Becoming a Sports Academy Vendor – How to Sell to Chain Stores
Would you like to sell a product to a retailer such as Sports Academy while Becoming an Academy Vendor?
How would you like to get your product into their stores? Watch the video above for some quick tips and strategies on becoming a Sports Academy vendor!
Also, if you want to maximize your chances of becoming a vendor for retailers such as Sports Academy, you really need to know…
- How to find the buyers contact information
- How to get a meeting with that buyer
- And then how to pitch them
I’ve covered all of this in a training series that I’m offering for FREE right now…so sign up in the box to the left and I’ll start walking you step by step through the rest of the process!
To Your Success,
About the Author: Karen Waksman, Founder and CEO of Retail MBA, is an Entrepreneur Magazine, MSNBC and New York Times Company go to retail expert on the subject of selling to retailers! Karen has sold millions of units of products to the world’s largest retailers and has taught 1000’s of product companies across the country on the subject of selling to retailers at places such as CES (Consumer Electronics Show), US Patent Office, Stanford University, International Home and Housewares Show and so many other places. Her goal is to empower and inspire companies to transform their businesses by providing them all of the necessary information they need in order to become chain store vendors.
10 Ways to Sell to Retailers Such as Academy Sports and Outdoors!
- Major retail buyers are looking for you at Academy Sports and Outdoors!
Most people don’t realize how important it is for a major retail buyer to buy new and interesting innovation. It’s a huge part of their purchasing strategy. At the end of the day, major retailers are dealing with a tremendous amount of competition and their customers are finicky and they want the next best, new, cool thing in the store. The retail buyers know this, they are always looking for new products. This is the best time ever to get your products into a chain store. You just need to understand how to prepare your product in order to get the buyer to buy.
We work with brands in every product category as a retail consultancy! Check out what we are up to here: https://www.retailmba.com
- You don’t have to be a big company to sell to Academy
In fact, most of the companies that I have represented over the years have only been small start-ups. It’s really true that the buyers care more about finding the right product than they do about the size of your company. If you have a great product that they believe will generate revenue for their company, trust me,they will care about that more than anything.
They don’t care as to whether or not you’re a big company or small, they just want to make sure that you’re set up properly to be able to ship products to them (and I talk about that in my actual Retail MBA Training and Coaching System here:; https://www.retailmba.com). But just know that you don’t have to be a big company to sell to major retailers. I know this because I have been representing companies who were just starting out and so forth and obviously I teach this to all sorts of students who are small and are just getting started.
- Packaging is essential to your success while Becoming a Academy Vendor
If I can give you any advice on selling to major retailers, it’s that you should always spend more time, money and effort on packaging. The reason is that when you walk into a store you’re not looking at your product, you’re looking at the product in its packaging. People are not going to buy your product just on the product alone; packaging really does matter. So a person needs to make sure that whatever product that they have that their packaging is on point, because ultimately a buyer is going to pay attention to that because they know the packaging drives sales. And that’s what matters to buyers. So packaging is absolutely essential to your success.
- You must do the necessary homework and research to help you win!
Most people don’t realize how much information is available to them by simply walking into a store and checking out product aisle. The truth is that you can find out exactly about what a buyer wants to purchase, simply by looking at what they put on their store shelves. A store shelf will tell you what the retail price should be, what your packaging should look like and everything. I mean, if you think about it from a buyer’s perspective, they said yes to one of your competitors. Which means that they purchased your competitor’s products which are currently on the store’s shelves which means that the buyer likes that product the way that it is: they like the pricing, they like the packaging, they like the way that it’s set up. And just by simply going into a store and doing the necessary homework and research, you can ultimately learn how to get your products into stores.
- Avoid Vendor Departments
Really what that means is, that you should avoid contacting the front desk of a chain store and asking how you should get your products into their stores. Basically you should avoid doing what everybody else does, which is filling out the forms that they provide you online. So if you call a major retailer and you try to get your products to the stores, most people call the front desk, and the front desk redirects them to a department, either a place on their website or an 800 number or something.
And they ask you to fill out a bunch of forms and submit your products to them. I think that is the worst way to get your products into stores because you cannot differentiate yourself; you’re doing what everybody else does and you basically leave it up to fate and whoever is processing stuff online, to determine whether or not your products should get into stores. What retailer professionals do, they contact the buyers directly, which is what I teach people. And I teach you what to say to buyers to ultimately get them to buy, but tip number 5 is, avoid vendor departments and go directly to the buyers. Don’t follow protocol, don’t go after chasers? 4:34 by calling the front desk and filling out forms. There are other ways to get your products into stores.
