4 Secrets to Pitching Your Product To a Big Retailer

Have an item straight off the production line and now you are ready to get in stores and magazines? Now it's time to put a business plan to grab the attention of big retailers , so here are four pitch strategies that will the sweet spot.

1. Answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”

A common mistake is to focus on what the retailer can do for your product. A key to capturing a buyer’s interest is showing them how your product meets their strategic vision and ultimately, increase their bottom line.

2. Mitigate retailer’s risks.

Retailers worry about your product not arriving in time, unproductive inventory when your product does not sell, competitors taking market share, leaving sales on the table, and so much more. When approaching retailers, it’s important you have anticipated possible risks to the retailer and have a viable solution to mitigate their fears.

Financial risk is among the most common fear. Your company can offset this fear by suggesting a consignment program in exchange for trying your product. Another idea to alleviate the retailer’s risk of trying your product is to offer a marketing or promotional program to incentivize customers to buy your product at that store. Or if you have the funds, you can offer markdown coverage (that is, money to offset any markdowns taken to move inventory) in the event product does not sell.

3. Don't be a know-it-all.

You know your product best; however, you don’t know the retailer’s business as well as they do. It’s wonderful to come across as passionate, but you must also be genuine and likable, and you should actively listen to what the retailer has to say. If you don’t know something, then don’t pretend you do; simply let them know you will find the answer and come back to them. If you demonstrate these key negotiation skills, the retailer is far more likely to want to work with you because you have “heard” and then demonstrated that you are prepared to meet his/her needs. Relationships do matter, so work hard to cultivate this one.

4. Be prepared.

You have managed to secure a meeting with a buyer, now the real work begins. Do your homework by walking the retailer’s store shelves so you know what they are stocking and how your product is unique or superior. Your pitch presentation should include numerous important components, including:

  • Where your product is currently selling

  • Your unit movement per week (UPSPW: Units Per Store Per Week) at these locations

  • Your wholesale and suggested retail prices

  • Your recommended assortment and rationale behind that recommendation

  • Your marketing plans for moving the product at their store

Also include market trends and testimonials to support your product. Covering these four strategies will put you well ahead of the curve and will set your company apart from the competition.