Business Tips on Becoming the Preferred Vendor

A series of Business Tips from the book:
How to Become the Preferred VendorHow to Become the Preferred Vendor
by Rick Segel & Tom Shay

It’s easy to give ideas for signage, but supplying good Point-of-Purchase signs always helps sell merchandise
— Rick Segal

Point-of-Purchase, or POP, signage and/or displays can be defined as: As display which includes product inventory, plus promotional inventory about that inventory, to assist in persuading browsers to buy. Often used for “impulse” product categories.

Offering your retailers ways to promote your products within their store will drive sales for both you and the retail outlet.

When we were promoting our Idaho Redneck products, we provided our retail customers signage to use on the shelves and in their windows that announced the store as an official outlet for Idaho Redneck products!! On the sign, we used our logo along with some “Redneck” humor to entice customers to try the products.

Helping retailers sell your products is a win-win for both of you!


Equip your sales representative with booklets that suggest ways of displaying your merchandise. Include photos and step-by-step guides so retailers can see how to mount these displays.
— Rick Segel

Anytime you can supply your retailers with tips, instructions or pictures on how to display your product(s), you have helped your ability to sell your items.

As a sales rep, I was asked frequently how a certain product was displayed in other stores. Buyers wanted information to help them visualize the products I was selling as it would look in their stores. When they were able to do this, selling the line was much easier.

With the wide use of cell phone cameras, it would be fairly easy to visit your successful retailers and take pictures of YOUR product displays to share with sales reps and retailer. Supplying an inexpensive (or free) display with first time orders, when possible, is even more effective!

The more enticing you make your product, the easier it will sell. Display and display suggestions are the easiest way to do that!


Maintain a file of advertising success stories so that when you receive an order from a sales rep for a particular item, you can send a postcard or note to the retailer ahead of the order telling of the success of another retailer’s advertising or promotion of that item.
–Rick Segel

Similar to yesterday’s tip, this is another way to help your retailer’s sell your products. And you don’t necessarily need to do this JUST if you have reps!

Nothing compares to a personal note! With so much electronic communications, a mailed note will not go unnoticed! Especially, if you include pictures and a personal note!

What Rick did not include that I would do when sending this note, is to thank the store/buyer for purchasing the particular product. I am sure the note will be noticed and the buyer will remember you as their sales partner as well as their vendor.

As a sales rep, I wish this were a tip I had thought of or heard about when I was active on the road. I would have implemented it, in some fashion, in my sales program.


Send a mailing to your retailers clearly explaining the reasons why they should visit your (Trade Show) booth.
— Rick Segel

Pre-show mailings or emailings can boost buyer visits to your Trade Show booth. Especially if you give them a reason to stop at your booth.

A note saying: “Come see my cool booth” will not cut it either!!

The year we exhibited at the Portland Gift Show, we sent emails to our current customers as well as last years’ show attendees introducing ourselves and our line. Being new, this brought many buyers to our booth who otherwise would have just probably passed us by.

Rick suggested sending out notices that explain any show incentives that you are offering. These notices are also excellent venues to inform customers of any new products you are introducing.

Use your imagination and talk about new and exciting reasons why a buyer should visit your Trade Show booth.


Develop a system to remind retailers that it’s time to buy. Include each retailer’s previous year’s order summary, and even an ad featuring a current lead product. Use any communication method you prefer — mail, e-mail, fax, postcard.
— Rick Segel

Retail buyers are very busy people. Often times a product will sell out, and the shelf space filled with another item, and the buyer will not remember what was there or where to re-order the original product!

Sending or emailing periodical notices is a great idea to keep your line in the mind of the buyer. As a sales reps, I visited the stores and did an actual inventory of my lines on site to let buyers know what they needed to re-order.

Rick’s method is especially effective if you cannot physically visit the store.

And as an added convenience, contact the customer the way they wish to be contacted. Email is great, but if the buyer does not have computer at the shop or does not check their email, another method needs to be used.


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2 comments for “Business Tips on Becoming the Preferred Vendor

  1. May 11, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Great article. Having been on both sides as a merchant/sales person and working in small business manufacturing there’s nothing better to sell your product than a nice display with an eye catching header! The company I work for presently has been trying to get into social media, but it’s just not where their retailers are shopping/looking. They don’t have computers at their stores and our reps are older and not keeping up. We’re trying the trade shows again this year, after a few years’ hiatus.

  2. May 11, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Thanks Anna for sharing. Make sure to let us know how you trade show turns out for you!


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