How would you feel if you expected your customer to pay for a gift basket 30 days after delivery, and on the 31st day the customer vanished?

In the 1980s I worked for a worldwide commercial bank located on Water Street in lower Manhattan. The employees was encouraged to take one break in the morning and afternoon, and during the break we flocked upstairs to a lunch area with tables, chairs, and plenty of everything to eat, drink, and smoke (cigarettes were sold). The area was manned by a small firm independent of the bank.

Employees were allowed to buy on credit. On pay day, the employees settled their tab with the lunch firm.

One day, a major downsizing was announced, and a substantial number of employees were dismissed, ushered out of the facility within the hour. That same day, the lunch firm’s representative came downstairs to the company with his credit ledger in hand to collect monies from employees owing for items they’d purchased before pay day.

His collection goals were dashed as most people who owed were no longer employed. I don’t know how much the firm lost, but I have a feeling it was a substantial amount.

The lunch firm learned a very hard lesson, and if they’re still in business today, I bet that buying on credit is not part of their process.

The bottom line in business

What company lets you buy a washing machine, refrigerator, or customized product without getting a deposit or full payment? The answer is none, and this ought to be true for your business as well. Here are the three rules to get your cash beforehand, whether partial or full payment.

1. The customer has to have what’s called “skin in the game.” They must be committed to the sale as much as you’re committed to creating the gift basket. Without monetary commitment, the customer can walk away, and you can’t do anything about it.

2. You are operating a business, not running an experiment. Even experimental work receives grants from organizations before the work begins. Get your money before touching a single piece of shred.

3. Payment is required for you to purchase products. You may already have products for the design in your inventory, but payment is still required to cover labor and fixed expenses. This is not charity work.

Solve the problem

Gift Basket Marketing, Vol. 1, by Shirley George Frazier. All rights reserved.

You cannot be timid in telling the customer that you need payment ahead of time to design their gift basket. This is your business, and you make the rules.

If you are not able to inform the customer, then this may not be the business for you, but before you throw in the basket (nope, not the towel), the Start Your Own Gift Basket Business course helps you put the entire “get money first” process in place. I promise that you will have your plan together so you are strong, confident, and satisfied in your abilities.

Without cash up front, you will not only be out of business quickly, you will also have unfinished or undelivered gift baskets because the customer never paid. You’ll be unhappy, and if you have a spouse or partner, they may verbally let you know about their displeasure. You don’t want to hear that, do you?

Get rid of your jitters, and get down to business. Get the sale, collect your money, create the gift basket, and let’s all be happy.

Shirley George Frazier
In the gift basket world, all roads lead to Shirley George Frazier, the industry's reigning expert and international authority. Shirley is chief basketologist at Sweet Survival LLC and author of the industry's best-selling books, How to Start a Home-Based Gift Basket Business, The Gift Basket Design Book, and Marketing Strategies for the Home-Based Business. Shirley works with retailers of all size and home-based entrepreneurs to successfully sell gift baskets to their chosen clients. Shirley is also a frequent speaker at events and instructor of the popular online course, Start Your Own Gift Basket Business. Contact Shirley to speak at your event or call 800-640-8521 to schedule a consultation.

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