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Tips & Talk 27 – The Sales Channel Panel
8th September 2021 • Gift Biz Unwrapped • Sue Monhait
00:00:00 00:11:33

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The Sales Channel PanelThe Sales Channel Panel is the strategy that is key to maintaining sales and managing through any crisis or unforseen selling challenge. It includes all the elements for getting visibility, communicating your messages and bringing in orders. In this episode I give an explanation of the strategy including all the elements and how it works. Join my FREE Gift Biz Breeze FB Community where you'll have the chance to learn and hang out with other inspirational makers just like you. If you found value in this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you automatically get the next episode downloaded for your convenience. Click on your preferred platform below to get started. Also, if you'd like to do me a huge favor - please leave a review. It helps other creators like you find the show and build their businesses too. You can do so right here: Rate This Podcast Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify Thank you so much! Sue Know someone who needs to hear this episode? Click a button below to share it!

Transcripts

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There it's Sue.

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And thanks for joining me for tips and talk day.

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These are bite-sized topics that I pull from community questions and

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things that I'm observing in the world of handmade small business.

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If you'd like to submit a topic,

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DME, over on Instagram at gift biz unwrapped,

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I'm going to share with you a concept that I've been

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talking about for a while now,

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but I don't think I've ever formally defined it or explained

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the underlying reason why you would have this in place.

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So we're going to cover a concept that I call the

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sales channel panel.

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This is the key so that you can maintain sales and

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manage through all the different crisises that come up and sales

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blocks that we have.

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The sales channel panel is what was missing when we all

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got so caught off guard.

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Last year,

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I remember people who only did craft shows.

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All they did was sell face to face.

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And all of a sudden that was like our knees were

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cut out from under us,

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right? Because the one single way we always used to bring

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in sales,

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all of a sudden,

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just poof vanished like seriously.

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It was almost like within a week first we had the

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ability to sell face-to-face and then all of a sudden we

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didn't, this type of thing can happen in a number of

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different ways.

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It's not just what we just experienced last year.

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I remember three or four years ago.

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Now when Facebook went down for a short time or Instagram

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or down,

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oh my gosh,

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Instagram went down for a minute and you would think the

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whole world had collapsed.

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And the reason is we were so reliant on one way

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to bring in sales that when that was missing,

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there was nothing else we can do.

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Having a sales channel panel in place is what's going to

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lay the groundwork so that when these struggles come up,

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when one way of making sales gets shut off,

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you are not totally defeated.

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You are not totally left without any options to turn to.

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And unfortunately,

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that's, what's been happening,

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not just once,

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not just twice.

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And I think when we get back onto an even keel,

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we just let things start to slide again,

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because we feel like maybe it's back to business as usual.

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And for a few months,

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I think potentially wishful thinking things did feel like they were

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really back.

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You know,

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we were opening up again.

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You could go into stores anywhere inside and not be wearing

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the masks.

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And now once again,

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what's happening,

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we're starting to restrict again,

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just last week.

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I found out that one of the big trade shows that

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I planned to attend was up and now guess what?

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It's down again.

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So we're going to go through another wave of this,

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which again,

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reinforces the reasoning behind why you would need something like a

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sales channel panel.

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So now let me explain and give you the details of

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what this is all about and explain the strategy.

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When you have a sales channel panel.

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Literally, what this means is that you have all the elements

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in place for your business to get visibility.

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Because if you don't have people knowing you exist and knowing

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what you offer,

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they never have a chance to buy.

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It allows you to way to communicate with potential customers.

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So prospects and customers,

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and then a way to capture sales.

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I define seven elements to a sales channel panel,

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and I'm going to share with you what these elements are.

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And then I'm going to tell you how the whole sales

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channel panel works together.

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The first element is a website.

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Obviously you have to have a website if ever you're going

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to conduct and close any business online.

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That's what e-commerce is all about.

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Second in person shows whether they're craft shows,

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farmer's markets,

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church, bazaars,

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sidewalk sales within your community,

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anywhere where you're selling in person,

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we can throw in retail shops.

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If you happen to have a brick and mortar shop,

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anywhere you sell in person is another element of your sales

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channel panel.

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Number three,

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networking groups.

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And I break this into two different categories here.

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Networking groups have a professional level.

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So these would be like your chamber of commerce BNI,

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which are lead passing type groups.

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And then you also have networking groups that are more social.

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It could be if your children are in school,

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the group of parents that you hang out with,

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or if you're in any of the committees within the schools,

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this could be a book club that you participate in,

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or a group that you work out with at the health

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club. All of these are social groups.

