Do you own a dance supply company? Are you reading some of the posts on this blog because you have seen your company name and/or pointe shoe model mentioned here and showing up on Google, Yahoo or Bing searches? If so, maybe you do everything right as a company and the following doesn’t pertain to your business model.
Note: Capezio, Aloart of Italy and Wilhelm Schachtner of Germany have shown remarkable business etiquette in their dealings with me and I give them top marks for customer service.
However, because I spend many hours a month dealing with the topic of pointe shoe brands and global manufacturers, I see a huge need to address some of the following business practice faux pas and beliefs that could be affecting the way your company is viewed by your potential customer base.
1. You Need To Provide Detailed Information About Your Pointe Shoe Models To Your Potential Buyers
- When it comes to pointe shoes, a photo and an “order now” button are not enough.
- Spend the extra time/ money needed to add detailed specifications to each one of your shoe models on your website so that a potential customer can make an educated buy.
- Even if your company highly favors personal fittings in person as is the best method for a proper fit, there are collectors out there that have money to spend on your shoes if you would only let them know what they are getting.
2. You Need To Get Serious About Customer Service-Answer Those Questions, Please
- There are two types of dancewear companies online; those who answer each inquiry with enthusiasm, professionalism and all the details a customer could use to make a decision, or those who treat questions as something it is okay to ignore.
- Is your company too large to provide efficient email response? Take note that there are several well-established manufacturers that have created basic F.A.Q. pages that answer the most-asked questions by their customers.
- If you receive an email inquiry asking for information about a certain pointe shoe model, please don’t reply, ” Yes, we have them in stock in pink and black”.
Students, dancers, collectors and even bloggers on the topic of your shoes want to know all the detailed specifications: vamp length, shank construction/ variations, platform size and shape, toe box configuration, materials used for making the shoe, recommendations for beginner, advanced, e.t.c, special care tips and whether ribbons are included with purchase.
3. You Never Know Who You Are Corresponding With
One of the problems that shunning an inquiry causes is to leave a bad taste in the mouth of the person seeking information about your particular product or brand. People feel slighted and will look at your company as uncaring and unprofessional.
It’s never a good business practice to ignore anyone that has taken the time to contact your company. Answer questions about your products, your background and history. What is there to hide? You may be ignoring a magazine editor, news correspondent or someone who is looking to feature your company in a popular dance blog article or forum post.
4. Pointe Shoe Specifications Are Not Top-Secret Classified Military Information To Be Withheld From Civilians
With so much access to information about pointe shoes online, the probability that your materials and construction methods are top-secret is very slim. I say this because many manufacturers outside the U.S.A. have become extremely distrustful of any questions asked about their products.
- Transparency is highly respected– Companies like Freed of London, Suffolk, Grishko, Repetto, SoDanca and a few other highly successful manufacturers offer videos or virtual tours of their pointe shoe factories and /or their factory locations for anyone to learn more about their products.
- Show Off Your Products Becoming successful in the global marketplace means being proud enough of your product to share the details with an inquirer; even one from “overseas”.
- Expect Critique And Reviews– I understand that some fear might be based on public criticism of your product, but dancers have highly unique needs. Every pointe model will not be able to get a big BRAVO from 100% of the people 100% of the time.
How Your Company Manufactures Pointe Shoes Should Never Be Hidden From The Dance World
5. There Is No Need To Fear A Writer-A Ballet Blogger Can Be A Great Business Asset
The biggest problem with pointe shoe manufacturers is fear. Yes, fear. Whenever I mention this website, I get two responses. One is interest and enthusiasm for connecting with dancers and offering them some value and options with their pointe shoe searches. The other 75% are scared witless to be contacted by a writer and immediately clam up tighter than, well, a clam.
What’s going on out there business owners? Are you afraid that a writer is really a secret I.R.S. agent gathering intelligence to audit your books? Perhaps you consider a writer a mad scientist who wants to get his hands on your shoes so he can go into his basement laboratory to copy your paste recipe and steal your shank and toe box design.
Writers are just regular people searching for information to share with others on a mutual topic of interest. Befriending a writer has a lot of benefits; one being free word-of-mouth advertising to a pool of people interested in your type of products. With so much competition out there, it pays to stay connected to the dance community ( including teachers, writers and collectors) in a positive, professional way.