One Idea That Changed Our Business Forever
We started our business as a jewelry company in 2004. Things went pretty well for the first year or so—especially when we were traveling throughout the US to sell our China-made jewelry first-hand. After our big sales push, we returned to China; and I quickly realized that trying to sell jewelry was hard for 2 reasons.
1. I’m a man and an engineer by training – those two things combined to make a terrible jewelry salesman.
2. Selling jewelry 10,000 miles from your customer is very hard. Jewelry is subjective – and therefore difficult to sell when you can’t be in front of your buyer, explaining it as they touch and feel the jewelry piece.
We were talking about these problems with a wise friend and business mentor. And he said something so simple and so genius. He said:
“Instead of trying to sell people what you want to sell them, sell people what they are already buying!”
That day we made a vital shift; and our business has never been the same. I decided to start selling what people were already buying. It was a case of jumping on someone else’s bandwagon, but I didn’t care. There were deals to be made and I was excited.
I started calling as many customers as I could find for all kinds of China-products. I specifically focused on silicone bracelets (like the yellow Lance Armstrong Livestrong bracelet). I focused on this since it was jewelry, it was easy to make, and very popular at the time. I figured we could make a deal.
One of the customers asked if we had popcorn shirts. I knew what a popcorn shirt was because someone had given one to my wife a few years back. So I went looking, found them, put them on our website and on Alibaba, and someone else wanted to buy them. Our orders started growing, and more people wanted them. Suddenly we had a whole new business.
Since then, we’ve expanded our travelwear line because people wanted to buy more. We’ve recently found that we can also meet a high demand for sweaters, so we’re selling those, too.
So, instead of selling people what you want to sell them, try selling them what they want to buy. It might be easier that way.