Sales 101: How to Sell Your Collection

Are you a one-man show? Meaning do you source fabric, design, market and then attempt to do that thing called sales?

In a perfect world, we know that designers would much rather create, and sit back to watch the sales come in.

But the reality is that if you own a startup brand funds might be tight and hiring someone to head up your sales isn’t an option.

So what exactly goes into selling? How do you contact a buyer to seal the deal?

What Exactly Are Sales

Sales. A simple and powerful word that’s responsible for making the world go around.

Yet so many entrepreneurs struggle and cringe at the thought of approaching a buyer with their latest collection as they truly believe they don’t have the gift of gab.

In any business, sales are the heartbeat of a company; meaning this department generates the bread (aka-revenue).

No matter how impressive your designs are, how good your manufacturing operation is and how competitive your pricing is, you must still have sales because the rest is meaningless.

“Nothing happens until someone sells something” (Henry Ford).

There are several selling techniques, but if you’re a brand targeting big-box retailers or specialty stores the following two ways of selling are suggested.


Depending on how much time you have consultative selling might just be the way to go. So, what is consultative selling and how is this different from the rest?

Consultative selling is not about you rather about the store you are selling to. Selling this way focuses primarily on asking the buyer questions that will uncover their needs.

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Just think, if you find out what they are looking for when purchasing and you have it in your collection your selling time literally cuts in half. Meaning you will have a faster closing rate and possibly sell more.

So what questions should you be asking a buyer when contacting them?

1. What do you typically look for when you purchase {insert the name of your product – i.e. hats}?
2. The last time you purchased {insert the name of your product – i.e. hats} what did that look like and who was involved in the buying process?
3. Our collection works for some stores but I want to know what styles works for you? {such as solid colors, mostly size medium or USA made items etc.}
4. What do you avoid when purchasing {insert the name of your product – i.e. hats}?
5. What is important to you when picking up a new line?

Remember to ask questions and listen to understand the answer.

Each question shouldn’t be asked in order rather the conversation should flow organically.

Based on the information you received from the buyer go back to your showroom, office or wherever you get your work done and build a custom line sheet.

The line sheet doesn’t need to fancy, rather it should highlight and answer the questions mentioned above.

Meaning, based on your conversation, you should only show a few items on a line sheet that the buyer mentioned they are looking for along with one or two of your brand best-selling items.

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By doing so, you will avoid overwhelming the buyer with styles they aren’t necessarily interested in and ultimately dodging an automatic no.


No one likes to be sold to; instead, buyers like to think when writing an order for their retail store(s) as an investment.

Collaborative selling working with a buyer in a joint process. Meaning a designer or sales rep will work in a collaborative way with a buyer to identify their needs, evaluate how their brand benefits the store and then navigate the buyer through the decision-making process.

So why is working in a collaborative way so important?

Collaborative selling help overcomes the fear of approaching a buyer.

Instead of feeling the pressure to persuade a buyer into buying; collaborative selling is thought of as a partnership – so both parties win.

Collaborative selling is a practice that is used by true sales gurus who want to build a large, long-term and loyal customer base that will support them to generate sales into the future.

Cool Fact: Did you know– 60% of sales professionals say that collaborative selling has increased productivity by more than 25%.

So, if you are planning to contact a buyer for the first time and would like to sell in a collaborative way, try saying this but change the content based on what you truly like about their website or store.

Hi {Insert Buyer Name},

I love your store, especially your website!

I like how you highlight the upcoming trunk shows. How many trunk shows do you have in a year and how do your customers typically respond to the shows?

{The buyer will answer you}

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Oh, that’s awesome! My name is {insert name} by the way. I am in the area looking for new stores to partner with. I rep a brand called {insert name of the brand}. Have you heard of it?

{The buyer will respond} then tell the buyer about your brand within 1-2 minutes and turn the attention back on them.

Next, wrap up the conversation by saying, “I would love to show you our latest collection. Are you available the week of Dec 4th? if so, what’s a good day and time?”

By selling this way, ensures the buyer that you are in it to have a true partnership rather than selling them and peacing out.
Bringing It All Together

Let’s face it, no matter how beautiful or cool your collection is, if it’s just going to collect dust it’s just an expensive hobby.

Sales are crucial to any business and the two best ways to approach selling with ease and pressure free is by working with a buyer in a consultative or collaborative way.

The Sales Concept helps fashion brands grow their wholesale business through sales and merchandising strategies. With 25+ years combined experience in the fashion industry, TSC focuses on growing brands through their 1-1 coaching, online training courses, and workshops.

To learn more their services and access their free 5-day course “How to Sell Your Fashion Line to Retailersclick here.

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