How to unquestionably sell smarter, not harder

June 26, 2015

A little brain power helps you sell smarter, not harder

The old saying is “work smarter, not harder.” Many of our clients have shared the same story… the amount of work that is required to run a consignment or resale shop is astronomical and often, they’re running out of steam. Every small business is plagued with the day-to-day responsibilities of paying bills, managing employees and creatively selling. Our industry has the added workload of overcoming pre-conceived notions, building brand recognition and delicately dealing with the treasures of others. So, in my infinite wisdom, I’ve come up with a lovely acronym that will help you sell smarter, not harder.


I have a theory that you can’t streamline your sales until you clearly define who and what you are. By having a clear vision of your business model, you automatically make selling easier. So, I’ve put together PAUSE. If you can determine these 5 aspects of your business, you will save yourself a lot of time.



By clearly defining the main product you offer, you’ll save time. You won’t deal with consignors and merchandise you don’t want to sell. You won’t be tempted by the van load of potential items that just pulled up in front of your shop. If it doesn’t fit your product model, it’s much easier to turn away business. Plus, when you clearly state the merchandise you do and do not accept, there’s less possibility of conflict.


Knowing what sets your shop apart from your competition also makes selling easier. Look at all your competition, not just consignment and resale shops. You are competing for the same consumer dollars that large retailers are. So, knowing what advantages you have over them or could have over them is important. Are you open later? Do you offer concierge services? Free delivery? Free parking? There is always something that sets you apart. If not, add something.


Charles Revson, founder of Revlon, used to say he wasn’t selling makeup, he was selling hope. Realizing the uniqueness of your merchandise helps you to tailor the look of your shop, your marketing and what items you choose to offer. It’s known as your USP or Unique Selling Proposition. You aren’t just selling “used furniture.” You’re selling a chance to have “better quality at a more affordable price.” You aren’t selling “secondhand” clothes. You are selling “the brands you crave at a price you can afford.” Our industry is poised to become the number one choice of the Millennial generation because of their affinity for environmentally-friendly products, but we have to be the ones to convince them of our unique selling proposition.


Understanding your shopper is also necessary. Who do you want to sell your merchandise to? Who is it that wants to buy your merchandise? Those 2 questions must have the same answer. Knowing the demographic information (gender, age, geographic location, etc.) and psychographic information (attitudes, behaviors, pre-conceived notions) about your potential target market will help you tailor your marketing. Don’t waste dollars on advertising to the wrong consumers.


Your shop must fulfill an essential need in both your community and for your shoppers. Shopping is merely solving a “problem.” Everyone has a problem. The problem could be an empty wall in my living room, or having nothing to wear to an important event on Saturday. If your shop is located in a community with a large retirement population, the essential need is to provide an outlet for downsizing. If you have a young neighborhood surrounding your shop, by all means offer maternity and children’s wear. The bottom line is your shop and your merchandise must fulfill an essential unmet need or want. Determining those will help you focus on a target market and message.

Take time to PAUSE. By figuring out these 5 business essentials, you’ll sell smarter because your focus will be clearer.


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