Short answer to the question “Am I contacting buyers often enough” is probably no.
I, like most new producers and sales people, thought that contacting buyers frequently was equal to the unwanted door-to-door visits from religious organizations! Not true, in most cases!
First, let’s be clear, buyers are busy people and often forget to re-order your products when their shelves are empty.
Indie Retail Academy got it right with their advice
“If my stockists want more of my stuff, they’ll get in touch with me.”
The good news: That’s certainly what your stockists will intend to do.
The bad news: A lot of the time, we’ll forget. Or get distracted. Or have our heads turned by one of the three hundred other lovely things that have been pitched to us this month.
The solution: Keep your stockists warm by getting in touch at regular intervals. Take responsibility for keeping our wholesale partnership alive. If you don’t, it’s very easy for us to forget all about you.
Frequently, when I was a road rep, I was greeted with an explanation from my buyer: “I am so glad you are here as I needed to order this (gourmet food) or that (gift item).”
Of course these buyers could have easily picked up the phone and called me, but they didn’t — meaning I need to make the effort to contact them.
Which brings us to another question, that Indie Retail Academy answers
“My stockists will think I’m pestering them if I make contact too often.”
The good news: It’s actually pretty hard to pester a retailer who already likes you. And you know they do, because they bought your stuff.
Most of the time, we’re just glad to hear from you. If you’re sending us emails three times a week or are constantly on the phone, that would be annoying. But every month or so? That’s not likely to be a problem.
The bad news: Staying in touch does become pestering if there’s no value to what you say. There has to be a benefit for the retailer every time you contact them.
The solution: Train your stockists to expect good things from you. When they see an email from you in their inbox, you want them to think “Oh, brilliant. I wonder what she’s got for me today?”
What comes next is up to you. It could be a sneak peek at your new collection, a special offer, a request for feedback on a new product, a reminder about your Christmas delivery dates or a quick note to say “I saw this article and I thought you’d enjoy it.”
Like the quote says, unless you are calling and emailing every week, it is doubtful you are ‘pestering’ your buyers.
Good ahead and contact them. They may tell you how happy they are to hear from you because they needed to place an order.
Win-win for everyone!