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Transcript: (note- this is a new tool I am trying out so it is not perfect- it does seem to be getting better)
Robyn: [00:00] You and you know, I see a lot of people who are just focused on borrowing to success and you can end up getting yourself in big trouble if you’re not really looking at your cash forecasting correctly.
Cool voice guy: [00:11] Welcome to the ECOMMERCE momentum. Guys will focus on the people, the products, and the process of income selling today. Here’s your host, Steven Peterson.
Stephen: [00:24] He wanted to talk a few moments about some sponsors scope from seller labs. Um, when’s the last time you created a listing? Right? And when you create that listing, you’ve got to come up with the keywords, right? It’s all key word dependent. I don’t care if it’s a private label or wholesale. You’ve got to get it right. Well, what’s the best way to get it right? If you’re selling a similar product that’s really successful, you go and you take and use their keywords and that’s what scope does for you. So phenomenal tool brought to you again by seller labs. The leaders in technology when it comes to Amazon, right now, they are just crushing it with all their products, but scope allows you to get that listing right. Get ranked for those key words as fast as possible. Therefore you get the sales. So go to sellerlabs.com, forward slash scope.
Stephen: [01:13] Use the code word momentum. Save a little bit of money. Get some free key words to test, try it out and see if you see an improvement. If you don’t adjust, what’s cool about what I love about a seller labs is that you then message and say, Hey, I didn’t get this right tyler. Hey Jeff, this isn’t working right. What am I doing wrong? And Boom, you’re going to get the help you need and that’s what you’re going to get from seller Lamson. And it’s a very special group. Had been very. I’ve been very fortunate to be connected with them. And again, I look over time they’ve delivered every single time, you know, same thing I can say for Karen from solutions for ecommerce. I mean, she’s been carrying my account for a couple years now, um, and our account, my wife and I, and she really does handle things for us.
Stephen: [01:54] Um, I mentioned, uh, just last week we created a new listing with, I forget how many variations, but again, all the flat files uploaded done as I needed. I pop in, so she’ll send me a template, I pop in some information and then boom, it’s handled, await. These pictures weren’t done right, blah, blah, blah. This UPC, Nita poom modified adjusted. And again, the communication’s been phenomenal too. I get an email back saying, hey, this was done or this, you’re missing this, Steve. Hey, you gotta do this. So we have those challenges too. And that’s why I like working with somebody who’s been doing it. I’ve been doing it for a long time. Did you know Karen also does listings for Ebay? Yup. Lots of them. So if you want to build out that channel, which of course you should, it’s q four. You should be selling everywhere.
Stephen: [02:39] You can, um, Karen can help you with that too. So you gotTa tell her I’ve sent you. So you’re going to go to solutions four ecommerce forward slash momentum. You’re going to save 50 bucks every single month. You’ve got to save that $50. But more importantly, you’re going to get an inventory health report. Um, did you just get hit with monthly longterm storage fees? Well, guess what? If you haven’t, they’re coming. You want to that inventory, right? And she can help you with that. You gotta tell her I sent you again, solutions, the number for ecommerce forward slash momentum will get you into that. Save the 50 bucks. Get that inventory health report though. That’s really, really important. Get that going right away. And I don’t want to miss my coach when it comes to retail arb or online or when I have a question. And I do not that we don’t, we don’t really do much of it anymore.
Stephen: [03:21] But when I do have a question, I go to Gaye Lisby because why? Because she’s really, she is a coach. I mean, she’s really phenomenal, but she also puts out a daily list and you’re going to get that list five days a week. You’re going to get tons of leads. The number of, uh, agreed to amount that you’re supposed to get. She at loose usually gets to those in the four days. And then the fifth day seems to be a bonus most of the time. Phenomenal group, small amount of a buyers where this list is going to end. The best thing is the nuggets that you learn. Hey, why is the red one better than the blue? One? Gaye can help you with those questions I saw. Hey, I got, I got the dreaded letter about a brand. Here’s the, here’s the way you approach it.
Stephen: [03:59] Hey, receipts. Um, how do you, what’s the best practice? I saw her leaving instructions, teaching me the accountant how to do a better job with it. And it’s phenomenal. So it’s Gaye Lisby, um, made a million dollars selling. Um, I’ll have the link in here. You’ve got to use, um, the link and it does help me, I don’t want to say it that way, but it’s part of amazing freedom with Andy [inaudible], Lee, Ron Hirsch, corn, and nate’s lamins. So, you know, you can trust. Okay. So come out to the website, take a look at it, and you will get a savings. And you can get two weeks free right now, only through my link. You get two weeks free. Try it. You don’t like it? I get it back off. But right now is the time to make money. Get cashflow going right now. And so join you.
Stephen: [04:44] Get two weeks free. The only way you’re going to get the two weeks for if you use my link, it’s on this episode. Come on out and give it a try. You will not be disappointed again. You’re going to see me in there. So reach out if I can help you too. Let’s get into the podcast. Welcome back to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. This is episode 357. Robin Johnson. Okay. Get ready to learn. Get ready to take on wholesale in a way you have not looked at it before. Um, she’s been on my show a couple times and you know, I’m so strong. But what I appreciate about Robin is her development into that brand ambassador. You hear a lot of people talking about getting exclusive. You’ve heard a bunch of people and maybe you have one. And that’s cool that you have it, but Steve who’s had it before and lost it because he didn’t add value to the brand, just rested on my laurels, thought buying stuff from them was enough for me to keep exclusive.
Stephen: [05:36] It’s not because somebody is going to go in with a better pitch and they’re going to be like, hey, we can add some lifestyle photos for you. We can add some, uh, we can do some keywords things. I see you’re missing all these keywords. Let us add these to you. Um, let us put you on other channels. Let us bring into Europe. Let’s go into Canada. Well guess what, if you’re not going to do that, somebody will. And I think robin is a good example of somebody who has done that and who continues to do that and really take them to the next level. Great discussion. She’s going to pick your courses of which I’m a member of. Um, and these are affiliates of mine. So just telling you that stuff upfront. I probably address it a couple times because it’s uncomfortable for me, but understand that I’m very cautious who I partner up with and uh, I’m so proud and very fortunate to be able to partner up with robin because of the consistency. Again, I look at people over time that consistent growth, consistent effort. Phenomenal. Let’s get into the podcast.
