When dealing with a boutique, it is important to note that the owner is typically the buyer or purchasing agent. If not the owner, the store manager usually handles the buying. Nevertheless, there is typically a buyer who buys for a particular boutique, and they are fairly easy to find because they usually work at their store!
This is very different from major retailers because you can actually hop in your car and approach these boutique owners with your products. And that’s what I would do! I would start locally. I would hop in my car, bring my products with me and introduce my product to the buyer/ owner.
And as soon as I figure out what works in terms of my pitch, I would then start selling to boutiques in other regions and then start hiring sales representatives to take it from there.
Why do I suggest waiting to work with sales representatives?
In my opinion, I believe that when you are first getting started, it’s important to invest the time in getting to know your potential buyers.
What are they saying about your product? What do they like about it? What don’t they like about your product?
If you have a sales rep out on the road, you can ask them to get this information for you. But the time spent one-on-one with your early clients will be invaluable to your success because you will learn so much!
Think about it – if you are the one who initially approaches boutiques about your product, you will learn about packaging, pricing, objections, deliverables that you need in order to do business with these retailers.
You will also learn an invaluable skill – you will learn how to grow your own revenue!
You can’t always rely on sales reps to grow your business – sometimes they quit or they don’t sell enough or they get busy selling other people’s products.
What are you going to do if you really need extra revenue but your sales rep disappears? It’s your responsibly to keep your business growing as you hire more sales reps!
So my suggestion is to get the skills necessary to approach these boutiques yourself. Learn what you need to learn and hand the sales over to reps that can help you grow your business once you’ve closed a few sales.
I know this is contrary to popular belief but I’ve worked with 1000’s of small product companies across the globe – and I’ve definitely seen a pattern with small business owners. Those that are willing to get uncomfortable and do some of the dirty work usually experience success more often. 🙂
I know there are always exceptions to the rule, but I’m hoping you get my point. No one cares about your business more than you, so give it your best shot by first approaching boutique retailers yourself and then approaching sales reps to expand the business for you once you have everything dialed in.
To receive some additional tips, watch this short video on the subject:
P.S. We have a training program that can walk you through the process of exactly how to approach, pitch and sell to boutiques. No sales experience or buyer relationships required! If interested, check out- Small Retail MBA.