Over the years, new producers have shared their stories of the good, the bad, and the ugly when working with their first wholesale buyers.
My heart goes out to these folks as I know their passion and determination – but I also see how their inexperience hurt their endeavors.
I still remember my first sales trip from northern Idaho down to the Boise area selling Lewis & Clark chocolate bars to gift shops along the way. Although, I had no experience selling wholesale, I was fortunate to have years of experience in sales and manage to do well enough – at least according to the low expectations I had at the time.
Over the years, I learned by trial and error what worked and what did not work when selling to retail buyers and became successful.
I have lots of resources, like the following, to help you set up the systems you need BEFORE you talk to your first buyer. Check out the free report below:
Best practices for beginners to selling wholesale
- Start small when first getting your feet wet in wholesaling. In other words, don’t try to get into Walmart your first time out. Start with smaller independent stores where the buyer/owner is probably right on site to talk with you when you visit the store
- Be professional and confident about your product or line of products. Don’t give the buyer the impression that you don’t know what you are talking about or that you are desperate to make the sale. Most buyers have a 6th sense and can spot a newbie within seconds of the meeting.
- If you worked through the systems listed in the document linked above, you should have a good standard wholesale price. In order to conduct your business in a professional manner (and according to the guidelines in the Robinson Patman Act), your wholesale price is your wholesale price to every store you deal with. If the buyer hints at wanting a discount or lower price, he/she is taking advantage of your inexperience. Selling wholesale should not embrace a flea market mentality. Your prices are your prices (unless the buyer wants a large opening order where you can extend a discount on XX items – as long as you adopt that policy for all your stores).
- Never over promise. If it is going to take several weeks to fill the order, tell them a bit longer than you think it will take. Then, if you get it done before the due date, the buyer will be pleasantly surprised and impressed when the order arrives early. It is always better to under promise and over deliver.
- Be very careful about special or custom orders. Do them, if you want, but make sure you have a full commitment up front before proceeding. We often ask for 50% down before starting a custom order.
- You are in charge! This is your line of products and if the first buyer you approach does not buy, there may be someone down the street that will!
Last, but not least, buyers are people just like you and I. I got through some of those first sales calls by remembering …. store buyers are just friends you haven’t met yet!