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And this is yes,

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part of your sales channel panel,

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because these are people who could potentially buy from you.

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Number four,

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in terms of a sales channel panel is connections that you

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have, that you could do collaborations with.

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So other people who are in your community,

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you sell to the same customer locally or other people nationwide,

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where you have a compatible audience,

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you don't sell the exact same product,

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so you're not competing with each other,

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but your audience would be looking at your products because they

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have similar interests.

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So this could be somebody who let's say has pampering products,

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and then another person who sells candles.

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So a customer who buys pampering products would also probably be

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in the market for candles.

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That's kind of the thing that they're about.

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So these two people could come together and collaborate.

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So this is another portion of your sales channel panel.

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Number five,

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having an email list,

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being able to communicate in that way.

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I will remind everybody that before social media there was email.

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That's how we talked with people.

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Number six,

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obviously. Yes,

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social media,

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the new still bright child that we all look at,

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social media and under social media,

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there are new platforms,

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different things happening all the time in that I'm calling it

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the element right of a sales channel panel.

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Interesting how clubhouse became so popular.

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And now what's happening.

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Interest is a little bit waning here on clubhouse.

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So you see how things will ebb and peak,

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right? And number seven,

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rounding this out is wholesale.

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And along with this are other avenues that spin off of

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wholesale, like consignment can artisan co-op that type of thing.

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So these are the seven elements of the sales channel panel.

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Let me restate them website in person sales,

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networking, both professional and social groups,

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collaborations, email,

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social media,

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and wholesale.

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We go over how to actually set all these up within

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maker's MBA.

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But my guess is you have several of these in place.

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Maybe not all of them,

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but several of them already in place.

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Nice. Here's the thing.

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When you,

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you get all of these elements in place,

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then you're in the driver's seat.

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Because then what you're able to do is adjust the intensity

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of each of these elements based on market conditions.

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Let me go back to the story that I was talking

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about in the beginning.

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So that person who was always showing at craft shows,

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and then when the shows shut down,

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she's looking around like now,

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what do I do?

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However, if she would have had these other things in place,

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if she would have been collecting emails,

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if she would have been showing up on social media,

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if she maybe had her product placed in some local areas,

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she wouldn't have been so singularly reliant on the craft shows.

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And so in this case,

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just to continue following the story.

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When craft shows went down to zero on the sales channel

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panel, because she couldn't do it anymore,

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she could increase social media visibility,

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sending out a few more emails,

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but when everyone was caught off guard and they didn't have

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any of these other things in place that the people who

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stumbled. And so what happened throughout the year is everyone was

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scrambling to put these things in place and use the strategy

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of the sales channel panel is to help all of these

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elements at the very least setup.

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And I'm putting this like this is level zero of the

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panel. And so then you are able to raise and lower

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the level of intensity of any of these seven elements based

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on what's going on around you.

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You're not scrambling having to put it all together and get

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it established from ground zero,

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but you are able to up the level of intensity,

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and this is the way you're able to survive and move

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quickly and do some pivots very fast.

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When things come out of left field that you aren't expecting,

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and it doesn't have to be a worldwide pandemic,

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it could be the weather came in and totally eliminated a

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craft show for a weekend.

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Or your website,

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heaven forbid froze.

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How do you get sales?

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If something like that happen,

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something's wrong with your website.

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All of these different types of things will allow you to

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recoup sales.

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And most importantly have confidence that you'll be able to approach

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anything that comes your way.

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And you'll be fine.

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Another way to think about this,

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those of you who use Canva,

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when you go in and you add a photo into Canva,

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you can do a ton of different types of adjustments to

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the photo,

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right? So you can change the brightness.

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The contrast saturation,

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opacity, highlight fading,

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adding a vignette,

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like all these different types of things that you can do

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that affect the look of the photo,

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but they don't change the base photo.

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This is a very similar strategy,

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just discussed in a different way of the sales channel panel

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because your company is the same,

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but you would just increase the intensity and lower the intensity

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on the different elements based on what you need at the

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time. It's still your business.

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It's still all your products.

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It's still you selling,

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but you're going out and you're reaching your customers in different

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ways with different approaches based on the situation at hand,

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again, the sales channel panel,

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when you have it all set up in this way,

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brings confidence and security to your business in an uncertain world.

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And no business can be more solid than that.

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That's a wrap.

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I'm a get to the point kind of girl.

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And this is what you can expect from these quick midweek

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sessions. Now it's your turn go out and fulfill that dream

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of yours,

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share your handmade products with us.

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We want them,