Have you ever had to call a store owner by phone and felt a little stumped about what to say? This post is for you!
For the most part, when you're reaching out to stores that you don't have a previous connection to, we recommend using email. The main reason is that most store owners really want to be with their customers when they’re in the shop -- so they prefer not to have an in-person or telephone interruption. Plus, email has the added benefit of allowing you the time to craft your story, think through your email template, and attach a few beautiful photos of your work to make a good first impression.
Emailing doesn't always work, though, because some stores specifically request that makers call them. (As we’ll note in the “specific requirements” section of our store profiles.)
So what do you say when you need to call a store? Here's what we recommend:
Someone answers the phone: Hello this is XYZ boutique, how can I help you?
You: Hi there! My name is Sara. I’m a (maker, jeweler, artist) and I wanted to share my line with the store. Who would be the best person to talk to about that, or would it be better to email?
(We suggest confirming that phone is best, just to express respect for their time.)
Option one: They are not available and the person you're speaking to just seems to be working the desk.
You: Oh great, when would be a good time to call back and speak with them? Is there a particular time of day that is good for them?
Then add a task on your calendar to follow up with them.
Option 2: The store owner answers with, Yes, I’m the owner, what kind of jewelry do you make?
Once you're on the phone with the right person, give them a one (maybe two) sentence description of the line. Avoid the temptation to tell them your life story -- assume everyone you talk to is busy and just heading out the door.
You: I make a handmade line of sterling silver jewelry that is functional and beautiful. Does that sound like something you would be interested in?
Usually they'll either say that it doesn't fill a gap for them, or they'll request that you follow up via email or snail mail with more info. If they ask for you to follow up via email, ask if there is anything specific they would like you to send or if a line sheet is ok.
One other tip is to avoid language like potentially, just, maybe, might, and other words that are implicitly apologetic. You’re not a telemarketer and you have nothing to be ashamed of. You researched this store and really think your work would be a good fit, so stand tall in that.
For instance, instead of: Does that maybe sound like something you might be interested in?
You can ask: Does that sound like something you would be interested in?
What do you say when you need to call a store to introduce your work? Have you gotten any funny responses that made you think on your feet?