October 5, 2012
I would like to share with you a story about a time I said “no” and how it turned into a “yes” and what that vendor did to convert my answer to “yes”.
Company D presented to me a new item they insisted would sell like hot cakes. But it was unproven, was too new to have sales history from other stores, and my gut was lukewarm on the item and therefore, I said “no”. I said “no” probably 3 more times after that. Truth be told, this will likely be what you encounter when pitching to retailers.
However, I changed my mind after Company D offered to “partner with me on the risk” and provided me with a unique assortment (Romy’s Tip #1), a guaranteed sale (Romy’s Tip #2), and put my trust in them on the line (“Vanessa, you know we are always honest with you; we don’t push a product this hard unless we truly think it will be huge!”). By offering these incentives, they were not just telling me they were confident, they were showing me how confident they were.
The lesson here is not to keep pushing if the buyer says “no” but to listen to the reasons they are giving. Let’s review: I told Company D that their item was unproven. This inherently meant I felt the risk was too great for me until I had other information that would lower my risk exposure. That information could have been sales history from other stores (which they didn’t have) so that I would feel confident I wouldn’t lose money by investing in their product. Or it could be attacking the risk from a different angle…promising that I won’t lose money by offering me a guarantee on unsold inventory.
Company D listened, deconstructed what I said to identify my true concern, tailored a solution to address that concern, and presented me with an incentive that allowed us to “split the risk”. Brilliant!