When I first started selling to retailers, I visited each and every store on a regular basis. Of course, since I represented several different lines, this was a cost-effective method for me. But this may not be the best option for many.
With the internet and the convenience of email, this is often the easiest and quickest way to present your products, pitch your line and follow up with buyers.
Wholesale in a Box shares a wonderful article on dealing appropriately with email follow up. Here are their suggestions:
Dos and Don’ts in sending email to follow up with buyers
- Acknowledge that you’re following up.
You don’t need to sugarcoat it or pretend you’re doing something other than what you’re doing.
- Express respect and understanding of their situation, in a friendly and positive way.
Assume they’re well-intentioned AND busy. Expressing that understanding in your tone (and even explicitly in your words) is a wise thing to do.
- Include news or an update or additional discount.
You don’t have to, but if you just released a new product or have a discount you can extend, a followup email is a great spot for that.
- Decide ahead of time how much to check in and stick with it.
… set a followup schedule that is consistent — so that they don’t have to mull over (or stress over) whether and when to follow up, every single time. Don’t decide anew with each one — decide once what your plan is and carry it out.
- Don’t be stern or act annoyed.
Scan your email once you write it and see whether it is obviously friendly — if it’s not, soften it up a bit with a few friendly comments so that the retailer is at less risk of feeling scolded.
- Be sheepish.
You can be respectful and friendly without making yourself “less than” by using excessive qualifiers and apologies.
- Be too informal.
You should still use good formatting, good greetings and signoff, and a respectful tone in every email.
Excellent tips to follow!
One ‘do’ I would add is to be as helpful as possible. When a buyer sees that you are interested in them and their store, they will respond in kind. After all, this is about them, not you!
Remember, there is no hard or fast rule for following up. Just be yourself, be direct in your correspondence, and be friendly!
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