New Training on How to Get Your Product into Stores – 5 Things No One Ever Tells You About Selling to Big Box Stores
Do you have a product perfect for U.S. Retailers such as Macys, Home Depot, Walmart, CVS, Kroger Stores, etc?
And are you nervous about selling to them because you feel like you don’t have enough data?
Not to worry! Here are 5 tips and suggestions that no one ever discusses to help you get started today with chain stores. Click on the link to watch!
(For those of you who prefer to read this content, transcription is included as well below!)
Wishing you so much happiness and success.
Karen Waksman, Retail MBA
P.S. Want to Get Your Products into Chain Stores in a Fraction of the Time? Check out our Retail MBA System! We walk you through exactly how to approach, pitch and sell to chain stores. No sales experience, patents or buyer relationships required!
Transcription for How to Get Your Product into Stores – 5 Things No One Ever Tells You About Selling to Big Box Stores
Transcript – How to Sell Your Products to Stores – 5 Things No One Tells You
Hey everyone, this is Karen Waksman, founder of Retail MBA. Today, I want to talk about the five things no one ever tells you about selling into retail chains. So if you have a great physical product that you think should be on the shelves of say, Home Depot, Macy’s, Kroger Grocery Store, Walmart, CVS, whatever it is for you, this little training will walk you through the five things no one ever tells you about when selling to retail chains. So let’s talk about those five things.
First thing is you want to definitely walk the stores before you talk to a buyer. What does that mean? So say you want to sell to CVS. What’s going to happen is, you’re going to reach out to CVS in a very particular way, and hopefully get her interested in your product, but in that conversation, she’s going to ask you some very specific things. Especially if you have a physical buyer meeting, or she’s having some discussions about your particular product, she’s going to ask you which store you went to. This is for all retail chains. The buyers really want to double-check that you went to their stores, took a look around, and really studied what they’re doing, because she’s going to ask you when you went, which store, what you thought, what was missing and so forth.
The reason she’s doing that, is because she’s so tired of people just trying to sell her stuff, and you never even take a look at the stores or paid attention, or spent a lot of time trying to figure out how it could help her, versus only her buying products from you. She is dealing with people all over the globe contacting her all the time, and when you don’t walk her stores, it offends her. So there have been times where I literally couldn’t go to a store, because maybe the store wasn’t anywhere where I was living, and I would do anything to review those stores right before the meeting. I’d fly in early, whatever it took, because I knew she was going to ask that question.
You just want to honor that buyer, and what you’re looking for really is, okay, why would I put my your product into our stores? And you saw what was there, so give her some insights on what you thought, and so forth. It really will make all the difference for you. It sounds so simple, but so many people just say, “Yeah, yeah, I’ve been to a CVS in the past,” but really, it will make the difference between you getting that chain store order, because she’s going to dig a little bit, and you just can’t lie about it. She’s really going to push a little hard, most of the time. I mean, obviously there’s the exception to the rule, but you get my point.
The next thing is that people never tell you about selling to chain stores, is that you want to check out their resource center. So what happens is, when you’re reaching out and interacting with the buyer, she’s going to need you to have very specific things done before she can buy from you. Right? Makes sense. Like if you sell on Amazon, there’s X number of things that you have to do to put into place, before you can sell on Amazon. The same thing with chain stores, they have a whole system of things that they need to get done, before they can even place you in their stores, or online, and so forth. You need packaging, you need pricing, you need certain things set up, you also need liability insurance. There’s very specific things. It makes sense, right?
So one of the things you can do to help yourself, if you ever interact with a buyer, is before that meeting, you want to ensure that you checked out their vendor portal, so their resource center, essentially. What that means is go to Google, type in “Walmart vendor,” or “Macy’s vendor,” whatever it is, and essentially, take a look at the link that it sends you to, because it’s usually list a whole slew of requirements that they’re looking for, and they’re actually telling you some of the stuff that they need help with. They’re not going to give you specifics on a lot of other stuff, but the core basics, certain software you’re going to need, whatever it is they listed on their website.
Now, if you can start working on that list, that will really help you a lot with buyers, because she can’t buy from you until you set that stuff up. A lot of times people are like, “Well, I’ll reach out to the buyer, see if she’s interested, and then I’ll go for it.” Well, that kind of backfires a lot, because you’re wasting her time, and yours. If you’re going to go after stores, you want to do the prep work in advance. There’s obviously more to do with preparing for chain stores, but that’s a really, really solid start, checking out their resource guide.
The next thing is that you definitely want to make sure that you understand that just because you submitted your product and they reject you, it doesn’t mean that they’re always not interested in your product. It might have just been the time of the year, the date, the mood she was in, whatever, she might’ve gotten in trouble with her boss. There’s a million reasons why she would’ve rejected your product. And the reason I say that is, because I’ve seen some of the greatest products not get into chain stores, and most of the time, it’s some simple tweak that could’ve changed that person’s life, but they took it so personally, and they took it so seriously that when the buyer said no, they kind of ran away. They realized that people weren’t interested in their product, and they moved on, and that really isn’t the way to work with retailers.
