Unless you’re an experienced sales rep, knowing exactly how to pitch your product to a store might seem a bit daunting. And, to be honest, it’s probably going to be something you learn on the job.
Knowing the right way to pitch your product to a store will give you a leg up if you don’t know how to do face to face sales, and if you do know how to sell, the following will serve as a refresher and help you formulate your plan.
How to pitch
Distributors already have relationships with the large retailers. Put them to work for you, using their relationships to place your products. Large retailers don’t like to waste time, they want someone who knows the system. Find a distribution partner who understands what type of customer you are targeting and has the relationships with retailers that serve your target market.
Gain access to national retail chains by developing a quick and dirty retail list of stores you’d like to approach. Make sure that your product aligns with their current merchandising plans. Then reach out to buyers and distributors and share a pitch package that includes a cover letter, press kit, and product samples
When you’re just starting out, approaching stores you want to work with in person can be your best bet, and a strong strategy to build your retail presence. When you go into stores, be prepared to share your story, what makes you different, and why you think your products would be a great fit with the store’s existing customers and stocked items. And if you can’t get in touch with the right person, or they’re not working out of your local store? All is not lost.
I was able to get into national retail chains with my first business because I had something no one else had. We sold customized sports apparel. We knew what the market wanted and since they were our custom designs they were only able to buy them from our company.
You know your products are unique, but when you’re pitching stores, it’s even more important to highlight what makes you different from everything else they currently carry.
Being able to quickly and succinctly tell people what makes your products different at a moment’s notice (and having strong product differentiation in the first place) was the key to Cocokind’s success in getting into stores early on.
Demonstrating a product is incredibly powerful. Inc.com put together a great article on how to give a great product demo.
I recommend you read the full article but here are the important highlights:
One of the best ways to get into national chains is to build a solid following via social media sites, before you ever go in for your first meeting. Make a name for yourself, so they know your brand equity before you step foot in their building.