It’s beginning to look a lot like…well not quite but it is the beginning of November and as a product business owner all your efforts now turn to the busiest time of your selling year – Christmas.
You might have already signed up to some selling events during the run up to Christmas. It could be a local craft market or one of the major consumer events like Spirit of Christmas – whichever it is you’ll want them to be a success for your business.
It’s exciting; really fun events right in the middle of the bustle of the festive period, great for raising your profile but that does mean it’s easy to get carried away and forget these are ultimately selling events.
My top piece of advice?
Make sure you are clear about how much you need to sell to make the event a success! Sounds obvious right? Well not always – these events won’t be the same as selling on your website or in your shop or to resellers – so you need to do your planning beforehand.
Selling means profit
You want to make sure you get the most out of your time and effort. The first thing to do is make a list of all the events you’ve signed up to or plan to sign up to and give each event a target. Identify how much money you would be happy to take away at the end of each event. Now – the question I’m often asked is - how do you decide that amount?
Everybody will have a different figure in mind, however to reach that figure you need to go through every single cost incurred and other considerations related to the effort required by you to do these events, such as your time.
For just one event the list is long; cost of the pitch, bespoke labelling, bespoke signage, time you’ve had to take out of the business or away from family in order to do the event. How much time and costs it’s taken to box up all of your stock, any logistical costs, if you have to stand outside in the cold for a few hours (these are important considerations!), if you’ve had to pay anyone to help with these events and of course the cost of the actual goods you are selling.
Once you have your list decide how much you want to make as profit from each event – be really clear – by using your list you can be sure about the amount you you’d like to make as profit as you will now know how much you need to make to break even.
Set a unit sales target
Now you have that number you can work back to get a unit sales target – for example if you want to clear £150 to cover £100 of profit and £50 of expenses and on average you make £10 profit per item you’re going to need to sell 15 items in order to hit your target, and if it’s a five hour event you need to sell 3 units an hour. Break it down so that you have an hourly amount you need to reach for each event.
3 other reasons for working out your sales target
One – planning for next Christmas
Having a clear sales plan for Christmas events will enable you to identify which events were a success and which were not. So when you’re planning out your Christmas period for next year, you already know which events this year made a profit and if any didn’t. Having your sales target for each event will make deciding which events to do each year more straightforward and fruitful.
Two – how much stock to take
This process is essential for you to know how much stock to take to each event. If you don’t know how much you need to make and if you haven’t broken that amount down into unit sales you won’t know how much stock to take.
If you need to sell 15 items to hit your target and in turn cover your costs and efforts then you know to bring 20 items – you don’t want to sell out before the end of the event but also don’t want to bring loads of items home with you. Using a sales number will help you know how much stock to take.
Three – is the event feasible
Knowing how much stock you need to sell to make an event a success will help you identify if the event is feasible. For example, if you have to sell 500 items in order to hit your target – you will know if that’s feasible for you. You’ll know if you have that amount of stock available, if you can transport it and if the space at the event is big enough.
Another tip - many sellers create gift sets for selling events – you can bundle several lower priced items together and then sell them for a higher amount. This will increase the average amount each person spends and help hit your target.
So my key take-way for you – if you’re getting ready for Christmas events make sure you take the time to work out how much you want to make from each event, how much will make it worthwhile to you in your business and therefore how much do you need to sell to make that happen.
I hope this blog post has helped to give you some structure and focus on how to get the best out of Christmas selling events - now bring on the Christmas tunes and sparkle - good luck!
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