During my years of sales repping, one of the most important tips I could share with new wholesale business is to remember to FOLLOW UP!
Now, what do I mean by following up?
Let’s say you stop at a new shop and get a chance to talk to the buyer. She/he loves your products and is interested in placing an order … as soon as the month is over …. as soon as he/she talks to her partner/husband/accountant …. as soon as he/she is ‘open to buy’ …..
Or you are exhibiting at a trade show and a buyer stops and drools over your creations …. but they have a half dozen more booths they need to stop at and don’t have time to place an order at the moment.
So what do you do in those circumstances (other than giving them a flyer/brochure and business card)? FOLLOW UP!
Luckily, I had better luck than that, but it did not diminish the idea that I needed to follow up with these potential buyers.
So, you go home from the presentation or show with contact info from the buyer. I get back to them within 7-10 to remind them of my presentation/booth and ask if they had any questions about the product, terms, delivery or ?? Sometimes, buyers would want more information, sometimes, they would order on the spot …. and sometimes they would not be ready to buy at that time. Did I give up? Nope, I asked when I should get back to them to follow up with the potential order. Whatever they suggested, I did.
After all of that, if I still did not get an order, I would contact them again via email with color pictures, price sheets etc. Often, I visit them again when the season changed or when I had a new product. Most of the time, I could win these buyers over and write up an order that sold well for them.
So is that the end of the follow up? Nope! New accounts should be babied! Call a week or so after they receive the order to make sure all is well and they are happy with the product. Sometimes, I would ask when I should follow up again or often I just called 1-3 months later (depending on the product) to see how sales were going. After awhile, you can judge when they may need to re-order.
Now, back to the beginning, what would happen if I did not make the first follow up? Yup, you guessed it: I would not have gotten the order at all.
FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP!