How to Approach a Retailer About Carrying Your Product
Convincing a retailer to sell your product entails a lot of demonstration and reiterations that you are a credible and reliable vendor that is offering something that customers need and want to buy. While being professional and respectful are valuable traits to have in business, it is likewise strategic in emphasizing the merits of your product or service. Protocols may vary depending if you are approaching a large retail chain versus an independent owner-operated shop. However, your chances of success will be better either way as long as you research your target market well and avoid wasting your retail buyer’s time.
Step #1: Prepare promotional materials to present together with your product. It could be the same promotional literature you are intending to disseminate among potential customers like product information brochures that talk about selling points (features, advantages, and benefits). These printed materials should be very informative reference that talks about your company and how it conducts selling and distributing your products or services. Indicate prices, volume discounts, delivery schedules, payment terms, and return policies. This preparedness also indicates to your prospective retail buyer that you are fully appreciative of the whole marketing process and are willing to invest as necessary to attract as many customers as possible.
Step #2: Contact the retailer beforehand and get educated on their company policies and requirements for new product vendor applicants. If you are approaching a retail chain situated in several locations, you may be required to bring your product presentation directly to the corporate office. There is likely a staff member there who make the purchasing decisions for multiple store locations. If, on the other hand, you are approaching an independent owner-operated store, the process could be as simple as coming in for an appointment, prepared with your product presentation and samples. Whatever the case may be, always call ahead and inquire about the process so as to avoid inconvenience or ill perceptions about your product due to any miscommunication.
Step #3: Come prepared with a concise and highly informative sales pitch. Be thorough in presenting the merits of your product without being lengthy. Present sufficient information that will showcase your passion for and appreciation of your product’s value to the market. Be careful not to be too pushy or demanding especially when the retail buyer is not showing any early willingness to commit. Politely ask when the best time will be to call for a decision.
Start small and build up to appropriate rapport with your prospect. Ask reticent retailers to try a few of your items on consignment to get a demonstration of its viability. Stay positive and bear in mind that “no” often means “not now.” If a store turns you down, get clarity on their specific objections and ask for another meeting at a future date. Try to secure a second chance to be able to resolve your prospect’s objections. It is also good sense to include an offer to share the cost of local advertising through a mutually cooperative program that focuses on driving traffic to the store. Finally, offer a suggested retail price that allows for a healthy mark-up for the store and enable it to offer the product on sale and still make a profit.