Selling into retail stores is like any business to business sales cycle. It can be a long and tedious process during which you’ll probably want to hit your head against a brick wall several times!
Retail stockists are a key component to any wholesale business and if you’re not a sales person it can be a very challenging process.
We are going to explore some of the fundamentals that are going to help you establish good relationships with new stockists.
The right approach
Approaching new stockists can be daunting if you haven't got a lot of sales experience.
The first thing you need to realise is that you are developing a relationship with the buyer of the store. Your first visit should be about educating them that your brand exists. A lot of the time they will not place an order on the first interaction so don’t push for a sale unless they initiate it.
Influence the right people
Buyers will take a lot of advice from their floor staff. They are the ones talking to customers, getting feedback and requests on a daily basis. So think of ways you can influence their staff. Talk to them about your brand and if they think it would be a good match for the store. Again you don’t need to push a sale, just be friendly and ask for their opinion.
Before a retailer is going to buy from you they first must trust you. They need to trust that you are going to deliver the the full order and deliver it on time. They are also looking for good business administration and processes. They need to know that you are organized, efficient and aren't just going to give them a handwritten invoice. Be professional and invest in good systems.
Retailers are going to stock brands and that already have demand. They want products to draw customers to their store. A simple way of showing your demand is by putting together a booklet filled with your marketing, press releases, event photos and any other clippings that show your brand out in the market. Show them the demand for your products.
Consignment stock is stock that is on sale-or-return basis with the retailer. The retailer is selling the stock on your behalf, meaning that you still own the stock and they take their cut only when the stock is sold. They’ll give the rest back after the sale period. This can be good for the retailer to minimise their risk as they don’t need to pay up-front for your products. It can also be a nightmare to manage but consignment orders might just be your way into the retailer store you want. Try offer a consignment order as a test run for retailers who are hesitant about placing an order.
Understanding these fundamentals should give you the knowledge to go out and start hustling. Call, visit and engage with retailers today. Go get em'