FD Buyer: Want To Sell Me Your Product?
a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a
current article from Frozen & Dairy Buyer magazine.
In this article,
Betty Buyer, a fictional store buyer based on interviews with a group of
retailers, offers advice to Sammy the Seller.
if you really want me to buy your products and put them on my shelves,
why don’t you do a better job preparing for our magical little 15-minute
Do you realize
that I sit here and have blind dates with vendors, brokers, distributors
and even researchers who bring me about 10,000 new/great/different/better-for-you
products every year? I’ve got to plan, schedule and process paperwork tied
to all this, then make decisions about it all.
So if you think
I lie awake at night wondering whether your new item should get four facings
— or perhaps five — you’re seriously delusional.
Believe it or
not, Sammy, I want a successful sales call. I want to say yes. (But not,
as in your dreams, “Yes, yes, oh, oooh, yes, yes!”) I want to bring my
customers new products and programs that actually make a difference for
them by saving time, money, hassle, or whatever. Here are three things
you can do to make it happen more often.
1) I need
to know why your product will be wanted by my customers. You
should be able to tell me this when we meet.
Being unlike anything else on the shelf is not enough. Different doesn’t
equal desirable and desire is what moves the customer.
2) I need
to know how you are going to educate the customer about your product
and get them to try it in my store. Will
you use price to drive trial or will you plan product demos? Will you
have POP materials, will you use a web site or will you Twitter everyone
in my market? What is your plan to ensure your product will survive in
this competitive environment? I don’t have these answers for your product,
you do. Or you should.
3) You need
to know my customers. I do.
You need to know what it is about my customers that will make your product
desirable. The fact that you sell well somewhere else does not mean the
same will happen in my store with my customers. Show me. I realize I
have a big piece of the puzzle too. I cannot be a moving target for you.
I have to tell you what my company’s objectives are, what we use as internal
measures, how we benchmark success, and how we see ourselves positioned
in our market. If I don’t provide this to you, then I deserve to get
10,000 plus items every year with few items making any sense at all.
Sammy, you have
to be able to articulate these things to me. Doing these three things will
show me how easy it is to say yes. And isn’t ‘yes’ what we all want to
Questions: What should take priority in vendor sales calls to retailers?
Can you come up with some frequent failings by sellers in such calls?
What are some frequent failings by retailers in their dealings with vendors
during sales calls?