I spent many years traveling around the state of Idaho selling items to gift and retail outlets. Although I was successful at what I did, I am always open to learning more from other folks who are selling to retail buyers.
Upon my search for good articles to share, I found this wonderful article called A Guide Successfully Selling Your Products Wholesale to Retailers.
Written by a jewelry maker named Libby, the article includes many tips learned from actual experience.
Here as some of her important points:
From my experience approaching your target is the best approach to get their attention. Consider:
- Calling retailer
- Emailing retailers
- Sending printed material to retailers
- Knocking on doors
I love her candid comments about just getting out there in front of buyers. This is one of the techniques that made me so successful. I didn’t wait around to be “polite” as Libby described — I just walked into stores and talked to the buyer!
The second approach for starting good wholesale relationships is to attend tradeshows.
But tradeshows can be incredibly expensive.
Libby emphasizes building relationships at trade shows. Good point as you may not make as many sales as you will like, but you will start building relationships which is the cornerstone of good repeat sales.
Growing the relationship
Getting that big order with a new account is one of the most exciting things for a small business owner.
The real challenge in wholesaling is being able to maintain these relationships.
My first and most important suggestion is to be absolutely genuine in all your interactions.
Over the years some of the retailers that I work with have turned into close friends.
Oh yes …. even after being off the road as a sales rep, I still have relationships with several of my buyers. I can’t remember how many times I have been contacted by a past buyers or store owner asking me to get in touch with them next time I am in town visiting! I love it!!
Getting repeat orders
Once you have established the relationship, it’s time to follow up.
Following up is very critical in order to get those repeat orders.
Don’t be that annoying maker who follows up too often, though. A friendly message every now and then to remind store owners that we are here ready to provide them with great products works great!
My last tip would be to make sure that your orders are done quickly and correctly.
Good follow up systems are critical to keeping your sales flowing. And no, the buyer will probably NOT contact you, so you will need to follow up with them for re-orders.
Basic things are key to a successful business relationship:
- Responding to emails quickly and politely
- Providing invoices or any paperwork quickly and accurately
- Fixing any issues with the order as fast as possible
- Answering questions that the store may have
Good advice! The way you react to communications can have huge affect on your relationship with the buyer and how much they continue to buy from you. You are servicing the store!
Here are Libby’s parting tips on wholesaling:
- Always be honest if there’s an issue with the order. Most retailers will be willing to work together to fix the problem.
- Ask questions. Asking questions is incredibly helpful for planning. I may ask for a time frame about an order, without being pushy, so that I can provide a product for them when they need it.
- Never give up! You just never know what may happen… Touch base and show them some new products. The key is to have constant communication without being annoying or pushy. Remember that people are very busy and sometimes just need a friendly reminder that you are there.
- Tailor your communication with each account. If you know that someone responds best by phone, then pick up the phone and call them.
All excellent tips. Check out the full article here!