Do you have a product that you think would be perfect for big box stores but the thought of the buyer meeting before getting your product on shelves makes you a nervous wreck? Maybe you have a meeting scheduled soon and you want to ensure success? Or maybe you just want to figure out your story prior to scheduling one. Whatever your concern, these quick tips will help you rock your next retail buyer meeting.

Tip #1: Go Shopping!

Retail buyers absolutely hate it when you don’t check out their stores prior to the meeting. Not only does it give them the impression that you are not serious about doing business with them, but buyers will almost always ask you about the last time you checked out their stores. It’s to your benefit to make this happen.

Buyers want to hear your perspective as to how they can improve their bottom line, and the best way to do this is to have you review their stores and tell them why your product is better, different and more interesting than what they have in their stores today. Buyers love it when you show them how your product will fulfill a need for their customer base that they are currently not addressing in their stores. So help them figure this out by going shopping!

Tip #2: Review Vendor Portals

Did you know that most chain stores have a vendor website that will tell you the requirements they are looking for in potential vendors?

These websites can be invaluable to review prior to the buyer meeting. Not only will it show the buyer that you are serious about doing business with them, but often times these vendor portals provide valuable information about the retailer that you need to know for the meeting.

To find one of these vendor portals, just do an internet search by typing the name of the retailer and the word ‘vendor’ next to it.

Tip #3: Come Up With Your ‘Money Story’

One of the main reasons companies are not getting their products into stores is because they haven’t convinced the buyer how their product will make the store money. It’s as simple as that.

Most companies approach buyers with the features and benefits of their product — and that’s why most product companies are not succeeding with retail! Buyers are in the business of generating revenue for their stores, and it is imperative that you convince them how your product will sell.

Mention how many units you’ve sold so far, which retailers are currently selling your product, etc. Buyers want to know this!

And for those of you who do not have that ‘money story’ yet, have no fear! There’s always a workaround if you have a new product with no proven sales. There are plenty of examples of great products that have gotten into retail stores with no previous sales.

Tip #4: Create Effective Marketing Collateral

There is nothing more annoying to a buyer than receiving inefficient marketing collateral about a new product. And when I say inefficient, I mean marketing collateral that doesn’t tell a buyer in five seconds or less what the product is and does. Less is more when it comes to marketing collateral when trying to pitch a chain store buyer. A one-page sell sheet can be the most effective marketing tool you have when it comes to selling to big box stores because it gives the buyer all the information she needs in a quick snapshot.

Buyers prefer visuals over endless words to describe a product. Bullet points, product images, packaging and a ‘money story’ are ideal to have on your marketing material.

Bottom line is that buyers are too busy to try and decipher new product information. That is why you should focus your efforts on telling your story on your marketing collateral in a one page, simple format.

Tip #5: Don’t Overwhelm

If you have a meeting with a buyer, don’t overwhelm them by showing all of your products at the same time. Create a story by showing them one product at a time — starting with your best sellers first.

A buyer wants you to walk them through exactly which product they should buy first and why. This shows them that you are serious, organized and that you understand your product and category.

Don’t ask the buyer to pick which products they like best, tell the buyer which products they should buy first and then show them the other product options that you have available. Buyers appreciate this because it creates an organized and effective buyer meeting.

Having a successful buyer meeting can be the difference between you exponentially growing your business — or not. So spend some time preparing yourself for these meetings by utilizing these tips and you will be on your way to retail success!

Karen Waksman

Karen Waksman, Founder and CEO of Retail MBA (RetailMBA.com), is a Manufacturer’s Rep turned Author, Speaker and Consultant. Karen has taught tens of 1000’s of product entrepreneurs and companies across the globe on the subject of selling to retailers. Her goal is to empower and inspire companies to transform their businesses by providing them all of the necessary information they need in order to become chain store vendors.

2 Comments

  1. So much helpful information here! Thank you 🙂

    Reply

  2. This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!!
    Finally I have found something which helped me. Cheers!

    Reply

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