Q & A: What is your strategy for selling to stores?
This is one of the questions I hear most frequently. Believe it or not, many otherwise confident business owners become shy or feel overwhelmed when it comes time to start selling to stores. They worry they’ll say the wrong thing or miss out on the sale. That’s why I’ve written this quick, five step guide to help you find success.
Selling to stores will help boost your bottom line and expose your products to an entirely new group of customers.
Step 1: Let’s make a list. Your first step is to make a list of the stores you want to contact. You can start local and make a list of stores you’ve visited, pick a city where your shirts already have some traction through your web sales or search online for stores sharing your keywords.
A Google spreadsheet can help you stay organized. Make a column for each of the following:
- Store name
- Contact name – Ideally you want to contact the owner, manager or buyer directly.
- Phone number
- Email address
- Notes – Use this space to note a few details about the store like what types of products it sells and who its customers are
- Follow up – This column is so important that it’s gets it’s own step, number 5.
Step 2: Practice your pitch. You need to know your product inside out. Ensure you can answer procedural questions about payment terms, shipping policies, minimum number of units per order, etc.
Be prepared to explain why people by your product, which retailers carry your product and how many units they move each month or quarter.
When you can respond to these questions without hesitation it will raise your confidence and enhance your professional appearance with retailers.
Step 3: Prepare your sample packs. Your first contact with retailers will happen in the next step, but you want to make sure you’re ready when they are. Have line sheets, order forms brochures and other promo materials ready, as well as sample of your product and shipping materials.
Step 4: Reaching out to retailers. Now it’s finally time to get in touch. Send your retail contacts a quick email outlining the benefits of your product and your typical customer. Ask the retailer outright for an opportunity to meet, schedule a phone call or Skype.
This next step is the easiest part of selling to stores and crucial to your success.
Step 5: Follow up. Don’t give up if retailers don’t respond to your email immediately. These are busy people and they may need a reminder. Follow up with retailers via email a week to 10 days after your initial email, and again the week after if you still haven’t heard back.
Your goal is to keep your product on the retailers mind, even if they don’t carry it this time around. It may take a few tries, and even still you may get a no, but in many cases your persistence will make all the difference in the world.
Share your experiences selling to stores or ask your burning marketing questions in the comment section below. Your question could be the next one I answer.