Stephen: [06:30] All right. Welcome back to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. We’re excited about today’s guest or a three Peter and the recent. I’m having her back because it’s cute for it is really, I think most people would say q four is kind of over right? You should’ve had your stuff in now its execution, but q five, which is January starts very, very soon and you still have an opportunity so I wanted to make sure we take advantage of it. Robin Johnson’s back to help us through. Welcome back, Robin.
Robyn: [06:57] Hi. Thanks for having me back. You know, it’s funny is that we went to do like a cue for a celebration dinner and at melting pot and the surface, like what are we celebrated? And we’re like, we’re celebrating a great q four. She’s like, well, I hope you have a great q five. Two. She knew. She knew. Yeah, but it’s true though,
Stephen: [07:14] right? I mean the, the opportunity doesn’t end December 29th or 30th, I guess 30th is the last day. You can get stuff in for December. It really starts again, January first when all those gift cards and all those people return and all that jazz. Right?
Robyn: [07:29] Yeah, and you know, so even if you were selling Christmas trees, if you were selling Christmas trees then you would know your high season would be over. Right. But it’s how you utilize the capital that you have going forward and then for most product mix is you’re going to have a really strong January and there’s a lot of other things that you can do to develop your product mix to have multiple high seasons. I think one of the mistakes that people can make and wholesale is to only try to find things that will be hot during certain seasons without kind of staggering those things out. So you want to have a layer of evergreen products that are going to sell all the time and then you want to have some products that are seasonal, so you want to have a summer product mix, a fall product mix that you are moving in and out of that is going to help make sure that you’re able to keep multiple sales bumps instead of just relying on that one. Q four bumped to carry you through the whole year and then you know, relying and not having something else that’s going to keep your sales moving inq three and q two.
Stephen: [08:32] That evergreen product mix that you’re talking about, that’s foundational, right? I mean that’s what keeps you going in the slow times right when calf, because let’s face it, this is a very difficult cash flow business, right? It’s, you’re spending a lot of money buying a lot of inventory and not getting paid for a period of time. So when you have those evergreen things, you have that foundation. I always tell people we do a budget and people think crazy when I say it, but we literally have a budget for 2019, but we know that we’re going to have rent for our warehouse. We know we’re going to have electric bill, right? We know we’re going to have a gas bill. Even in summer. I get a gas bill, it’s 20 bucks just to bill. Right? By putting all that down and if I can cover that with a foundation, is those evergreen products you’re describing? Then I get to really reward ourselves when it is that seasonal time. Is that fair?
Robyn: [09:19] Yeah, that is definitely fair. Um, and you know, I think that not if, if you know, those, the evergreen products and having things that you can restock over and over again, that is really what is foundational in order to scale without having to be on the hunt all the time. You’re, you’re still, no matter what product, whether you’re doing wholesale or private label or Ra, you’re always going to have to be looking for the new products. You know, keep your eyes up and looking at the horizon and seeing what can you do next, but you know, having those replenishable products makes it so you can stop chasing to survive your business and start actually managing your business and starting to build it into something that is more than you just hustling and it’s something about, you know, you having a business that is sustainable and where you can focus on longterm strategy,
Stephen: [10:09] you know, less time. I had you on, we spent some time talking about setting goals and one of the notes that I made in there was be careful of the goal you set because you might hit it and it might not be what you want to do. You really want to be certain. You really want to figure out where you want to go. What are you seeing in the wholesale world? Um, with people that have set goals and maybe they hit him and they don’t like where they’re at or people that have not hit or not set goals. What are they stumbling and just kind of, you know, can’t find their way. Is that what you see?
Robyn: [10:41] Well, the biggest problem when I, when I see somebody who’s hit a goal and they’re still not happy, um, most times it’s that they’ve said a gross sales goal. So like I want to get to a million in sales, I want to get to 500,000 in sales and for some people it’s 20,000, some people it’s 20 million, but they focus on the gross sales and like don’t focus on the bottom line. And what happens is when you, you will win whatever game you were playing at, right? So if you set up this goal for, you know, to get to a million dollars in sales, a lot of times people will just focus on, you know, how do I get to that? And they’re not thinking about the bottom line. So what they do is they start to lower their Roi. They buy deeper. Maybe they buy things that maybe wouldn’t have hit their criteria before because the margins were a little tighter or maybe there’s a little bit more prep and they find themselves having hit their goal, but completely dissatisfied because they have no time. They have none of the freedom that they thought all of the things that they thought would be the reward for getting that million dollars in sales haven’t come to fruition and they’re left with feeling like, is that all that there is?
Stephen: [11:46] And when you know, that’s when you’re really vulnerable and your opportunity to make mistakes, I think it’s greater because emotions start to play into it, right? I mean, that’s, that’s difficult.
Robyn: [11:58] Yeah. And you have a lot more capital. Sometimes they’ll have more debt on the line. So, you know, you have to think about your business. It’s kind of like a little rollercoaster when you’re small. It’s a gadget. Go Coaster Disneyland. It’s a little kids, right? You know, it’s, it’s fun and exciting. It’s a little dips and little hills when you get to a $5,000,000 business, then that’s like expedition Everest Roller Coaster, right? So, you know, it’s big dips in big valleys and big thrills and also moments of sheer terror, you know, and, but the more you have managed your cashflow and your margins, the more you can enjoy the ride knowing that it’s a safe ride. Um, that you know, that you’re, you’re feeling that, that, that adrenaline, but you’re ultimately safe in the seat here, you know, and so when you’re looking at managing your business, it’s about managing those margins and those bottom lines.
Robyn: [12:49] So, you know, I really think that your goal should be set around what lifestyle do you really want, what, what, how much and how much do you need in order to have that lifestyle? So I know I want this certain lifestyle, it’s going to cost me $15,000 a month in order for me to be able to pull $15,000 a month out of my business. Then I would need to, I would need to gross this amount because you know, I have to have all of my, all of my products, sales, my Amazon fees, and all of my subscriptions and warehouse and employees, all of that money has to come out and they still have me available that $15,000 with still having money available to reinvest in new products.
