When I started my first cart, my product supplier had a software program they provided to help us keep track of sales, and commissions, and so forth.
Problem for me was that I didn't own a computer at the time. (This was several years ago.)
I had most of my funds committed to opening my cart... starting inventory, and mall rent, and credit
No extra money for a computer.
So rather than make a big issue of it... what I did
was make an arrangement with the manager of the
Kinko's across the street.
He let me load the software onto one of their computers.
And once or twice a week, after the mall closed, I'd head
over to the Kinko's to enter my sales numbers, and print
sheets with my staff's commissions.
I'm pretty sure Kinko's would never allow an arrangement
like this now-a-days.
But at the time it worked out fine.
(Except for the one week Kinko's replaced all their
computers! I had to stay up late one night re-entering
data so my sales people would get paid on time.)
At the end of the season, I went in Kinko's to print
end-of-the-season bonus reports for my salespeople.
The software allowed me to print sales reports by day,
week, month... and although I had printed these reports
throughout the season, the sheets had gotten wrinkled
and folded and misplaced.
So I made a clean set of printouts. It probably took two
hours of computer time and more than $50 bucks to pay
for the prints.
But I got 'em all printed. And stuck 'em in a three-ring binder.
Then... when I had to meet with a new leasing manager that spring, I lugged that binder with my sales figures
along and showed it to them.
It turned out, having that binder with me was really
helpful WHENEVER I had to meet with a new leasing
I found it helped in at least these three ways:
1) First, a new leasing manager doesn't know you from Adam. Some get several THOUSAND inquiry calls
a year. And they get lots of calls from 'big talkers'.
The reality is that it can be hard for them to tell who's serious, and who's blowing smoke up their butt.
But I could SHOW them real numbers. I just had to
open up my binder. The numbers were there in black
And everything I said afterwards was more credible.
2) Second, when leasing reps are dealing with someone
new to the cart business... they WANT to be helpful.
But sometimes it can be tough to toe the line between
looking out for YOUR interests, and the interests of the
(The interests are not ALWAYS the same. For example,
if you are negotiating rents.)
When I pulled out that binder, it sent a clear message
that I knew what I was doing... and could take care of
They could relax. They knew they didn't have to worry
about holding my hand. And we both could get down to
3) Lastly, and probably most important... having that
binder really helped my confidence.
When I pulled it out, I felt more professional. And I am
sure that I came off as more professional.
Confidence and a healthy belief in yourself is attractive
in ANY endeavour in life. If you're confident and believe
in yourself, people want to work with you.
And it helped the leasing reps want to work with me.
If you haven't done so already, set aside a couple hours
as soon as you can to generate some sort of permanent
record of your sales.
Even if all you have is numbers written down in a spiral
bound notebook, sit down at the computer. Enter the sales
numbers into an excel spreadsheet or a word document.
Then print the pages and collate them into a notebook.
(If you took pictures of your cart or kiosk like I suggested... http://www.kioskexpert.com/snap-photos-122006.htm ... add those pictures to your notebook too.)
When you meet with a new leasing rep, pull out your binder. Show it to them.
You might only have it out for a minute or two. However,
first impressions are often lasting ones.
Show a record of what you've done, you'll be ahead
of ninety percent of the people they talk with.
You'll appear more credible, more professional, and more
confident. That's the kind of person most ANYONE wants
to work with.
Oh... after that first season... I DID invest some of my
profits in my first laptop computer... no more Kinko's
computers for me!
P.S.If you are not currently a subscriber to the Specialty Retail Report magazine, you might want to consider becoming one.
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