You really want to honor them by making sure that you are going back and checking in again, because one thing people don’t realize, is that buyers change jobs all the time with chain stores. So what does that mean? Buyers change jobs every six months or a year, or around there. There’s a whole other video training in our YouTube channel that explains that in detail, but just know that a buyer changes jobs consistently, and so if that buyer said no to you, maybe six months down the line, she might not be there anymore. So just don’t give up, and don’t take it so personally, if she’s rejecting you. So this is really common silliness that people are going through, where they’re just kind of running away from retail, because they think that they’re over. It’s seriously, most of the time, a slight tweak to change your life for the better.
Another thing that I’m realizing over the years, is that you need to make sure that you are interacting with buyers correctly, and a lot of people don’t understand that. This kind of feeds into what we just talked about, which is the buyers reject often, and that slight tweak. Well, in the general case of what people don’t tell you, it’s that retailers actually have their own language, and their language means that if you can share with them what is interesting about your product in a very specific way, they will actually hear you, and if you don’t, if you talk about things that don’t matter to them, they literally, their brain will turn off and they’re not going to pay attention. It sounds so silly and stupid, but you’ve got to learn how to pitch to them correctly.
I have seen people spray and pray, where they buy lists of buyers, contacts, reach out just to see what happens, “Oh, I have enough sales experience in this world, but maybe not retail, but I’m good at this,” and then they get slaughtered by retail. It’s not because it’s hard, it’s not because it’s complicated to sell in the stores, it’s just literally a specific language. I learned this the hard way. When I first got started selling to chain stores back in the early 2000s, I thought I was cool. I had years of sales experience. I knew I could sell to anybody, but when I got to retail, man, they just did not hear anything I had to say, until I really understood who they were and what they wanted, and spoke to them deliberately in a specific way about my particular product I was trying to sell to them.
I literally wasn’t getting anywhere, and that’s when I started teaching people how to get products in the stores. Once I realized the verbiage that mattered to a buyer that ultimately got them to buy, that communication was so important to them, it was literally like I was saying the same thing in my mind, but in their mind, it was completely different. So anyways, get some support, get some coaching, get some help, because again, one chain store order can mean millions of dollars to your business and your bottom line. It behooves you to spend a little bit of time understanding their process and what they care about, to ultimately make that kind of money. And again, I’ve seen the worst products get into stores, I’ve seen the best products not get into stores. It’s not always about your product, it’s about how you can convince them that your product should be on store shelves. And I’ve seen a lot of stuff, and trust me, you can, a lot of times, get a buyer to pay attention to your product, if you’re willing to work at it a little bit. So anyway, that’s something to consider.
The final thing is that if you think someone will love your product as much as you do, you are kind of incorrect. What that means is a lot of times, you guys are bum rushing manufacturers reps, and sales reps, and people to go do the work for you. You want them to go sell, you just want someone else to do it. You’re the business owner, you’re whatever, you’re busy. You don’t want to do the work, I totally get you. The problem with that is that in the rep world, in the retail world, what happens is, is that people don’t care about your business as much as you do, and sometimes it takes a little while to open up that first account in chain stores.
Now, once you open up that first account, like say, Home Depot, whatever it is, then all of a sudden, it becomes so much easier, and it’s that first account, because what happens in the retail space, is the buyers are checking each other out and seeing what they’re buying, and so forth. So they might reject you just based on the fact that you’ve never sold to chain stores before, so you’ve got to work at it a little bit, and get them interested in your product line, someone to say yes to you, and then you go back to the other retailers, and it’s the weirdest industry, they would love to know that you sold your product to their competitors. It actually is a weird thing in this space. A lot of times they really, really want to know that you’ve actually had sales in retail.
Now, you have to start somewhere, and the reps will play around with it a little bit, but if it’s not selling right away, they’re not going to do anything for you, which is why people come to me two years later, a lot of times, when reps didn’t get them anywhere, and they had to figure out how to do the work themselves. So my point is, is that again, educate yourself, understand what’s going on in this space. Maybe help yourself out by opening up one account, and then handing the business over to somebody else, or just don’t have the expectation on day one that these reps are going to rock out, and you’re just going to crush it on day one.
They need to open up that first account, and you really need to do your due diligence on the rep that you’re working with, to ensure that they’re going to do good work for you, and so forth. And so, sometimes people just go for it, grab whoever says that they’re a professional, and then bad things happen, because they didn’t understand the space, they didn’t understand who they hired, and they delay their sales and stuff like that.
And there’s so many little things to discuss there, but anyways, I hope that provided value for you. If you want to learn the exact steps on how to approach, pitch, and sell to retailers, take a look at our webinar that’s coming up. It’s on how to sell your products to big box retail chains, the link to that is listed below. You can also take a look at retailmba.com/free to get more information, to get access to that webinar. We have a replay option as well, but basically, it’s 90 minutes, it’s free, and you can learn in detail how to get your products into stores. It’s really, really powerful stuff, so take a look at that. Otherwise, if you liked this information, please comment below and/or like, subscribe. Keep in touch with us. We are constantly adding new information. This is Karen Waksman, Retail MBA. Thanks so much for your time.