Pitching Retail Buyers – How to Get Your Product in Stores

Hey, everyone. This is Karen Waksman, founder of Retail MBA. Today, we’re covering the five things to consider when pitching retail chain stores. If you have a great product

New Training Video – 5 Things to Think About Before Pitching Retail Buyers

Transcript for this Video on Pitching Retail Buyers

Hey, everyone. This is Karen Waksman, founder of Retail MBA. Today, we’re covering the five things to consider when pitching retail chain stores. If you have a great product that you think would be perfect for Walmart or Macy’s, Home Depot, Kroger grocery store, or whatever it is for you, we’re covering the five things to think about when you’re pitching them and when you’re reaching out to them with your physical product. Let’s talk about those five things.

5 Things to Consider When Pitching Retail Buyer

They Can’t Hear you

The first thing I want you to consider is that most of the time, they can’t hear you. So what does that mean? Often, people are reaching out to retail chains themselves without guidance. Maybe they got a buyer’s list, and they paid for it, or maybe they submitted their product online to retailers. They’re just following their own strategies, but also trying to cut corners and save on cost by going after retailers themselves. The issue is that if you don’t know how to pitch the buyer correctly, the retail buyer is going to look at your information, kind of skim it and either not reply, or you’re just not going to get your products in the stores. Why? It’s because you’re not saying the words or things that matter to them correctly, and so they just kind of ignore you.

I’ve seen some of the most amazing products not get into retail chains simply because they are not being heard by the retailer because they just didn’t take the time to really consider finessing the verbiage, setting it up correctly, learning about how to do that and so forth before they pitch retailers. Hence, they just can’t hear you. That’s too bad because you deserve to get your products in the retail chain. Bottom line, focus on creating the best possible pitch for your retail product. It will make a huge difference for your business.

Talk About Your Success

The next thing to consider is they want more info about what you’ve done in the past, and so what does that mean? Pretty much every retailer would love to hear about your retail successes. If you’ve sold anywhere before, let’s say you’re trying to sell to Walmart, they’d love to hear about any other retail chains that you’ve sold into. Why? Because they love to hear that your product is not too risky. You see, if you’ve never sold your product anywhere before, they may get concerned if your product works for their store and would sell.

What do you do if you haven’t sold your product anywhere before? Well, there are ways to express that in such a way to get the buyer to believe that your product will sell, that your product will make them money even if you’ve never sold anywhere before. You might be thinking “How can I say that?” I’ve taught tens of thousands of people across the globe on how to get products in the retail chains. I have so many clients who got in the world’s largest retail chains without any sales. They haven’t gotten their products into stores anywhere. They went from selling nothing to getting into the majors, and so forth, so I know it’s possible. Pitching your product without ever having sold to a retail store takes some extra work, but generally speaking, they want to hear what’s been done with your product because they want to make sure the product’s going to sell once they put it in stores. Again, all this is learnable, but you just have to consider that.

Buyers Care About You

The next thing that most people don’t realize when they are thinking about things to consider before or when pitching retail chains is that these buyers can’t ignore you. What does that mean? Well, most people have the common misconception that the retail chains don’t care about you, and have so many products in stores that they’re not really going to pay attention to you. This is absolutely ridiculous to think such a thing. Today more than ever, these chain stores are hungry for the next new product. I have friends who are Walmart buyers. Trust me, I talk to all sorts of retailers all the time. I do large events and so forth, and we partner with buyers and everything, so I know that these buyers are scouring the web, going to trade shows, excited about when people approach them in very specific ways. Trust me, they are looking for that next new product.

The reason that’s important for you to know is because you should not pass up the opportunity to sell in retail because you believe retailers are not interested in looking for new products. It’s not true. The other thing to note is that they don’t mind if you’re a small company, if you’re startup or whatever. As long as you present your product appropriately, they would be very interested in the product. The reason for that is because their customers are looking for that next new product, and these retailers know that they will lose clients if they do not get new products in those stores. It’s a very different game today than when I first got started. Back in the day, it was not a big deal if the big manufacturers ran everything. Today, small companies have the opportunity to get in retail stores fairly easily, and that’s because these customers want that next new product. The retailers know that the small guys have that product, so definitely are hungry for new product.

Know Your Product Inside and Out

Next thing to consider is they want more insights today than ever about your systems and your processes. What does that mean? These retail chains are really curious about who you are as a business because they are really afraid that if they do business with you, that you might not deliver right. If you don’t deliver, they lose …. They have nothing on the shelves. Every square footage is accounted for, so what that means is that they’re going to look into what you’re up to, make sure that you’re going to deliver on time, they’re going to look at your shipping, your deliverability. Sometimes, they’ll explore your manufacturing and make sure that you got everything figured out. They’re going to explore you and your funding, and whether or not you’ll be able to pay for these orders because they just cannot afford for people to mess up when they’re working with them.

The good news is all the stuff is learnable. All this stuff can be cost-effective. It doesn’t have to cost a lot and so forth, but it is something that you have to think through before you reach out to these guys or when you’re pitching out to them because they actually are going to care about your systems and processes because they want to make sure again that they have a great partner, and it’s worth their effort to work with you.

Don’t Annoy Retail Buyers

The next thing is, and the last thing is that they wish you wouldn’t annoy them. That’s pretty funny to say but many people reach out to retail chains, and they reach out directly to the buyers and so forth, but they do it in a way that’s really infuriating to a buyer, and so the buyer is not interested in their product. Now, that doesn’t mean that the buyer doesn’t want to hear from you. If you approach them in a way that’s effective, that’s interesting to them, you’re saying the right words, trust me, they would be happy to know about your product and happy to know about you.

The problem is a lot of people are sending out information to the retailers, long-winded information, lots of detail, lots of words. These buyers don’t have the time to kind of decipher code because you may think that you have explained your product perfectly but for a retailer, they don’t have time to read through everything to figure stuff out or they don’t have time to open 3D graphics or whatever.

People get very creative when they’re very excited about their products. My point in sharing that with you is that they would love to know about you but a lot of times, you annoy them, so you definitely want to learn how to actually approach them correctly because one chain store order could be 10x or 100x tons your business. I mean, it can grow your business exponentially.

Final Thoughts

I hope that these five things to consider when pitching retail chains helps you when considering selling your products to retail. Again, this is Karen Waksman, Retail MBA. If you are interested in learning exactly how to approach, pitch, and sell to retailers, we actually do a live event almost quarterly. Our events are called Retail MBA live. You can take a look at the link below. The website for that event is retailmbalive.com, and basically, not only do we spend a full day with you walking you through exactly how to make money with your physical product, we help you create a pitch, your strategy, everything. We also help you partner and get your products reviewed by retailers and so forth.

You’ll definitely want to come to one of our events because they’re amazing and magical, and people love them. Anyways, I hope this helped. By the way, please be on the lookout for more trainings that I create because I’m here to support you in actualizing your dream of getting into retail chains. Thanks so much.

Pitching Retail BuyersAbout 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.