Is your product line complete and you’re wondering how to tackle your next big goal of breaking into retail? Keep reading to learn how to connect with and pitch your brand to retail buyers you’re interested in.
Your Brand’s Sell Sheet
Before you connect with retailers, we want to make sure you’re prepared. Is your sell sheet up-to-date? A sell sheet is a one-pager brand owners use when promoting their brand to potential buyers, and includes information and details that answer common buyer questions. Before connecting, review your sell sheet and confirm it includes the following information:
Your logo and product name
High resolution product images
Benefits of your product, backed by data
How buyers can order and receive your product
Buyers are continuously overwhelmed with emails and phone calls from brand owners trying to get into their retail stores on a daily basis, so it’s important that you have all of the above information complete and in a single place for them to review when you make contact.
By providing this information, you’ll help the buyer understand the ins-and-outs of your product and enable them to foresee what your product will look on their shelves and how it will fit in the free space they have.
Keep in mind that thousands of suppliers submit their brand daily, so ask yourself, how can I make my sell sheet stand out?
Target Retail Partners
A crucial step in your outreach process is identifying key retailers that directly serve your target consumers.
Independent retailers offer new brands one-of-a-kind advantages during the development period. By working with independent retailers your brand will:
Gain exposure in resident areas, giving your brand the ability to reach a new group of consumers you may not have alternatively.
Build sales numbers, enabling you to say you’re already selling 1,000 units (for example) daily through retailers in your region when pitching your brand to a major retail account.
Increase production capabilities by learning what strategies work best and what brick-and-mortar sales and marketing approaches generate a positive reaction. This is especially critical as big box stores request high-volume manufacturing.
View working with independent retailers as a channel to build your market resume. By achieving enhanced acknowledgement, revenue numbers, and manufacturing capacity you will be able to explain how your product will fit into a major retailer's present selection and why it’s different when compared to other brands they highlight on their store shelves at the present time.
Trade and networking events may look a little different due to the threat of the coronavirus and more recently the delta variant, however buyers are connecting virtually to keep the industry moving forward when in-person trade events are not an option.
Register as an exhibitor for in-person or virtual trade shows that fit your target audience. There, you’ll be able to connect with key decision makers and exchange information with buyers that are interested in your brand. If you can grow a relationship with a buyer on an individual level it will greatly boost your likelihood of booking a meeting and making a deal.
When you do connect, be as affable, experienced and inspirational as possible. Buyers are more inclined to be excited about your product when they are excited about you.
Your Script Outline
Before bringing a new brand in-store buyers want to understand how your product will be an advancement over what they presently carry in their category. The first step to an amazing pitch is knowing your product inside and out — Who is your target audience? What differentiates your brand from competitors? How many units do you sell on a weekly basis? Has your category grown over the past year?
It’s vital to start your pitch with thought grabbing data (For example, did you know the health and wellness category generated $639 billion dollars in 2020?). Buyers are focused on the figures and they want to be sure that your product will be an enhancement to their category before spending the time and resources it requires to bring you in.
The frame of your pitch should be focused on information found in your digital sell sheet. By including this information you’re providing everything a buyer considers in their decision making process, upfront, in a clear and brief demeanor.
Things to Keep in Mind
Now that you understand what your pitch should include, write out a script, word-for-word, from start to finish. This exercise will:
Assure you aren’t long-winded during your presentation
Allow you to speak to your brand and product line with conviction
Give you an idea of how long your pitch will take, allowing you to cut back, if need be, granting enough time to allow questions and answers at the end
Once you have your script complete, practice with an associate or friend, carrying out your pitch as you would during your buyer meeting. After your pitch is complete, ask that they give you candid feedback.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Here are a few tips, whether your pitch is in-person or virtual, to keep in mind:
Props — Your pitch should be unique and true to your brand voice. Enlist the support of props to demonstrate your product, and if you’re giving your pitch from home, keep in mind that the buyer will see everything within the camera’s view. Is there anything that you do to your home office to support giving the buyers a memorable experience through the screen?
Tech — Good lighting, clear audio, and a fast wi-fi connection are vital. Avoid tech issues being the reason a buyer loses excitement.
Presence — Keep eye-contact, carry your voice steady, and demonstrate with certainty and excitement.
After you’ve completed your buyer presentation, be sure to ask the buying team if there's any additional information they need to make their decision, and finally, if a buyer requests more information post meeting, respond quickly and precisely.
In-person trade events are a great way to connect with retailers and buying teams you’re interested in partnering with — Here are a few digital resources you are encouraged to leverage to support your presence on the trade show floor, and as an alternative when in-person events are not an option.
LinkedIn — Reach out to key decision makers and share your digital sell sheet.
Email and Phone Calls — Share your product pitch directly with buying teams and business contacts you’ve built relationships.
RangeMe — Create a free RangeMe profile and submit your brand to buyers sourcing products in your category.
We’re excited to witness the growth of your brand, from formulation to retail shelves. To learn more and stay up-to-date on news and insights, subscribe to the Freelance Formulations Newsletter at the bottom of our blog.