Let’s say that 80% of custom t-shirt or custom embroidery businesses do all their business locally. That means they mostly get new customers through word of mouth.
That’s a great model as long as:
a) there’s a lot of mouths where you are and
b) there’s not too much good quality local competition
But waiting for referrals and watching the phone until it rings is a hard way to GROW your business.
And if you’re just starting out, it might be a while before you develop a regular clientele. So you’ll need some tools, some language, some ideas to generate sales to get started.
Everyone knows what embroidery services are, and people identify it with business branding for all the usual items, including:
So the good news is that when you identify yourself as an embroidery business owner, everyone will know exactly what you mean. They will instinctively know that you are someone that can help their business grow.
All you have to do is FIND those businesses!
Luckily, it’s essentially the entire job of the internet to help you find customers.
One great place to start is doing a “______ near me” search.
Google has been perfecting local search for years, so it’s easy to get good results if you know what to ask for.
“New businesses near me” is probably the ideal place to start looking for embroidery services customers.
Why NEW businesses?
Because if you contact them early enough, you can cement a lifelong relationship. Everyone working there needs new uniforms, hats, aprons, polos – whatever fits that new businesses brand.
When you do a “near me” search, the first thing you’ll usually see is a combination of Ads and the Maps listings. In this case, the Maps listings are probably for new business consultants, etc. The ads are for listing services you don’t need to pay for.
Ignore The Ads!
The gold for an embroidery services business comes AFTER the maps listings – as you can see from the search example here —-
Yelp is a ripe field full of prospects for your embroidery business! So let’s put that at the top of our list when you want to sell embroidery to a local business.
Their job is to market review and location services to new businesses, so every time a new business opens, their sales team does their best to get it listed on the Yelp app. Probably 9 times out of 10, those new businesses are going to be restaurants.
Restaurant employees wear uniforms. You embroider logos onto uniforms. They are also often involved in selling merchandise. So, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to sell embroidery to a new restaurant. Be creative and suggest new things to the restaurant owners or managers.
But Yelp isn’t restricted to just restaurants.
Just visiting Yelp.com recently, there were new listings for car detailing, a salon, and a few local spas.
Also on that “New businesses near me” search we found several local listings that you may find in your area too.
For example, 813area.com is a local site that publishes new business listings on the home page. And 83DegreesMedia runs articles like this one on businesses that opened during the pandemic on a regular basis.
You’re in even better shape for selling embroidery services to local businesses is you specialize. And the “near me” searches can definitely help.
For example, if your niche is hair salons you can simply type in “hair salons near me”. When we did this in Tampa there were 18 within a 10-minute drive. If you’re not in a quite as densely populated area you can start typing in the names of towns, areas or zip codes.
You would use the same pattern of searching for any niche. If you’re looking for NEW markets for selling embroidery services to then check out this article on embroidery business ideas for inspiration.
Now that we have how to find embroidery customers down, let’s look at how to sell embroidery to those local businesses.
There are a few classic ways to introduce yourself to those businesses you found.
Each of these DOES work. It’s important that you don’t assume something will or wont work based on what does and doesn’t work for you. Millions of people that complain about getting so many emails also click on one and buy something every day!
And yes, it is a little intimidating to just pick up the phone and call someone, but a “warm” calling technique takes a lot of the fear out of the call AND makes the business owner feel immediately more connected. Because you are giving them a reason for your call
A “cold call” are the ones that seem like there is no reason that the caller picked YOU to call. You could have been anyone.
Suggested Warm Calling Script for Embroidery Services
A “warm call” immediately gives the receiver a reason for the call. Here are a few examples:
“Hi, I’m Lisa from the New Embroidery Business down the street. I drove by your business the other day and it looks great btw – but I immediately thought that you probably want your employees to look their best and present a good image. I do ____________”
“Hi, I’m Lisa from Big Biz Embroidery just a few blocks/miles away from you. I saw your New Restaurant listing on Yelp and thought ‘what a great place for a ______ 😊. I embroider polos, uniforms, and aprons and would love to find out if I can help you brand your business that way?
With a Niche it’s even easier to reach out:
“Hi Mary, my name is Lisa from Hair Salon Embroidery – I just saw your listing in Yelp, congratulations on the great reviews, and thought I’d reach out. I do really classy custom aprons and other things for some other local salons like yours – can I send you a sample? – can I drop by on Tuesday and bring a few samples?”
No one really calls them that, but emailing those same businesses using the same techniques as the warm CALLS can also yield great results.
Guess what? These are exactly the same too! The advantage to actually visiting these businesses is that you get to comment in person, and bring samples with you. It really stream-lines the process because they’ll let you know if they’re interested right away.
That means you should truly trust that what you’re offering is going to help their business. Embroidery Services always add class and dignity to the business image. So, you can know that at whatever price, you are always improving the look and prestige of their businesses.
Make sure you are also genuine about delivering what you promise? If you don’t know that you can get the work done on time, don’t make the promise! By keeping to this rule alone, you will gain all the confidence you need to keep making those calls, day in and day out. You’ll be able to Let your sincerity shine through.
Be Truthful: If you hate tacos, don’t say you LOVE tacos. Tell them you are not a fan of tacos, but you love helping other businesses look great. If you DON’T do business with other hair salons in the area, just say you do business with other BUSINESSES in the area. You don’t have to make things up to get ahead here! Practice answers to common questions upfront.
It’s important that you have a roadmap that you’re following before you start prospecting for new business. This doesn’t have to be complicated; you just have to know what happens next so you can make your prospect feel like you know how to sell your services to a real business.
Don’t just use these 4 things. Give it some real thought. Your sales process is what will seal the deal for a new customer.
Here’s a great resource to help you develop a good sales process for selling custom embroidery to local businesses: CAS Podcast Episode 124 | Creating a Winning Sales Method
If any of the approaches we discussed here works the first time, consider yourself a prodigy! Or just lucky.
The businesses that do well with this kind of business development are the ones that do one or more of them consistently. They will never say “I tried that once and it didn’t work”.
They may have tried something 100 times or 1000 times and it didn’t produce the results they were hoping for. Or they may have discarded one method because they were so successful with another.
But if you’re only going to make 10 phone calls and stop because no one is interested – don’t bother.
If you think sending emails to last week’s Yelp new businesses list is all you needed to do to make it big – you should just not do that. Push yourself. Get comfortable with uncomfortable things.
If you only try for one afternoon of introducing yourself to area businesses without doing it consistently, then you’re probably wasting your time. You need to keep at it. To get good at it. Think of it as making lots of friends who may think of you when the time is right.
Consistency and systemization of the process is KEY!
But if you DO dedicate time every week or every month to more than one of these ideas you WILL get business.
In fact, one company in the embroidery services business recently hit capacity on their ability to do wholesale production because they started contacting people on LinkedIn… consistently!
You can do it! Just get started and watch things change for your business.
We'd LOVE to talk to you about joining the ColDesi Family!