Tips for Retail Success

From the Entrepreneur’s Perspective: Five essential tips for getting the attention of a retail buyer!

By Romy Taormina

To gain a buyer’s attention, I email them. This sounds overtly simplistic if you have the buyer’s contact info. But if you don’t have their contact info, it can be a herculean act to obtain it.

Some tips for obtaining the buyer’s contact info:

1. Almost all web sites these days have corporate phone numbers (I have actually come across some that do not). Call up the company, ask for the name, phone and email address of the person to whom you wish to communicate (i.e. baby buyer, OTC buyer, Fem Hy buyer). Sometimes the receptionist will give you the contact info you wish, or at least the buyer’s assistant’s contact info.

2. If #1 above doesn’t work (i.e. the receptionist just won’t give you any information except for a corporate mailing address), call back the next day and see if you get a different receptionist who is more compliant.

3. If #1 and #2 above don’t work, and you have some great press to share (if you don’t have some great press to share, go get some and then do the following), go back to the company’s web site, find out who their PR/Media contact is (most major retailers have a media contact listed on their web site and/or have press releases included that indicate a press contact), and contact the media person by phone. Lead with an explanation of your recent press and that you wish to discuss your recent success with the buyer, and ask the media contact for the buyer’s contact info. I have used this approach successfully in the past.

4. Go to the store you wish to do business with and ask to speak with the store manager. Give them your elevator pitch and ask them for their regional or corporate buyer’s contact info.

5. If all else fails and you can not get in touch with the buyer via email, send them your pitch via snail mail along with product samples (if you can afford to do so. I realize that not all products can be sampled). Note: do not expect to receive unsolicited samples back.

Once I have the name of the buyer and their email, I email them. I have found ALL buyers to be super busy. Some will not even pick up their phone. I find that most prefer email to phone – they can check it at their convenience and everything is in writing.

My emails are succinct. I introduce myself, my product (Psi Bands), and why I feel they should consider adding my product to their assortment (within the email, I include a photo of Psi Bands in and out of package and a reputable media feature to catch their attention). As an attachment, I include a customized PowerPoint presentation (stay tuned for an upcoming blog on Five must-have items for your retail pitch to buyers!).

In my email, I ask for their reply. If I don’t get one, I follow up. Again and again (don’t hound the buyer, but follow up. Don’t give up). Always be mindful of the buyer’s time. They are extremely busy. You should always be respectful, polite, and even add humor where appropriate (who doesn’t enjoy a good sense of humor?).

Stay tuned for the next blog post on 5 Essential Tips for Getting the Attention of a Retail Buyerbut from the Retail Buyer’s perspective.

2 thoughts on “From the Entrepreneur’s Perspective: Five essential tips for getting the attention of a retail buyer!

  1. Hi Vanessa and Romy,

    I am a little curious about the ppt. Mine is 14mb which is a little big, it seems, as an attachment. When I contact the buyer for the first time, should I include it? Or ask if I can send it?

    Also, my product is quite new so my total sales is low. What is the best way to state that in the ppt.

    Thanks!

    Like

    1. You should always try to include your PPT in your initial contact with the buyer. If you can’t minimize the size further through less graphics, smaller image sizes or less slides, then an alternative is to send it through services like You Send It. The drawback is you risk “drop off” since this requires a few extra mouse clicks and effort. But if you have a well-written cover note, it will hopefully entice the buyer enough to go through the extra effort.

      If your product is new, show both the sales history thus far and volume projections. Make sure to state the assumptions used in building your volume projections (e.g., market size, growth rates, etc.)

      Romy? Anything to add that has worked well on your end?

      Like

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