- Find the right buyer’s name and contact information
Most people don’t realize that there are places that you can go to, to get a buyer’s contact information and ultimately figure out which buyer is responsible for your product type. So there are companies, to give you an example, there’s a company called RetailBuyerLists.com, and they actually sell lists of buyer’s names. That’s one example. I actually have a full tutorial on this in my program. And when you look at their contact information, you’ll see what the buyer is responsible for buying.
So if you have a consumer or store product, you can find the specific buyer that will buy your product and there are companies out there who actually sell that content that you can use and it’s very important that you find the right buyer for your product type. Again I cover of all in detail in my program, but it’s important to note.
- Make nice with the assistant buyers
What does this mean? Well most people don’t realize that buyers usually start their career as an assistant buyer. And basically what they mean is that assistant buyers become buyers very soon. So all buyers start as assistants and then they eventually become buyers and most people treat assistant buyers as basically secretaries; people who are assistants and so forth. But I think it’s a very, very bad idea because assistant buyers will be buyers soon and ultimately if you’re nice to those assistant buyers, you will ultimately be able to get your products into stores.
You have no idea how many times I’ve gotten a product into a store, because I was nice to that assistant buyer. I was different to them than everybody else because I knew how valuable they could be in the long run because I knew that they would ultimately become a buyer for that product type. And so I’m always nice to the assistant buyer and that’s something to consider as well.
- Explore vendor day
So what’s vendor day? Vendor day is a day of the week, the month or the year where a buyer enables vendors – potential vendors, people who have products – to come to their corporate office and basically pitch them. It’s one day where the buyer actually goes and enables maybe 10 vendors in one day to go and essentially pitch their wares. You usually have 15-30 minutes with that buyer and it’s your time to shine and ‘wow’ them. And so that is vendor day. Buyers do this all the time because they are constantly looking for new products.
So anyways, I think it’s very important that you know that vendor day is one great way of getting in front of a chain store buyer. Now personally I have a whole lot of other ways to get products into stores and it’s definitely not related to vendor day because I like to have one on one meetings with buyers; I don’t like my competitors there on the same day as me. So I’m always going to try to get that buyer alone, but if there’s no other way of getting a product into a store, I will ultimately go through vendor day.
And to give you a quick tip on how you can do that (how you can get a meeting with that buyer for that vendor day), simply call their assistant and say ‘I would like to be a part of your next vendor day.’ So their assistant buyer can help you get a meeting with that buyer on vendor day. So that’s something to consider, but again, there are so many other ways to get products into stores and I usually use vendor day as my last approach, but it’s definitely a way of getting in front of a meeting with a buyer. And again, it’s like 15 minutes you have and then back to back – zip – and that buyer is meeting with vendors all day and ultimately if they like your product, they will potentially buy your product but that’s what vendor day is and it’s something to know.
- It’s a numbers game
I can’t even tell you how many students of mine who have called me after they started going after chain stores and they just don’t realize how many retailers they have to go after in order to get that one hit. And the thing about selling to retailers is that you just need one chain store to say yes to your product; put it into their store, to have the product to sell during a test, to ultimately get your whole business to change. One major retail order – successful retail order – can change your business completely. And so it is a numbers game; you have to contact a lot of these chain store ’cause you’re going to get a lot of no’s; it’s a part of selling to chain stores, but ultimately the good news is, is that you only need some chain store buyer to buy your product and it to be successful in order for you to succeed.
So just know that it’s a numbers game and that you should never give up and that you will ultimately, if you believe in your product, can get your product to the stores and I teach you exactly what to do to get products into stores, but just know that it’s absolutely a numbers game – meaning that you have to contact a lot of different chain stores and ultimately all you really need though is that one shot and people get that one shot and that’s where their lives change. And that’s why I think it’s so cool to sell to chain stores.
- Just don’t give up
I know that it seems overwhelming, the concept of selling your products to the major retailers, but I’m telling you it’s not that complicated, it just takes time and effort and focus and desire. If you really believe that your product should be in stores, you don’t give up, you continue and you ultimately get your products into stores. I’ve had students who reach out to tons of buyers, it’s very discouraging and frustrating and then one day, they get that ‘yes’ and their whole lives are changed and it was so worth the journey. So if I could give you any advice, it’s don’t give up.
I hope these top ten tips for getting your products into chain stores help you get at least a feel for what it’s like to get your products into stores. Obviously I cover the entire run-through of how to get a product into stores, including how to pitch buyers in my Retail MBA program (https://www.retailmba.com), but I felt like this was a really good start to get you going.