts, shifts, the pendulum swings. And sometimes, you know. Online ordering was really big for a while there, but I think people want that experience to go into a store as well.
Crystal Vilkaitis: I agree. Yeah, they want that physical, that connection and the experience. You are so right. Dawn, how can people connect with you online?
Dawn Grooters:So that you can go to my website, it’s brokenvesselsales.com and I’m on social media, so it’s @dawn_grooters for Instagram. And then I’m on LinkedIn, LinkedIn, Dawn Grooters there too.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Okay. Awesome. We’ll link to all of that. Thank you so much for taking time out of your podcast recording. Also, your podcast, if you’re in the gift and home industry, share your podcast. Yeah. So my podcast is Inside Gift and Home. It’s on Apple and Spotify. there’s also a page on my website for that as well. And I started that in January. So this is a new venture for me, but love. I have loved doing it because it’s just getting to interview people talking about different topics that people are bringing up and just connecting retailers and, uh, vendors and sales reps and sharing different perspectives so we can work together and collaborate more.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Yes. Thank you for doing that. We need that. I love it. Such a great show. Thank you for taking time to sit down with me today.
Dawn Grooters: Yes, absolutely. Love it.
Crystal Vilkaitis: And everyone remember that I am rooting for your success. Have a great week ahead. Bye!
Crystal Vilkaitis: Thank you so much for being here. It means the world to me. Don’t forget to join the Rise and Shine newsletter, which is social media news you need to know sent via email every Monday morning, go to crystalmediaco.com slash rise to join. And don’t miss the newest episode of Rooted in Retail, which drops every Sunday morning.