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  • #973985
    AlexML
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    Hi, I am venturing out to sell some new products soon, and want to find out more about how retailers prefer to be approached with new products. I guess the common methods would be:

    cold calling – phone
    cold call store visit by sales rep
    appointment by sales rep
    email
    see products in relevant publications
    see product at trade fairs

    as a retailer how do you like to find out about new products that would be good for your store? also what marketing tactics do you find offensive?

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Alex

    #1065388
    Mumnesia
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    Most prospective new suppliers usually email a product synopsis then follow up with a phone call a few days later, this is an approach adopted by my sales reps or agents as well.
    Some have walked in the door, and I have discovered others by trade fairs.
    Visiting retailers should be done during ‘cool’ selling days such as Tuesday’s & Wednesday’s (depending on the retailer too). I have found the unannounced drop in off putting when they have turned up at a bad time, but some have gotten the foot in the door that way, because I have fallen in love with what they have to offer.
    Finding an established sales agent in the industry can create a significant short cut to introducing your product to retailers, as they already have a strong relationship within the industry.

    #1065389
    AdServe
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    I know there is seek and the employment websites but does anyone know of any online communities or other places to find good established sales agents?

    #1065390
    Steve_Minshall
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    AlexML, post: 81137 wrote:
    Hi, I am venturing out to sell some new products soon, and want to find out more about how retailers prefer to be approached with new products. I guess the common methods would be:

    cold calling – phone
    cold call store visit by sales rep
    appointment by sales rep
    email
    see products in relevant publications
    see product at trade fairs

    as a retailer how do you like to find out about new products that would be good for your store? also what marketing tactics do you find offensive?

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Alex

    Hi Alex,

    I gave quite a lengthy response to a similar question before:

    find it here

    Good luck

    Steve

    #1065391
    MrSmithers
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    It depends a lot on the type of retail but in general;

    Newly established: Phone first, send brochure/business card, give website info, then visit.

    Once Established: Phone first and book a time.

    My two favourite reps don’t sell product. They impart knowledge about their products. One even brings me a donut.:) We have other reps who represent many companies in one portfolio and they pull out folder after folder of products and their order sheet. Even though we have booked a time, we still get busy and called away. It can get frustrating when they want you to look through whole catalogues.

    IMO, pick 5-10 good sellers – not your crappiest stock you need to get rid of – and print them on a sheet by themselves.

    If you have stock you need to get rid of because you cannot sell it, put it on a separate sheet.

    Depending on the product, HAVE samples.

    Even though the meeting was scheduled don’t get dis-heartened if no orders are taken straight away.

    Prepare some point-of-sale materials. This may be a cost you cannot afford starting out but it works better than without. The retailer probably has lots of brands to sell. Why is yours worth more effort than another one? Save the retailer the effort of in-store marketing and your product will sell and get re-ordered.

    Offensive marketing: Attitude by agents. Some agents probably don’t even realize when we don’t have an order for them that they act like a 2 year old and need to tell you how far they have just travelled to see us, their stuff sells better than their competitors etc. Or they keep asking for an order.

    Q: Would you like to order?
    A: No, not this time.
    Q: Hmmm, well it’s your loss because if it’s not in your store your not getting the margin. Are you sure you don’t want anything?
    A: No!
    Q: Well it’s getting to that time of year and we have some great products you should put at least one on the floor to show customers.
    A: No (in head: and now I won’t bother calling you if i do need it!)
    Q: Well where can u get a decent sandwich in this town? I’m due for lunch.
    A: You won’t get a decent sandwich anywhere here, you have to go a further 1hr down the road. (what a jerk!)

    While this actually happened, it is surprising how common it is for reps/agents to get all droopy when you don’t order.

    Send us a reminder in the email a week after your visit with a note about the store or something you picked up in conversation. Build a relationship first, impart your product knowledge second and you’ll never need to sell. We will become buyers.

    To find an agent simply ask the retailer at your first outlet who comes by. They’ll have a hundred business cards. But retailers LOVE the owner visiting.

    Good luck with your new venture.

    #1065392
    IgniteDM
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    As we also have 2 retail stores (for our IT businesses) – I would like to say that I absolutely hate cold calling. I am busy enough as it is without being interrupted by some phone call with someone waffling on!

    Send me a compelling email telling me how your product will fit in with my business and Ill be more likely to take it in!

    #1065393
    WhereAreThey
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    Mumnesia, post: 81341 wrote:
    Finding an established sales agent in the industry can create a significant short cut to introducing your product to retailers, as they already have a strong relationship within the industry.

    Mummesia has a great point here and I would take it further and say that if you can find current suppliers to your target market, talk to them about a joint venture of some sort maybe a profit share or similar so it is attractive to them to promote your product along with theirs to your target that way you can use the relationship they have built as your foot in the door and also they do the work for you freeing up time for you to do other things.

    One of these suppliers may have a product that you could combine yours with that would make it more attractive to the client thus making both products easier to sell making it a win win situation for you and the current supplier.

    Research is your friend the more you know about your target market and more specifically their suppliers and the companies and/or business’s they deal with and trust the greater chance for you to find an avenue that would be unique and beneficial to every one concerned. Also remember that you first need to help the supplier to see the benefits they gain from promoting/combining your product with theirs before anything else.