Stephen: [13:31] I think one of the challenges with that, even that statement is what level of cash flow does it take to operate at a business outside so that 15,000, you know, think of how much inventory you have and think of the sell through rates, right? And, and, and what cash flow. I think that’s where a lot of people fail to budget is how much cash are they going to get. So, you know, what’s cool about having robin on now, this is the time you should be getting the most cash into your business, right? Because you have the most inventory. Ideally the most number of buyers are going to be in the marketplace looking for items right now. So you’re going to come off of this q four hopefully with a load of cash. What do you do with it? How do you plan that out for the year? What’s the suggestion that you, uh, get people started for like, you know, they, they’ve, they’ve had some success, right? And especially this key for they’ve had some success. They’re sitting on a boatload of cash now. They got to think about really building a business next year. What? Where do you start directing people?
Robyn: [14:26] So the first thing you need to think about is what kind of where, what, what do you want to build in this next year? So there are lots of different ways to do wholesale, to do private label, to do anything, but when you have to think about where, what are you going to be building and how much cash you’re going to need in order to do that. So if you’re doing a low margin, high volume wholesale business, then you weren’t going need to make sure that you’ve cut every expense that you have loosened it, except for the things that are giving you good Roi. If something, a tool is helping you make more money that it’s costing you, then you keep that, but you’re going to, you know, cut any, any, any necessary fat. You’re not going to go crazy and get, you know, buy yourself a boat, but you’re going to say, I need to make sure that I have enough capital available to start this cycle of buying more wholesale.
Robyn: [15:15] The lower your margins are the more capital that you need. And so some people will say, well, I can make it up in volume. Yes, you can make it up in volume, but you have to consider it that you could need three to 10 times as much capital as a counterpart seller that is selling at higher margins. So you might look at somebody at a conference and say, Oh, well, you know, they’re, they’re doing a quarter of what I do in gross sales. If their margins are higher, they could be making the same amount, sometimes even more. Um, if they’re really monitoring kind of how they’re moving the cash their business and they’re watching their margins. So the first thing is to know, you know, how much capital is it going to take for you to really hit your goals and to start to look at how, you know, what kind of it will the margins and the cap capital one who have access to, is that a match? Um, because if it’s not, then we need to reassess our strategy. I don’t know if that makes sense.
Stephen: [16:10] It’s a lot of sense because some people would say, well, I just pour money. Well guess what? If the margins don’t support you borrowing money, right? You know you’re operating at a. let’s say you did cut down into the 12 percent margin, right? Let’s just say after all things are done, okay, well what about returns, right? It depends on the category and it could be significant that’s going to cut into that margin and now all of a sudden you’re financing that debt business. Debt is not cheap. You know, people were using personal credit cards, you know, they get the zero percent business, you don’t get that right. Business loans, right? Business funding, you know, is very expensive if you, if you treat it as a business and you will run out of money personally to at the business level, you just can’t support doing these larger volumes. Is that right?
Robyn: [16:52] Yeah. You and you know, I see a lot of people who are just focused on borrowing to success and you can end up getting yourself in big trouble if you’re not really looking at your cash forecasting correctly. So if you’re not accounting for the cost of the money and like you said, the cost of the returns, then you can think that you’re making money and not really making money. Other ways that you could, you know, when you look at the deal and even if things sell through that you could be losing money as you know, maybe you’re not calculating the dimensional weight of a product so you’re not really including the inbound wait baby. Your, you know, not considering, you know, the lead time. So especially when people are doing like bundles wholesale or retail arbitrage. One of the things that, you know, we have a couple of clients that have struggled with this q four is you know, they have manufacturer a manufacturer b manufacturer a sends on their stuff. Manufacturer B is on backorder. So now they have all of this inventory that is being held for manufacturer a that’s not selling, tying up their cashflow. The only way to avoid that in the future we’ll be having more lead time, which again is more cashflow, right? So you have to really be thinking about, you know, sell through and product availability and plan a and plan B and started to really strategically set that up.
Stephen: [18:08] You know, people are probably right about now saying, oh my God, they’re overwhelmed. They’re sitting back and saying, this is a lot. There are a lot of moving pieces to what you just described. And that’s fair. That’s the barrier to entry though, isn’t it? I mean it’s not just money that’s a barrier to entry. Knowing all those things and quite frankly, becoming an expert at all of those things takes time and effort and most people are not willing to put in the time. Robin, that I see. I mean, is that what you experienced?
Robyn: [18:37] Yeah, I think the main thing that keeps people from wholesale is being willing to put the time in and being willing to have that consistent action. Unlike some of the other ways to source wholesale really requires you to spend, you know, a good two to three months really focusing on spinning everything up, getting the calls and the leads in. But you know, while there’s a lot of pieces to it, there’s a lot of things that you can build into your processes to make it a lot simpler. In fact, one of the easiest things you can do in order to increase profitability for most businesses is to make sure that just you, you’re the first part of your money. The best part of your money goes to restock your profitable consisting selling items. That’s where I see the, some of the biggest leakage and businesses when I look at their notes,
Stephen: [19:24] not restocking. Stay right there because I think you’re saying the most important thing, um, that, that you already have identified the things in your business that are selling, right? Yes. Go more on them, right? Get, get to capacity there. Is that Kinda the, the best advice?
Robyn: [19:40] Yeah. You know, so you really want to get to the point where you can be a jaded buyer where you have your cream of the crop items and the way that we restock is we look at what has sold in the last two weeks and we’re going to restock that. And then in Cuba like wind, we’re anticipating a seasonal bump, right? So if we’re heading into summer, we’re heading into q four, then we’re going to increase that. So the, our best money, our first, the first priority on our money goes to restock the items that are profitable and have already sold through and we’re not. And we’re going to give priority to our seasoned items. And then the money that’s left over that goes to item to testing new products and to maybe, you know, if we were doing ra and things along those lines, but you want to make sure that you, the things that have been profitable in a sold through at the price that you expected, that you’re restocking those. And that’s really the benefit of wholesale is making sure that you, you can, you can do that and you can do it on a biweekly basis. Um, and then, you know, looking at expanding those, you know, so I think a lot of people just kind of limit themselves in, well, you know, this, this item comes in red, blue and green. Well, if red, blue, and green had been consistent sellers then have you thought about asking that wholesaler to make it for you in purple?
Stephen: [21:01] I think back to the Chevron pattern. That’s a good example, right? With a Chevron pattern became everything and yet it wasn’t really hot for a long time. And so if you were selling a bunch of products and then you just added the Chevron pattern to your existing product line, you would have rode that wave incredibly. But without reinventing the wheel. Right? I mean it was already a product that existed. So it’s kind of that change in that color. And I was thinking about what you were talking about. We used to do a thing in accounting. My old accounting days, the economic value added, right? So we would measure everything against. We could go float paper in the market and we knew what return we would get and so we would literally look at every purchase and say, well we can float paper and make more money than that.
