Staying in Touch With
Your Collectors

By Cindy McGuire
China Cupboard Bears

Copyrighted July 2003 by Cindy McGuire
Permission given to Bright Star Promotions, Inc. for publication

Keep in touch with your collectors is very important. Collectors are very special people who enable us to continue to be creative. That's always been my goal: to be able to continue to be creative!   I thrive on creating, developing new ideas and bringing those ideas to their conclusion, which means placing the bear with a collector who’s eyes light up when they see “THAT BEAR”.

Reaching those collectors is the key to successful selling.

We all lead busy lives, wear many hats and it's easy to forget about silly things like promoting a bear show. We get sidetrack or miss schedules. Obviously, national magazine advertising reaches many collectors and costs may be prohibitive to some. You already have a built-in collector base from contacts at bear shows. Capture their name and addresses. People who've purchased from you in the past are more likely to purchase from you again. Taking time to remind them of up coming shows is to your benefit, as well as theirs.

The best way to reach your collectors/customers is through e-mail or a post card sent two weeks before the show. Yes, it’s a hassle to keep a current mailing list when you'd rather be making bears. I keep an index card file arranged according to state and show location. And for those of you in the 21st Century computer age, the computers make it possible to e-mail customers directly or print labels for traditional postcards. If you’re really computer savvy, click on the US Post Office's web site, they'll print and mail postcards for the price of the postage. Makes sense and sounds easy. Most promoters will give you show postcards and for a 23-cent stamp you can stay in touch with your collectors. You can build excitement for the coming teddy bear show and make them feel special. It takes time to address and keep a current customer list and the time is certainly worth the effort. Or would you rather learn to say, ”Do you want fries with that order?”

Let's face it the economy has hit hard and sales are unpredictable. I find most collectors are comforting themselves with their teddy bear collections. They need that special bear, just like you need to make that bear. Reaching out to the collectors lets them know we value their business and we create enthusiasm for discovering "that special" bear at the coming show.

Think of your time as an investment into your business and to your future ability to be creative and profitable. Maybe then, writing postcards and notes won’t seem like such a chore.