Last post we talked about some of the reasons why a buyer says no to your products.
Today, I would like to share about what you can do when a buyer tells you no — which is often just an exercise in Salesmanship 101!
*First, understand that it not personal, it is business! Store buyers are looking for products that will sell to their customers and if you product does not fit in, then they may need to pass on your line.
*Second, I recommend asking why the buyer does not want to buy your products. (I listed 10 reasons in the first part of this article.) Don’t be bashful — just come right out and ask. Too often, we get our ego wrapped around our product and don’t want to hear feedback or worse yet, fear rejection. Don’t go there! Feedback is the best way to improve your product to make it more salable.
I used this technique lots of times when talking to buyers. You might be surprised at what good tips they will give you.
You might want to start the conversation something like this:
Honestly, I’m kind of new at this — you are one of my first presentations. Can you tell me what I could do or change about this product to make it a better fit for your shop?
Make it about the store and the buyer — not about you — and the value of the response will increase!
*Often, the timing of the sales presentation is wrong. Often buyers have an Open-to-Buy period, and you may have just missed it.
Open-to-Buy: The period of time during which a retailers is “open” to buying inventory, if the inventory budget still has funds remaining.
If this is the case, ask the buyer if you can contact her again when she is open-to-buy. And of course, ask her/him when that will be, and, if possible, make an appointment to follow up during that time.
*Another technique is to ask the buyer if he/she knows of another store nearby that would be a better fit for your products. The buyer may be more informed about their competition that you think and may have the perfect solution for you!
Regardless of whether you make a sales or not, always be polite (don’t act like the characters in the image above!!). Thank the buyer for their time and realize that you are just one step closer to making the next sale.
I love the way the Arts Business Institute explains it in their article: How to Handle Reject:
Sales is mostly a numbers game, which means that only a portion of your attempts to land prospects will be successful. If you get a 10 – 20% closing rate on new accounts, you have done well. That means you need to contact quite a few stores to end up with a few wholesale customers.
The good news is that wholesale is all about repeat sales. Once you have found a retailer who is a “match” for your handmade line, you may continue that relationship for a long time, perhaps years. Repeat business is what builds business. This is what leverages your efforts in the studio and in your marketing, and will increase your income.
Believe it or not, it does get easier each time you make a presentation!