Stephen: [21:39] No, don’t worry about it. Don’t buy it. And so you’re basically saying the same thing as, hey, before you’re expanding your, your, uh, I’m going to find new products and doing everything else. Just make sure that you compare it against what your existing doing because that’s the best place you can get the best return. It’s proven. It’s already proven. I take solid, solid advice. How, um, how much time do your clients your do you recommend them sourcing? Can Be because there’s so many different, you know, trade shows online. I’m just sourcing an Amazon, you know, are spending the time on any other a manufacturing site. How much time do you recommend that they do on their business?
Robyn: [22:16] Well, in the beginning, if you’re boot moving into a new method or you’re spinning up your business, then I think that spending 10 to 15 hours a week sourcing is good. Now that’s going to sound from people who are doing ra, that’s not gonna sound enough because when I was doing ra full time then you know, I was spending, you know, 32 hours a week sometimes sourcing with wholesale. If you have a good 15 really focused hours where you’re not goofing around, you’re not on facebook, but you’re really, you’re making calls, you’re looking at leads like you have to talk to a person. Yeah, yeah. Well actually you don’t. You could hire your people to do that for you. Um, we have several clients that have used our processes and have hired somebody else to make the phone calls for them. Okay. Alright. Alright. Mindsphere somebody away
Stephen: [23:06] that might have turned some people off. But, but, but realistically having those other people that can count towards those, those 10 to 15 hours.
Robyn: [23:14] Yes. You know, so you know, if you’re doing that consistently then you know, you, it would be, you’d be hard pressed to not be getting good wholesale leads unless there’s something wrong and you’re just qualification process. So I think that’s one of the, when people join our wholesale course, that’s the biggest thing that we tell them not to skip is there’s one section in there about disqualifying leads and you know, if you just call a start to call wholesale leads, then if you don’t have a way to disqualify those ones where there’s not to be enough margin, um, at least a good chunk of them, then you can find yourself banging your head against a wall and getting really frustrated.
Stephen: [23:52] How about this? I have some wholesale accounts is one of the best places for me to source from my existing company or you’re going to say dusty, of course. But I mean realistically, how many people pass on going back to the existing wholesale accounts to mine other products.
Robyn: [24:09] I see that all the time, you know, in using your existing relationships and then using their relationships and say, yeah, yeah, that’s key. I know that you’re, you know, you’re attending this other show, you know, there are other products that are in your category that you think would be a good fit for us. Or is there anybody you could refer us to add that maybe is looking for a good Amazon seller? Um, you know, and then looking at maybe doing something together with them, you know, that would be a custom product or something that’s a little different.
Stephen: [24:40] Yeah. I think white label, which was what I call that custom product thing is, is missed by a lot of people too. It’s exciting to do private label. I get it, but imagine you’re buying from a vendor that you already know. They’re trustworthy. They’re honest. They ship when they say they’re going to and they manufactured that product exclusive for you. There’s a, a, a, a, b product that does white label for us and it’s just such a great. That’s what they do. That’s. They even sell it as white label. They even say, Hey, what white label products for you? And you can get started that way and you learn a heck of a lot because there’s a lot of other things to know, but it’s so cool. Once you get to the other side, you’re like, okay, alright, I get this, now I can do this. And then it’s really up to the marketing side. How important is marketing in wholesale? Because I think a lot of people think that, you know, obviously I’m private label that’s, you know, such a huge part portion of it. But on wholesale isn’t it just I add to the listing to the category of the catalog and then I’m done.
Robyn: [25:33] Well you can do it that way and there’s a lot of people who do do it that way. I think what has, you know, if you, if you want to be a, if you want to make sure that you’re at the top of the game and not just kind of surviving at the middle or bottom third, then in wholesale now you really need to learn how to turn trash to treasure. And what I mean by that is you want to start out with straight wholesale deals. Like I can buy it, I can list it. It’s already there. I can sell it right away. After you have that experience that I really recommend that you start to develop the skills to be able to look at a product and say, this isn’t selling because the picture is bad, this is not selling because it’s been out of stock or the keywords, it’s not indexed for primary keywords so I can start to do that and that gives me an advantage so I can pick products that other people aren’t interested in. If we all focus on items that are in the top two percent of their category that have so many units sold per month. Now what happens is those companies that are in that small piece of the pie get braided by one Amazon seller after another. So even if you get that account, you’re one bad day from them going to switch for somebody else because they’re gonna constant offers.
Stephen: [26:43] Is somebody going to give them a bigger cyril? I always say that somebody adds a bigger zero on my check there. That business has gone. That relationship is nothing.
Robyn: [26:53] Whereas if you can find a company that you know, they’re like, I don’t know what’s wrong. We sell like crazy in brick and mortar, but for some reason I know people are looking for our product, but we can’t, we can’t make Amazon work for us. And you can look at that listing and say, well, I can see why and I can fix that. They’re more likely to give you terms. They’re more likely to give you some sort of discount or free freight. We have even been able to been able to use those to get to sell on consignment where we don’t sell. We don’t pay for the items until they sell, which reduces the amount of capital outlay that we have significantly. Um, and you know, by doing a combination of listings and spa sponsored ads or headline search, and we can have, we have the brands a lot of times are the ones that are going to be paying for that advertising or we ask for a discount in exchange for the ads.
Robyn: [27:41] And as long as the margins are there, then that really works. Um, if you’re able to do that, you’re going to be able to talk to brands that are dying for help on Amazon instead of companies that will treat you like the gum on the bottom of their shoe. Um, there are a lot of companies that are looking for help with people from, from people on Amazon. And then there’s also a lot of, um, companies that, you know, things have just gotten out of control on Amazon and they’d be happy to partner with you on a white label product in exchange for helping them clean up some of the issues that they have going on. You know, we have some videos that we’ve done on like how did you map tracking how to, you know, having to track down map violators and how to, you know, how to look at certain keyword listings and things along those lines so that sellers have more, more than just, you know, calling through a lead list and trying to find a product that maybe you’ll have for three months. We want to see you have products that you’re going to be able to grow with that company and to be able to help them control their presence on Amazon so that that product can sell profitably for a longer period of time.