    #1065394
    breakkie
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    Steve_Minshall, post: 81736 wrote:
    Hi Alex,

    I gave quite a lengthy response to a similar question before:

    find it here

    Good luck

    Steve

    Hi Steve,

    What excellent advise you to give :)

    I even printed and highlighted the ones that I found would be most useful to me.

    Sending samples out with the letter, followed by a phone call sounds like such a good plan.

    Thanks for sharing that :)

    Regards,
    Ruchi

    #1065395
    Anonymous
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    This post is full of amazing info – thank you to everyone for sharing, and thank you to AlexML for asking the question!

    Steve and Mr Smithers (in particular, but I’d be interested in anyone’s answer) –
    Where product is not possible (ie a service), what would get your attention?

    Previous recommendations were phone calls. Yet years ago I had someone tear my ear off as I was his 24th caller for the day! Fair enough too, how is someone going to get any customers served or work done if all they do is answer the phone to sales reps?

    #1065396
    Steve_Minshall
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    MargaretO, post: 84856 wrote:
    This post is full of amazing info – thank you to everyone for sharing, and thank you to AlexML for asking the question!

    Steve and Mr Smithers (in particular, but I’d be interested in anyone’s answer) –
    Where product is not possible (ie a service), what would get your attention?

    Previous recommendations were phone calls. Yet years ago I had someone tear my ear off as I was his 24th caller for the day! Fair enough too, how is someone going to get any customers served or work done if all they do is answer the phone to sales reps?

    You need something that makes me pause for thought while sorting (remember the difference between sorting and reading) my mail. You are trying to create an anchor in my memory. A printed flyer is not going to do this so think laterally and brainstorm some silly and not so silly ideas.

    What particular service do you have in mind and maybe some ideas will come forward?

    #1065397
    Shaukat Adam Khalid
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    all i can say is understand the retailer’s problems. they get pitched all day. focus on their needs and demonstrate it. approach with the humble attitude of your product not being a right fit.

    in general, people dont care what you know until they know that you care. its not a cliche.

    put urself in the buyer’s position. u buy the wrong product and there goes your career advancement.

    #1065398
    DANKS
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    great thread guys!!! alot of great tips and ideas,
    I like to say to my self that there should be no such thing as a sales rep but rather customer service rep..

    #1065399
    EmbalmSkincare
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    Great reading!

    I just signed up this morning and it’s a great site.

    Regarding this thread, I am interested to know how generous I should be with a sample? Do I send a 100gr jar or just a small 15gr? Do I send more than one so that the staff will benefit too?
    I guess I could answer this myself because the staff doesn’t sign the cheque for the purchase. So, I need to send it the the one with the purchasing authority, which is the boss.

    Thank you!

    Mel

    #1065400
    UncoverHiddenProfits
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    Hi Alex,

    I personally think it doesn’t matter how a prospective customer is approached as much as positioning yourself as a welcome guest, rather than an unwanted pest.

    Imagine being in a conversation about a problem you are having,
    with a friend and having a stranger, and interrupt your conversation and ask you if you would like to buy their jacket. It’s a nice jacket, it’s your size, and in the colour you like. But I suspect that you will probably react in a negative way to this offer, because the person making the offer is “an unwelcome pest” and the conversation you were having was about the completely unrelated topic and you won’t even thinking about getting a new jacket.

    In a different scenario while you are talking to a friend about the same problem a complete stranger walked up and said “excuse me I couldn’t help but overhearing about your problem, and I think I may have a solution for and if you would like to try the solution I’m happy for you to try it for free to see whether it will actually fix your problem

    So I would suggest that your focus would be finding out what problem your target customer is currently having that your product or service would fix and then test and measure which particular method of delivery I.E.letter through the post, followed by a phone call, or perhaps personally hand delivering a package containing your introductory pack, then followed by a phone call.

    There are many ways that you can test and measure to approach a new client, but I think the fundamental thing you need to have correct in the 1st place is matching your message to what problem they are thinking about in their own mind they are already.

    I hope this helps a little Alex. There are some additional articles you might want take a look at on my site, click here to have a browse

    Cheers,

    Mick

    #1065401
    Steve_Minshall
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    Fingerfood, post: 90374 wrote:
    Great reading!

    I just signed up this morning and it’s a great site.

    Regarding this thread, I am interested to know how generous I should be with a sample? Do I send a 100gr jar or just a small 15gr? Do I send more than one so that the staff will benefit too?
    I guess I could answer this myself because the staff doesn’t sign the cheque for the purchase. So, I need to send it the the one with the purchasing authority, which is the boss.

    Thank you!

    Mel

    I would send 2 or 3 small jars. Its purpose is clear (its a sampler) but it is something that will get past the throw it in the bin reaction because it is more tangible than just a letter. Don’t underestimate the buying or selling influence of the sales staff. They would be useful advocates if they like the product. Also I could see a shop owner give one to a member of staff and saying try that and tell me what you think, you now have a discussion going. All good stuff to anchor your product in the mind ready for the follow up phone call.

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