This is a common question. Many find that after the initial flurry of conversation with a retail buyer, the buyer suddenly goes radio silent. You send an email; but no response. Frustrating!
Do you wonder how often you should follow up before feeling like a pest?
Here’s my advice:
1) Build your communication cadence around the buyer’s timeline. In the initial conversation with retail buyers, ALWAYS ask when they will be making decisions AND how often they reset in stores. Between these 2 questions, you can ascertain the lead time on each reset and the decision timeline on each of those sets. This allows you to wisely choose *when* to follow-up with your buyer, as well as when to give up and move on. Knowing their timelines will save you tons of time and effort (and aggravation). In general, there are at least 4 pieces of information you should always get from the buyer in your first conversation that will set you up for success – and build momentum. Timelines are one of them. More on the other three in a future post.
2) Use newsworthy updates as a reason to follow-up. There is no rule of thumb for how long you should wait before following up again. You should only follow-up when you have something to share that is important to the buyer. There is nothing more unimpressive to a retail buyer than getting the same email content over and over again. If a buyer hasn’t responded to your previous emails or follow-ups, it’s because it lacked something noteworthy or time-sensitive. In my experience, both as a retail buyer and helping clients land retail placement, the ideal newsworthy update is one that announces upcoming marketing activity. It gives retail buyers a sense of urgency to buy *now* as opposed to buy *later*. Here are some examples of emails to buyers that have prompted a response because it instilled a sense of urgency. http://www.retail-path.com/letters/
So to continue the momentum after your meeting with a buyer, don’t send emails that look like:
“Hi Buyer, I am following up to see if you are still interested in carrying X in your stores.”
“Hi Buyer, I am following up on the samples you asked me to send you. Do you have any feedback?”
“Hi Buyer, we spoke a couple months ago after you expressed interest in our line. Are you still considering us for your Q4 assortment?”
or emails that re-explains your product and looks virtually identical to the first email you sent them.
Instead, send follow-up emails and communication similar to these examples.