Stephen: [28:51] Would they want dominance? I mean, think about it, right? They want dominance in all marketplaces, you know, in their neighborhood, in every town. You know, our local kmarts finally closing, right? And they wanted dominance while they were here. So their marketing efforts weren’t just to one channel. They tried to do everything and it didn’t work, but they need to be there. I like it this way. It’s like having somebody come and do some work at your house, just getting a contractor to show up. First off, it’s a win, right? I mean, so they don’t have to be the cheap. If they actually show up and they do what they say they’re going to do, you’re willing to pay a premium for that. And so you’re not always looking for the cheapest. You want somebody who’s actually going to do it. So you as an Amazon seller, if you go to that wholesaler and you say, Hey, let me, let me fix the photos, let me fix a keyword, something, I’m going to run some ads and that kind of thing. And then you actually do it. Boy, your reputation just got stronger with them and when, when it comes time for additional products or different things, you’re in such a good position again, just show up and do what you say you’re gonna do, you’re, you’re way ahead of all the other pitches that they’re going to get because they’re going to get 100 pitches
Robyn: [29:58] and you know, and you sound different. You have when you and I approached vendors, um, you know, and I, and they say we don’t take Amazon sellers and I had to, I don’t go back. Well, you’re dumb or you know, I think, yeah, no that doesn’t work in my experience. That does not get the response that you were hoping for. I still hear people do it on the floor, but um, you know, instead I say I get what you’re, where you’re coming from, you’re doing the right thing. You have to control this on Amazon and you know, if you needed, if you just need somebody to come in as a consultant and take a look at your products and give you some recommendations, we’re happy to do that. We do an initial concept completely free and if you want us to create an action plan, we do it for just a couple of hundred dollars. Um, but you know, looking at your products before I got here, one of the things that I saw was x, Y, and z. Now I’m not just somebody coming into cashflow off their business. I’m coming in as somebody, as a potential partner in their business. Somebody that can help them get something that they weren’t, they didn’t think that was available because most often they’re saying not just no, but heck no. Not to you, but because they have or a friend has had a really bad experience with an Amazon seller.
Stephen: [31:11] Let me ask you something. This is going to sound cheesy and people are going to be like, oh wait, he’s just pitching her stuff and I am going to pitch it. Robin stuff. Um, I’m very fortunate that Robin, I partner on some things business wise here, but this is the truth. I want you to answer this truthfully. How long does it take for somebody who wants to be a wholesale seller? They’re making the transition from, uh, uh, hopefully a successful or a seller this, this q four because of cashflow from Ra is so cool. It’s so, you know, this the fastest way to get your money back. How long does it take for somebody to build one of these real wholesale businesses that you know, sustaining pit and I guess it’s all relative, you know, not the, not the $200,000 income level to start, but a real sustaining business, a real wholesale model where they’re comfortable enough to be able to go in and have these kinds of conversations. How long does that take?
Robyn: [31:58] And I guess it depends on the person. And I know, you know, let’s take the outliers out. So taking the outliers out, I would say on average three to six months, and I would give you a couple of words of caution. One, do not go cold Turkey from Ra to wholesale because even if you had all your wholesale account signed up and you got them all and you place all the orders, you know this next Wednesday wholesale because you’re having to buy a little bit longer. Usually you’re buying instead of buying one to two weeks worth of stock and you’re maybe buying closer to, you know, four to six weeks worth of stock, sometimes set a time. Then it’s going to change the way the cash moves through your business. So even if you’re really wildly successful, it can cause cashflow crunch. So you kind of want to do this.
Robyn: [32:41] Like, you know when you’re shifting gears in a car, you kind of ease off the gas and step onto the clutch. You’re going to do the same thing. You’re going to start to slowly, you’re going to allot a certain number of base hours. So, I mean, you know, I’m just going to start with two hour or as a day working on wholesale and you know, as I get more and more accounts, I’m going to a lot more and more time to the wholesale sourcing and less and less time to Ra and ultimately where you can get to the point where you are sourcing, you know, less than, you know, I would say within six months it’s reasonable for you to be spending less than 10 hours a week. So we’re seeing if you are very diligent and you’re systematic in the way that you’re doing this, um, that doesn’t mean just calling a bunch of distributors and going through a bunch of catalogs, but really working with manufacturers so that you can have the longterm sustainable relationships that you need in order to keep this moving and not have to get stuck all the time on ip claims and in authentics and all of the other drama that can go along when you’re not working directly with the manufacturer.
Stephen: [33:40] Those times sucks our incredible, especially as you scale. So realistically, I just want to make sure people listen to us about a year. I know she said three to six months, but we’re talking a full year, but in a year you could have a complete, a completely different business model, meaning that you’re not running from place to place, not that you shouldn’t because it’s fun and I get it and I don’t want you to give that up if you love that because there’s some people love that, but you won’t have to rely on that. You could have a real sustainable longterm business, but it takes time and so it’s not going to happen quickly. But imagine a year from now with. I mean I mentioned this Robin, you’re sitting there with a boatload of cash because you had a great successful q four. You’ve got a whole bunch of money, you’ve got some products that you know you can keep selling Ra, right? You have some cash flow for a period of time, but you put your head down and do the work. And, and how much time does it take for somebody to invest to really transition to a real wholesale business lock, stock, and barrel
Stephen: [34:38] a week. What’d you say?
Robyn: [34:41] How much time do they need to spend? A week?
Stephen: [34:43] Yeah, in the beginning. I mean to get it to. They’re not doing anything wholesale now, so this is a complete. They get start the course. They got to go through the course. They got to start putting the practices into place. They got to put their head down in the meantime. They still have to do this other stuff but, but realistic, amused at 20, 30, 40 hours a week. Like really putting their head down to build a real business.
Robyn: [35:03] If you were really, really working in those, if you can do two hours a day then and. And so if, if you are just going either options, you don’t have to make phone calls to in order to get these deals, you don’t have to go to trade shows, but the more personable you can get in that communication, the fewer contacts you have to make in order to secure a deal. So if you’re doing email, then I would say you probably America and I need to work on them for three hours a week, um, but if you are doing, you know, phone or trade show, then I would say that two hours a day would be plenty of time as long as you’re really focused during those two hours. And one of the biggest things that I see people do is you want to qualify your leads on Mondays and Wednesdays or some other two days and then you’re contacting those leaves other days. What I find is that people don’t want to make the calls and so they start to procrastinate and they get really into that product research, um, because they don’t want to make the call. So you want to make sure you have time that set out either for calls or to email a lot more people. So you can do either way. We have very highly introverted people that have been very successful in wholesale either by increasing the number of contacts or by hiring somebody else to do those calls for them.
