How to sell products to retailers seems to be the biggest obstacles for new producers. Actually, over the years, I have learned that there is a step by step process that is invaluable when you approach your first wholesale buyer.
- Know your product
- Know your potential buyer
Okay, a bit simplistic, but the basis for most sales.
Know Your Product
Knowing your product should seem easy, but are you prepared for all the questions a buyer may ask such as:
- What are your terms?
- How quickly can you ship or deliver?
- How well does your product sell in other stores?
- What is your return policy or do you have one?
- What demographics does this product appeal to most?
And then there are the questions that they may wonder about, but don’t ask, such as:
- Are you dependable?
- Will you answer my questions/concerns after I receive your products?
- Will you follow up with me when necessary?
- Will you or what will you do to help me sell your products?
Know your potential buyer and their store
I highly recommend conducting some extensive research on the store before you contact them. Now, I have seen some coaches with a three page list of things to look for in a retail outlet — which are thorough — but personally, if I had spent that much time researching a store or buyer, I would not have time to actually sell products to retailers!
So, this is what I suggest you ask yourself when doing your research:
- Does this store cater to your particular niche? In other words, if they sell stationary supplies, they are likely to sell greeting cards.
- Do they sell similar items to your own? Maybe they are looking for a complimentary item or a similar item in a different price range. Either way, this may be the beginning of a great fit.
- Are they similar to other retail outlets you have successful sold to. If you are a newbie, does the store attract your ideal customer? If you have been selling online or at craft fairs, you should have a strong sense of who your ideal customer is.
- Would you refer your retail customers to this store? Maybe you never intent to make these kind of referral, but that does not matter — would you feel comfortable having your products there and referring people to this particular store?
- Are the store personnel friendly towards their customers and you, as a supplier? May not seem important, but the last thing you want to do is sell to a store that is rude to you (believe me, I have first hand experience with this and it is not fun!)
Once you have researched and have a good handle on the two main concerns, you are ready to pitch your products.
For more information about the next steps, check out the following articles to learn more about how to sell products to retailers: