Landing the big retail account takes preparation.
First, you need to get your foot in the door. Once you do so, you need to kill it in your first meeting. Don’t blow it! Be prepared for a meaningful, productive conversation with the decision maker who could open that door critical to the success of your business.
5 must-brings to your first meeting:
- Product: Major accounts don’t deal in ideas. They deal in product. Bring your physical product, packaging, and a sample to leave behind. Pre-launch? A working prototype to show, packaging renderings, and a promise of samples to come will do.
- Product positioning. Notice I didn’t say features. While they can be part of your consumer positioning, you need to nail down the why to buy that will convert to sales. Solve the customer’s customer’s problem. Who needs your product and how will it transform their life?
- Pricing. What is your suggested retail price and how is it justified? What’s the margin to the retailer? Show your value/price position in the market and make sure you’re in the right margin zone for your category.
- Competitive positioning. How does yours stack up versus the competitors’ products? Why would a consumer buy yours over theirs? What do you offer the retailer that your competition does not?
- Marketing plan. You’re a startup and not a million dollar brand. How are you creating demand for your product? Partnerships? Social campaigns? The customer wants to know what you bring to the table to help build her business incrementally. Share your PR, social/ad campaigns, and any other creative marketing plans you have up your sleeve.
Walk in with a plan and your startup will look like a player.
About the author:
Suzanne Oehler is an energetic, driven business leader with 15 years in consumer and enterprise tech Sales. Widely regarded for opening and expanding business in brick-and-mortar Retail and digital E-Commerce for consumer technology hardware start-ups, she designs and implements winning Sales strategies that navigate the complexities of Consumer markets.