Stephen: [36:16] You gained confidence over time too. And that’s why I wanted to reassure people is that, you know, we’ve all been told no have you know, hundreds of times, but when you get told yes, it’s like, okay wait, okay. So then all of a sudden there’s a little bit of confidence because it works. And then when another one says yes, as you keep adjusting your pitch and you realize it’s maybe your pitch or whatever. The other thing I was thinking about too is the prep time, one of the best parts of wholesale. When that case pack and you literally open it up, let’s say you have to label it, let’s just say you have to. It still, you don’t peel anything off. You literally put a sticker on that item and either you put it back in the pack of it’s a case packer on the pallet or whatever. But even if you’re sending into to this warehouse and to to this whatever, it’s so easy, oh my God. Even storing it, because it comes in a box already, it’s like this is easy compared to peel and those stickers and those plastic back. How many of those darn plastic packs to just kept coming and coming and coming to an Ra
Robyn: [37:14] and having to sort everything and then having to remember that these are the green batteries with the green hair and these are the barbies with the blue hair and you know, it, it’s it. There’s everything’s already separated for you. So in you know, what’s coming ahead of time. So when we’re preparing for a shipment in wholesale and we have an old place, an order, we actually create all of those fn skew labels before the item arrives. So sometimes we can get an, a, you know, even a large shipment of maybe five or $10,000 that can get turned around in as little as a couple of hours. And you know, especially if there’s some companies that all we do is we literally turn the box upside down, we slice open the bottom of the box carefully. We put the stickers on the bottom of the products because the UPC codes are just in there just right.
Robyn: [37:56] Um, and then we just seal the box back up and, you know, put the label on there. We already know what these boxes are going away because we’ve ordered them before so everything can be done ahead of time now those come that comes from when you have those evergreen products and will not happen overnight. But it is something that’s really, really great and you know, and you know, like you said before, it’s that freedom to be able to say, well I don’t, I can go into target and I can just buy what I want and I don’t need to look at everything in the parents. I don’t need to plan on spending so much time in a store that I know all of the store announcements and I’ve heard all of the songs on the music thing, you know, 400 times.
Stephen: [38:36] It’s, you do get to cherry pick it. So funny. You’re exactly right. I can walk into this store. I know exactly how it’s laid out because you’ve been there so many times and, but being able to cherry pick one of the other cool things about wholesale to depending on the client, you know, um, we had a product that would send to us, they charged with Fedex and I’m like, Whoa, we had to pay for it and then it would come to us and it was heavy and then we put our stickers on and then put it through ups to send it into Amazon. And it’s like, Hey, wait a second. So a sauna. So is this is a good argument why you go to tradeshows, saw them at a trade show, made an appointment to see him. We’re a customer, they want to see us.
Stephen: [39:10] We go and we have a conversation. Say, Hey, here’s this, here’s a sample label that I have to put on this. Can I pay you to put these labels on? And they looked at me like, oh, we’ve never done that before. And I said, wait, I’ll even send you the labels. You don’t even have to buy him. And so literally I bought a pack of 30 up labels, send them to him, mailed it to him, and so then I just send them the pdf file and they try it. It was ten cents, that’s what they charged us ten cents to put each one on. And I’m like, this is sweet. So they’re printing it, they put the label on and then they send it. I send them the shipping labels from Amazon with the ups fee. So I saved an enormous amount of money in those fedex charges and even better the delay in time. And so that was just a simple little cure for one thing. But it’s a relationship issue, I don’t think. If I were to ask them right up front, would they do it? They would have said, oh, I don’t know you, but boy, getting to that level. And I’m sure you have better examples of that.
Robyn: [40:03] Well, I mean, yeah, we’ve had companies that have done, we’ve had companies that have done that for us for free where they’re like, oh, we’re just still, you’re so great. You know, but you know. And the other thing is, even if you can’t get that because your shipments are going to be more consistent after you get moving, you’re able to utilize things like freight shipping, um, which can be a huge saving of over ups and Fedex. Um, and you know, especially if you have you, because you’re going to have more consistent lead times so it can allow you to save a lot of money where you can, you can increase your margins there. Um, and it’s going to allow you to be able to take, take on certain products that maybe you might not have been able to take on if you were just shipping with the Fedex and ups partner and shipping.
Stephen: [40:48] What’s so exciting is that if somebody takes the time, puts in the work, I’ve seen so many people have so much success by transforming their business and it doesn’t mean that they failed. It just means that they realize that, hey, this is a long play here. I’m looking to build a longterm business. I’m tired of fighting with gating. I saw the recent apple a issue, right? That Amazon partnered with apple. It, it kicked out basically all third party sellers in some way in it, so that wasn’t us, but there are other people that that probably were buying wholesale products and legit things and they’re outside of their control and it’s gone. Right? So anything ra, even even, even if you were doing wholesale, that whole brand is gone now. So if you were looking to build your business, you really want to have those relationships for you. And I mean, it’s awful because I’ve been on the other side where I’ve been ticked off of brands because, you know, robin made a deal with the wholesaler and everybody else gets kicked off and it’s like, oh, I didn’t make the cut. But you know what, it’s pretty cool when you’re the one that did make the cut and um, that’s very rewarding. Would you agree?
