A gal, who is an active member of my Mastermind Group, recently asked for suggestions on techniques for contacting buyers.
Since I frequently receive similar questions on this subject, I decided to list the technique that I have used.
But first, I need to stress the first two important points to consider BEFORE contacting a buyer:
- Make sure you do your homework before contacting a retail outlet. If you sell jewelry, don’t contact a baby clothing store (okay, that was probably a no-brainer, but you get the idea!)
- Face-to-face contact is always the best and most effective, when possible. These suggestions are for stores that you are unable to physically visit!
My Technique for Contacting Buyers
When you find a store that looks like a good fit, call them to find out the name of the appropriate buyer. If they are available, great! Ask to talk to him/her. If they are not available, you can always call back and ask for the buyer by name.
If you are a bit nervous and don’t know what to say to a potential buyer, try this introductory dialog:
“Hi my name is Sandy and I produce a line of XYZ that I would like to introduce as a potential (gift, jewelry, clothing, souvenir … whatever it is that you produce) line for your store.” (Don’t tell them that it will be their next best selling item, because you don’t know that, and saying it does not impress buyers!)
Next, ASK them if you can email or mail them a line sheet and pictures of your products. Once you find out their preference for mail or email, follow through with the email or mail as soon as you can (with 24-48 hours!).
After a few days to a week or so (if you mailed your info), call back again, remind the buyer who you are and reference the day you emailed or mailed them a packet of your information. Ask them if they had a chance to look through your product information.
If they say no, ask when you should get back to them and set a reminder to follow up when they tell you to.
If they say yes, ask them if they had any questions or concerns. Make sure to listen very carefully to what they say as it will give you insights to their level of interest, if they need more information or samples, or if they are just too busy to talk to you about it. (NOTE: Never send samples unless they ask or tell you to send them!)
Depending on their answer, suggest an opening order for their store or ask when you can get back to them (if they are too busy to talk to you at that time).
If you don’t receive an order, plan to call every 7-10 days until you get a firm yes or no. Often times if they tell you no, the timing is just off — maybe there is no open-to-buy at the moment. At that point, ask if there is a better time to check in with them again and, of course, make a note of the time and date to follow up.
After the purchase is made and shipped, I would follow up again in a week or two to make sure they got the order, they understand the paperwork etc., and ask how their customers are liking the line. I would also ask when they would like you to follow up again (for re-order). If they don’t give you a time frame, I would call back in about 3 to 4 months to see if they need to reorder.
After using a system like this, contacting buyers becomes easier and more effective.