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Preparing Your Pitch To Independent Retailers

It is an exciting day for any small business wholesaler when he or she lands their first retail account (outside of friends and family in the business giving you a break, of course). The adrenaline rush is enough to keep you going and hopefully enough to land you a few more accounts. But your retail “buzz” takes more than adrenaline to keep stores wanting to hear from you.

When you are preparing to talk to a retailer for the first time and your product is still new to the marketplace, there a few key things to do in an effort to ensure you are both professional and respectful to busy retailers. Assuming your pitch is angled towards small, independent retailers, the below points can help guide you in your retail communication outreach.

1. Have your product information well organized and professionally presented. You should have a buyer’s packet prepared for the retailers that will outline your company information, product information, wholesale and retail price points, case packs if necessary, opening order details and contact information. Don’t forget to include an order form, as well, or at least directions as to how to order. And pictures are a must. Crisp, clear photos that have a clean background allow the retailers to see your product and packaging. Don’t ignore this valuable step!

2. Introduce yourself to retailers before sending them your information. This may be as simple as tweeting them a message via Twitter that you would like to send them details about your product or calling them and quickly yet professionally telling them they can expect something in the mail. Some retailers will appreciate the heads up, others could care less. And yet some will be annoyed you took some of their precious time away if you take to long to get to your point (which is you are sending them product details). Either way, this step cannot hurt you unless you abuse their time. Remember to be short and sweet and respect that retailers are very busy, so keep your details brief yet clear so they understand who you are and what you are sending them.

3. Have your “pitch” vocally and written prepared so that you are clear, professional and accurate with your pitch details.Nerves can get to the best of us and sometimes it just takes a few “ummms” or “not sures” that can leave retailers thinking you aren’t ready for their business. Make sure to clearly describe your product, price points and why your product is right for their store.

4. Make sure to know who the retailer’s customer is before pitching their store. Your product can be amazing, but if you are pitching it to the wrong store, then it doesn’t matter how great it is. Make sure to do your homework and take the time to educate yourself as to which stores are right for your product. The retailer will appreciate you knowing their current inventory and for taking the time to understand who their customer is.

5. Give the retailers space. If you hear “no” or “not interested”, it’s your call as to how you follow up. But many retailers who say it mean it, so respect this and put your energy elsewhere. If you want to keep trying to pitch a store, try pitching it in a new way. Send them samples, offer consignment selling or just wait some time and follow up to see if they will reconsider your product. Showing them success of sales and press is always a great way to entice them to buy. But no matter how right you think your product is for a store and no matter how hard you try to pitch it, it’s possible some retailers just don’t want it. You may need to take no for an answer sometimes.

Each store, each product and each buyer is different. There is no sure proof plan when pitching retailers, but the best thing you can do as a small business wholesaler is have your product details well organized and professionally presented. Make sure to have confidence in your communication and answer all questions accurately to gain trust and respect, as well.

Still not sure what your next steps are? Let Retail Minded help you! Retail Minded offers Buyer Packet preparation, general consultations and much more! Contact nicole@retailminded.com to learn more.


Comments

  • Ann Marie
    June 15, 2009

    Great advice! I’ll refer back to it before making that next phone call.

  • Kim Donaldson
    June 15, 2009

    Nicole,
    Very good advice, your posts are always so interesting for the industry.
    Thanks for all the good ideas!

  • Ted Hurlbut
    June 15, 2009

    Good advice. It’s important to understand exactly the niche the retailer occupies, and what drives their business. You need to know what makes them tick. If you understand this beforehand, you can tailor your presentation in a way that it will be favorably received.

  • AmandaLeigh
    June 15, 2009

    Another great piece.

  • Elizabeth Geldart
    June 15, 2009

    I found your article via a link on twitter:- very interesting reading, and relevant to my business. Thanks!

  • Anna
    June 15, 2009

    As a retailer I wish all wholesale reps would heed your advice. Respecting the retailers time is very important because an elevator pitch is sometimes all the time we can spare.

    Calling ahead to say you are (or would like to) send info and samples or photos of samples is very good too. If the owner or buyer is busy leave that message with their assistant. We still get the heads up but don’t have to stop what we are doing to take the call that says you are sending something.

    I really hate it when a rep insists on an exact appointment to show me their stuff. I much prefer some detailed info to review first, then I will arrange a meeting if your products are something we are interested in…no reason to waste either of our time if it is just not right for our store.

    Thanks for your insightful posts, I always enjoy them!

  • Laura
    June 20, 2009

    I have to agree, I prefer to receive information by email prior to viewing in person. We are asked to carry so many different products that it is important to narrow them down first. I have lots of people simply walk in the door and start pitching, with no regard for my time, or what I may be doing. Making an appointment, or at least calling first to ask if you can come by is a must! Great article, I think if wholesalers follow these guidelines both parties could benefit.

  • Sharon Romero
    August 12, 2009

    I just discovered your great site. It is stating the facts so clearly and often a great reminder to things we may have known but put in the back of our mind.
    Sharon
    Around the Collar

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