Robyn: [41:51] It is. And you know, sometimes when we’re working with sellers, we’re still having to, you know, we’re having to kind of figure out how to solve some of these issues because we don’t really deal with a lot of Ip claims. We don’t deal with a lot of gating issues because we’re working so closely with the manufacturer and that’s something that a lot of our clients haven’t been as affected by as well, but you know, the ones that have been utilizing this method, um, because when you’re working with the manufacturer and the manufacturer looks at you as their Amazon person before they think about selling to Amazon directly or before they, you know, look at filing these Ip complaints. They would be talking to you first. And so we’ve had had companies that said, you know, Amazon said we could do this, this, and this, and we were able to say, well, you know, if you wanted to do that on these products and you’re more than welcome to you, but here’s some of the negatives that you might not have thought about. Um, and so we were able to kind of walk them through those pieces and to say, I know that you’re concerned about this, but there’s a better way to handle this and to be able to provide value to the brands through that. But also to make sure that we secure our spot. And the other people who bought those products in good faith,
Stephen: [43:03] you know, this is why Robin Johnson is our coach. This is why when you, I mean, you can hear the confidence in her voice because she seen it, you know, there’s a reason that you can speak so fluently about these things. You’ve seen it numerous times, time and time again, and it’s just so cool. So now I’m going to make a pitch just so you know that this is an affiliate link for me. I don’t hide those things in any way, um, doesn’t cost you anymore if you buy one of Robin’s things, uh, through my link and you can choose to buy around me. I’m okay with that, but I’m just going to still make it available to you. There are three opportunities to work with robin if you’re interested. The three upcoming opportunities, um, and I wanna I wanna talk each one because I think there are different places to get in would I always think about it.
Stephen: [43:46] And I always tell people that if you find somebody you connect with you and it did what they say resonates with you, then you should go all in with them and do it. But you’re giving three opportunities to dip your toe in one very advanced, very expensive, but very advanced, all inclusive. I mean, it’s, it’s just going to give you everything. Another one where it’s hands on, you’re, you’re walking through the trenches and actually having discussions about it and it’s like a workshop type of deal or there’s that ongoing, um, with a course and all these additional things because if you heard nothing, there were a lot of moving pieces to a wholesale business. There are a lot of moving pieces. And what’s cool is a lot of what applies in this wholesale business model also applies to private label. So there are lot of crossovers. So can we walk through each one? Um, and you can pick the order for each one. But because I think they are really not for different types of people, but for different entry points. Is that the right way to say it?
Robyn: [44:40] Yeah. We want to make sure that you have different entry points for where you are in your business, where you are. That’s good because you know, if you are just getting started then you don’t want to invest in a ton of money. I see people all the time that are like, Oh, I spent $20,000 on this coaching program. Well, if you ever made any sales yet that’s $20,000, it really could’ve been going to, you know, your inventory. So we want to make sure that anytime that you invest with us, you’re at the right place for that, um, you know, and that, you know, you’re gonna be able to get a good return on your investment.
Stephen: [45:13] Alright, well let’s walk through. I think the, the is so somebody, I guess is the academy would be the one that I would start with. To me, I think that’s the one where it’s that ongoing basis where somebody’s saying, hey, in January I want to kick in my plan or you know, in December, whatever my key four is done, I’m ready to start building a plan. So I want to get started. But I need foundational stuff. I need to know where to start is when you say the academy is the best place to start there?
Robyn: [45:39] Yes. Because there’s things in here that are gonna help you with your current sourcing methods either. So interesting. Yeah. So the academy is very inexpensive. It’s $49 a month or for $99 a year. And with that you get access to a lot of programs, including when we have an entire course on how to manage the admin part. Um, we have templates there in macros that you can use to find orphan listings to do your reimbursements, to identify things that you should be reimbursed for. We have an, an intellectual property mini course where we talked about how to respond to Ip complaints. Um, and then we have, we have of course our wholesale course and we have courses on profit first and how to manage your cash flow, how to hire, um, and we have a, what we call the Amazon manual, which has all the little things like, you know, how do you fix stranded inventory, how do you, um, how do you, how do you look at this report and all of those pieces.
Robyn: [46:39] Um, and then the wholesale course really walks you through everything you need to get started and then walks you through the different steps and we recommend that you execute on the steps as you’re watching so that you’re able to start to get progress right away. We want you to start, you know, landing those first wholesale clients as quickly as possible. And then when we tell people, we recommend that they focus on getting their first 100 contacts as, as quickly as possible. And then we want to get you to the point where you’re adding to wholesale accounts per week until you have enough that it exceeds the amount of sourcing capital that you have.
Stephen: [47:16] This what’s so cool about this too is the academy, all this stuff is included, so it’s a monthly fake. Yes. What’d you say? Forty nine bucks, but all that stuff’s. If you could buy the course separately, she’ll sell you the core separately. It’d be more than that. However you joined a Kennedy, you get all that stuff and what’s cool to me too is as you update, as you learn something new and you know you’re smart enough to know that you don’t know everything. As you learn something new or something changes, you’re continually update it. This is a working breathing academy, right? This is not just a static thing that you created three years ago, correct?
Robyn: [47:49] Yeah. We update, we update modules every month and then about once a year, at least for each course, we try to go through and make sure that things are up to date and then if somebody messages us and says, you know, I was watching this video on this page and you know, I noticed that this is an old policy because there’s over 300 videos in the academy. We will go back and we will make that. We’ve also had people say like, I’m struggling with this thing and we’ve gone in and made additional videos so you know, we had somebody who asked us a question, they were still confused on what should be on their business card versus, you know, or do they need a website and we’ll go back and add additional videos as needed because we want to make sure that you have what you need.
Stephen: [48:32] So cool. Again, you can pay monthly or you can pay. You could save a whole bunch of money and pay at one time of year. I think this, this next one, this accelerator course is kind of our workshop I guess is the right way to say it. It compliments it very well, so it’s not like they’re exclusive. Even the people in the academy can learn hands on. Right? Is that, is that the idea?
Robyn: [48:53] Yes. So any in the academy you can work hands on. The accelerator is people who kind of want the course plus a little bit of individual attention. So you would get just the wholesale chorus by itself. You get the wholesale course and then there’s a one day workshop that we have that is the day before esd starts, so it’ll be the Saturday before esd in Las Vegas and what we do is we go through exactly how, you know, how do you determine which companies to contact, what are you going to say when you contact them, how to overcome objections and how to make yourself more attractive to those vendors.
Stephen: [49:28] And then you, I mean, what happens then is that person ideally would stay in Vegas and go to asd and then go try to find their own wholesale accounts. Right? And men be armed ready to make those pitches. Right? Is that the kind of the idea?
Robyn: [49:41] Yes. That they are ready to go out and meet and have those conversations and we, you know, if not, not every Amazon sellers tend to not like roleplaying, but we have an option, you know, if you guys want to role play a couple of conversations, we can do that as well. And then for the show were available via slack for um, you know, if you need help or you’re not sure what to offer a brand or available for that.
Stephen: [50:04] Alright. And then the last one is, is the last one geared for new sellers or sellers that are having some moderate success, know the basics of wholesale but want to get to that real next level.
