Product Development

How to Sell Products

Before customers are clamoring to buy what you’re selling, you need to make the buying process as easy for them AND for yourself as possible. You and your team can avoid painful headaches by having a clear plan on how to accept payments and process those payments so that you get your hard earned money. As you’re accepting payments, you can also start building a central database of basic information on customers and prospective customers, like name and contact information so they can stay up-to-date on your business developments.

How do you prepare to start selling?

Use the guidelines below to start selling!

  • Decide where you will sell, this will ultimately affect how you get your product to your customers
    • Online: Through your own website’s store, external ecommerce partners like amazon

    • In store: Through your own retail property, small store and department store partners

    • Create a list of the top 50 retailers from gold star to mom and pop shop next door. Set up a spreadsheet to collect the name of the retailer and the contact for the buying department 

      • Call the top 10 first or email - let yourself get rejected and figure out how to approach retailers effectively.

      • Then call the smaller stores - start with #50 on the list and move backwards.  Find local stores as a starting place

      • Make arrangements to either sell on a commission basis or wholesale - ask your advisor to help you determine what’s best for you

      • If you want to sell through Amazon, here are the instructions.  If you’d like to sell your own products try Etsy.

  • Implement your sales plan
    • Decide when you will sell

    • Are your products seasonal? Like holiday sweaters

    • Will your products sell best during key times, like back to school?

  • Attract customers with your marketing plan
    • Promote your business through social media ads

  • Decide how much you will/can sell
    • You’ll need to know exactly what sales volume you can handle

    • Decide if you’ll allow pre-orders and backorders

  • Implement appropriate policies
    • Have a plan laid how for customer returns and exchanges

    • Include any limitations on time for returns and notice

  • Select a method of payment for your customers to complete a sale
    • Typical options: Cash, credit card, debit card

    • Newer methods: Venmo, Paypal, other mobile payment services

  • Identify what technologies, if any, you’ll need to actually process customer payments
    • If you are collecting card payments online and instore, you’ll need to have a payments processor to complete credit/debit card transactions?

    • If you are collecting cash, you’ll need a business bank account to have cash for “change” and you’ll need a secure place to store your cash during business hours

  • Choose a payment model - how will customers pay. All at once or in installments, or in a recurring model?
    • Net balance, or all at once

    • In installments

    • Monthly recurring charges, or a recurring model

Why is planning to sell products important?

Ideas are great, but without sales to accompany them they will likely fail. Entrepreneurs who are great at sales give their business a competitive advantage. Preparing with a strong plan to start selling will minimize mishaps and put your business in the path to success.

Pro Tip

Selling a business can have a huge impact on your taxes. If the gain on the sale is long term, a federal tax rate of as much as 23.8 percent could be applied. Additional state income taxes, where applicable, may also be imposed on the gain. Doing tax planning before selling might help in maximizing deductions and avoiding penalties.