Tips for Retail Success

From the Entrepreneur’s Perspective: How I Got A Second Chance After Getting A “No”

So here’s how I got a meeting with a major retailer in an assortment where Psi Bands had been previously booted.

I was so inspired by this blog post, “Target Pitch: 3 Ways This Little Brand Turned Moderate Sales Into More Stores,” by former Target buyer, Vanessa Ting, that I took action.

Background: Crunching numbers is not my favorite thing. Give me an opportunity to market, I’m all over it. But, it’s not about what I like or don’t like. Understanding the numbers and how to make that data work FOR our businesses is critical to the success of any business. As such, I dove deep into some recent market data that I obtained. So deep that I had lunch at 3pm and thought my eyes were permanently placed in the back of my head. A small price.

Here’s what inspired me about Vanessa’s article, and the outcome of my efforts.

Inspiration: I loved that Vanessa told us to lead the story, a real story, but nevertheless the story we wanted to positively tell. Remember what I said above: I love marketing. I can tell a story, and so can you. As a former grant writer, I used story telling to earn the confidence of grantors through a thorough analysis of what they’d be funding. Story telling is both science and art. Now I was getting back to my comfort zone.

Outcome: I put together a page and a half recap of our recent marketing efforts and successes in a bulleted outline that included circulation/reach/readership to show what we are doing to drive sales to our retailers along with recommendations (also in a bulleted format so that the info is quickly digestible) for why I felt Psi Bands warranted a spot in this particular retailer’s set – using REAL data to back up my recommendations.

I then sent this recap to my former buyer who is managing a very competitive space and has been with her company for a very long time and knows her stuff. She’s highly analytical so my story had to be based on real data in order to have any credibility. Note: This was a set/planogram (POG) where Psi Bands were previously selling but we lost that account. I needed to make a compelling case for why we were now ready to earn that space back on the store shelf – what variables had changed since we were booted. My call to action in this recap (you always want to end your conversation with a call to action, and make it one that is easy for the buyer to respond to): May I meet with you during your upcoming category review?

The result: The buyer invited me to meet with her during her upcoming category review. She doesn’t take appointments lightly. She once told me she gets 400 emails a day. Clearly she doesn’t have time to dilly dally. Additionally, she knows I am traveling across the country to meet with her and she is respectful of others’ time. She is not doing anyone a favor to take this meeting unless she feels it will be a potential win/win. Clearly there are no guarantees as to whether I will regain distribution at this prominent retailer, but at least I am that much closer having taken action by following Vanessa’s tips.

I encourage you to take similar actionable steps to tell your compelling story.

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