Robyn: [50:17] Yes. So the, we haven’t an, an, an advanced Amazon seller retreat and it’s primarily for people who have grossed over a quarter million in 2018. Now if just started and you’ve had rapid growth, then we can make an exception. But in general this is for high volume sellers that are looking to talk to other high volume sellers. So this is not a beginner’s retreat. We have a coo who’s been working for many years with the Co author of Rich Dad, poor dad, Sharon Lechter. Um, she’s been her coo for quite a long time. Um, she’s also a, she’s written college level finance curriculum. So she’s going to be talking to us about creating operations and really, you know, kind of giving yourself that time freedom. So where can we talk about planning, hiring, and outsourcing so that you can expand how to manage your cashflow and read your cashflow statements, um, how to read your profit and loss.
Robyn: [51:09] Cindy Thomas is going to be talking a little bit about implementing profit first and some of the things that she’s seen in ecommerce businesses, Kim coffins going to be talking about. We’re lean warehouse management. We’re going to have eddie talking about freight, um, and how to use freight in your business. And so we and, and Djing is going to be there as well, talking about product mix and product sourcing. So that’s an addition to me and nate being there, being able to go and teach you specific things that will make you more valuable and give you larger access to wholesale accounts that other people don’t have. That includes, you know, creating listings. I’m advertising, understanding Amazon programs. Um, this is a curriculum that has been tested through an other event that is really powerful and we’ve had some people that have had some really great results right out of the bat from it.
Stephen: [52:01] This is the next level. This is when, I guess I should say this, the accelerator and the seller retreat are both limited in number of people just because of physical, you know, they can only physically handle so many people, so there’s still openings as of this time if you’re ready and you want to get to that next level. So I’m glad that you qualify at least that they’re doing 250,000. That’s a big deal. Or like you said, were accelerated quickly. They’re ramping up, but it’s, that’s, that means they got past the hard initial steps and now they’re ready to work on their business. Right? That old, the kind of thing. Now they’re ready to work on it. And I think that’s just so smart. Um, again, you know, I, I, I will qualify to say this, that this is an affiliate deal that I have with Robin.
Stephen: [52:42] I’m very fortunate that for the most part, some of this is just a very exclusive to a very limited. And I appreciate that because I just don’t pitch everybody’s everything as most people know. Um, but I believe in it, you know, I’m there. I see it. Um, I’ve been working with Robin now a couple of years now and it’s just a phenomenal, it’s a phenomenal opportunity if you’re ready to get your business to that next level. Um, and wholesale I think is just a wonderful place to get to. The barriers to entry are getting higher and we should be thankful that the barriers are getting higher. I think that’s a fair statement, don’t you?
Robyn: [53:17] Yeah, I think that, you know, the days of just coming on Amazon and just kind of like throwing mud against the wall that’s starting to close in, but there’s a whole new realm that is opening up that I am so excited for at Isaiah. See so much opportunity and I want to take as many people that are willing and want to to come with me with that. We’ve been doing a lot of things. We basically created an Amazon Seo Agency that we’re working directly with brands and we’re getting paid flat consulting fees and so it’s basically like wholesale, you know, plus. So we’re getting all the benefits of wholesale without having the cash flow constraints and we’re making a real difference for the brands that weren’t working for. Um, and so that’s going to be some of the things that we’re going to be talking about on the retreat as well. We’re going to have some round tables about that, but um, you know, there is so much opportunity and if you can position yourself for that, that’s really where we’re, we’re, we’re moving to is how can we make sure that we are set up so that we can work directly with manufacturers so we can stay on the cutting edge and we can stay away from having to compete with every other seller on the block. How can we give ourselves that point of differentiation?
Stephen: [54:30] And I agree with you, the opera, it’s like, it’s like the wild west is open again, but it’s open that way. Whoever the outlet you can be an outlier because you have knowledge. Again, you show up and do what you’re going to say you’re going to do and you’re going to be a winner, right? That’s the, that’s the most important part. You got to learn what to do. So these, um, these were all done on a landing page. I have a landing page establish where links for all these and all the prices and all the rest of that jazz. But once that page,
Robyn: [54:54] if you go to best from the nest.com forward slash e, m for ecommerce momentum, there’ll be three pictures on there and you can click on the, on the product or opportunity that you’re most interested in. And if you have questions you can feel free to reach out and we’re happy to talk with you.
Stephen: [55:09] Okay. So it’s best from the nest.com forward slash GM and the pages there that has links for all these different things. So you can reach out to me to personally if you would like to find out more information and I’ll have all those links out there. Robin, I’m very excited like you are because, um, while there are more challenges and things are, you know, the walls or if somebody’s an Ra guy used to say that the walls feel like they’re closing in on me, they are, I understand that, but that doesn’t mean it’s that business is gone and anybody who tells you that they’re fools. However, there are challenges to it. There were, um, um, and I think the challenges are some of the barriers to entries that, that makes it a win. If you figure it out, you’re going to win. But if you can take that and now maximize that and take that revenue and capitalize it and really build out a real sustainable business. I’m in the foundational way that Robin just described. I think they’re going to be in great position and I’m, I’m excited for you. I wish you nothing but success and I’m very, very excited for you. Keep it up
Robyn: [56:06] if it. Thank you very much for having me on. It’s, it’s been, it’s been so much fun getting to do all of this and getting to work with so many sellers. It’s been, it’s been an amazing journey.
Stephen: [56:18] Okay. Yeah, that’s best from the nest.com forward slash Ian. Take care. Great Lady.
Stephen: [56:24] Great episode. A smart as a whip. You know, she speaks at a lot of different conferences and there’s a reason for it because she knows what she’s talking about. You know, if you’re going to build a brand, whether it be on wholesale or private label, if you’re going to do it on wholesale, make sure you’re getting paid for that. So smart, right? Be Exclusive. How do you be exclusive? You add something to that brand and so if you’re gonna, build somebody else’s brand, make sure you’re making money on it and put the effort in and again, join our course. ECOMMERCE are a best from the nest.com forward slash gm. You’ll see me in there. Reach out to me if I can help you in any way. ECOMMERCE momentum.com, ecommerce momentum dotcom. Take care.
Cool voice guy: [57:00] Thanks for listening to the momentum podcast. All the links mentioned today can be firstname.lastname@example.org. Under this episode number, please remember to subscribe and like us on itunes.