October 25, 2011
The common tips you might hear include: Hire a sales representative, go to trade shows, have your friends and family make requests at the store. These are all effective tips, but there are a few more ways to be resourceful.
Tip 1: Be at the place of influence of your targeted retailer. Whether they buy for the big guys (Walmart, Walgreens, Kohls) or small independent retailers, buyers are out in the market place and shopping competitors to stay on top of trends and get new product inspiration. Try and find out where they shop. Often times they are shopping small boutiques and stores – since many new trends start there. Then, using this intelligence, get your product into that store.
Tip 2: Research that retailer and determine what is important to them. If they are publicly traded, read their annual reports and listen to quarterly earnings calls to learn their strategic focus. Knowing this, you can spin your retail pitch to align with their strategies.
Tip 3: Shop their stores. Notice how they merchandise your product category. Observe price points, how they organize brands, piece counts. Form opinions and recommendations on how they can do things better to grow their business; and those recommendations should also include adding your brand. Adding value and being a credible source of unbiased industry intelligence will earn you ten more minutes with that buyer than if you were calling just to pitch your product alone.
Tip 4: Another way of grabbing attention is showing your product has selling power. What is its selling history in other retailers? Have sales been growing steadily over time? Sales is THE most important metric to grab their attention.
Tip 5: Lastly, take a step back and make sure you have a tight elevator pitch. 30 seconds. Be succinct, clear, and persuasive. Give them the information they want to hear. No more. No less.