Caps, Industry Tips

How To Be Successful In Selling Embroidery

1. Pick up the phone to turn your prospect into a customer

Jim Mickelson started Northwest Custom Apparel in 1977 and taught himself how to sell custom embroidery while working on the Trans Alaska Pipeline. Jim was selling embroidery before computers, fax machines, and the internet. Above all, Jim will teach you some of his proven embroidery sales tips to make your embroidery shop money. Below is an Old Skool business tip on using the telephone to close embroidery deals. This is a touch-tone telephone with big buttons and plugs into the wall.

2. Call your Prospect on the Telephone

First, you must know how to talk on the telephone to close an embroidery sale. Time is ticking when you get a new prospect, so you need to call them ASAP using a TELEPHONE. Despite the ease of Emailing back and forth, hoping they will place an order with you is like praying to the gods. It would help if you were proactive by using the resources at hand. Emailing can be used once you make a connection with your lead.

Remember, have your #2 Ticonderoga pencil and yellow sheet notepad ready. Taking notes is essential when on the phone. It’s not like email, where you have an electronic trail of messages. Many forget to get the person’s company name, full name, mailing address, and email address. You want a physical address to put them on your postcard mailing list for further follow-up throughout the year.

Woman on Telephone
Pay attention and write notes as you talk to your prospect

3. Follow Up with your prospect

How many times should you follow up with your prospect? I suggest you contact a prospect as soon as that lead comes across your desk. Pick up the phone and dial for dollars. Once you contact the lead, you can schedule another time to follow up again. Don’t be too pushy, but don’t be too shy to follow up. You can follow up by using the telephone or email.

Above all, don’t forget to send them a Thank You card. Thank you cards keep your name on the top of the prospect’s mind. They may need your embroidery services immediately, but after 6-12 months, they may be circling back. More importantly, you can get a referral from them. If you take good care of your prospect, they will likely mention your embroidery shop to their friends and family.

Writing Thank you Cards. Man with blue sweater
Jim sends thank you cards are a great way to follow up with your prospect

4. Send an Embroidered Sample

Furthermore, you can create an embroidered sample and mail it to your prospect to close the deal. They will be surprised, and you will always get a call back to say “Thanks.” You are building your brand by doing this, and the lead will be turned into a customer.

We digitize and sample an embroidered cap for a potential prospect. We call these our “WOW” boxes. Customers get the box, and when they open it, they say, “WOW”! You will be spending $50- $75.00 for the embroidery digitizing and sampling, but your closing rate will increase by 40%.

Many vendors like Sanmar have end-of-the-year rebates so that you can purchase sample apparel. We prefer to send out a brand names gifts like North Face, Carhartt, or Travis Mathew. They have much more of a perceived value, and they are free to you.

The days of sending out foam trucker caps and satin baseball jackets in the 1980s are long gone. Who knows, maybe one day, the satin jacket will return in style like the trucker cap.

Sample Boxes
Send Sample Boxes to your Customer with their logo embroidered on the cap.

5. Send a promotional product.

Additionally, you can mail your prospect a custom coffee mug with your logo emblazed on it. The prospect will keep this mug on their desk and view your logo daily. This is a great marketing tip. You can purchase your promotional coffee mugs at Northwest Custom Apparel. We have a partnership with a custom drinkware supplier in Los Angeles that does an excellent job. I recommend tossing a bag of Ghiradelli Premium Hot Cocoa inside the mug. You can find the hot cocoa packets at your local Costco.

Coffee Mug with Sasquatch
Imprint your business name or mascot on a coffee mug. Your prospects will love you.

Have Embroider Sales Questions? Contact Jim Mickelson

In conclusion, if you have a question, Jim has the answer. You can contact Jim at [email protected]. You can also use the TELEPHONE to reach Jim at Northwest Custom Apparel at 253-922-5793

Bonus Tip Have an Open House

Have an open house or a BBQ once a year. Customers and the community love food and giveaways. It can be as simple as hotdogs, soda, and chips. We call and direct mail our customers one month before the Open House. In 2019 we did such a great job inviting our customers we ran out of hot dogs. Luckily we have a Costco down the street in Fife.

You can personalize beanies with the customer’s name if you have a single-head machine. You will have 50 people standing in line just for a $3.00 beanie. Make the open house fun; your customers, staff, and community will love it.

Jim Mickelson, Erik Mickelson at Northwest Custom Apparel's open house
Another idea is having an Open House. Customers love free food and giveaways.

About Erik Mickelson

Erik Mickelson is the author of Northwest Custom Apparel's blogs. Erik has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 1996 after graduating from Washington State University and is the founder of the Apparel Graphic Academy. Trained by the custom graphic apparel industry's best, Mark Venit, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Embroidery Adventure blog. As they say, 'Experience is the best teacher.' We are proud to have Erik as part of our team!

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