When you look back at your sales figures at the end of this year–which is rapidly approaching– are you going to be satisfied with your numbers? Or are you going to realize that you could have probably done better? If you’re like most of us, you know you could do better but you’re just not exactly sure how. One of the first steps to increasing your sales is learning to overcome your fear of asking for the order. We’ve talked about this before and it remains true–you have to ask for the sale. Most people don’t enjoy talking to strangers and even if you are one of those “natural-born” talkers, you still need to remember to ask for the sale after all the talking is said and done. This week I had a visit from Mark Venit, a well-respected industry consultant that I have known for decades. (He wrote the book, The Business of T-Shirts) Mark was sharing a story about how he encourages clients to think outside their comfort zone. For one such exercise, he goes into grocery stores with them. Yes, that’s right. He shows them how simple it is to introduce a store manager to the concept of custom t-shirts. He goes to grocery stores because it’s not a market most people consider when looking for new sales. Whether or not the grocery store manager actually needs or wants to sell printed apparel, at least the manager is now aware of a local business that offers the service. And it’s not just about the initial visit. Mark reminds his clients of the need for basic follow up. Sometimes you need to ask more than once to get the sale. It’s something to think about. The next time you’re in a store, consider them a potential custom t-shirt client. Ask for the manager, tell him/her what you can do for the store. You might be surprised at the things that happen outside of your comfort zone.