While selling online can be a low-cost way to market your product, your customers may prefer to actually inspect your product before buying. Selling to retail stores may decrease your profit per unit, but will more than likely increase your overall sales. Follow these simple steps to get your products on store shelves and into more customers' hands.
Create professional looking marketing material for your product. If you can afford to, hire a writer and/or graphic designer to help. Competition is fierce and you need to stand out by making a good first impression. Your local college can usually help you find writing and design students who are looking to build their portfolios.
Go to the store in business attire and see where your product will fit. You wouldn't buy greeting cards from a camping store, and neither will your customers.
While you're in the store, ask to speak with management. If no one is available, ask for a card and when that person will be in. If the store is part of a large chain, ask to speak with someone in the district or headquarters office and explain the reason why you would like to contact her. If you are not dealing directly with a store owner or manager, you will most likely need to speak to a buyer. Most employees will be happy to help you or will refer you to store management if they do not know.
Follow up with the store management or higher level. If it is a large company, you may have a hard time getting a response. Let whoever you are leaving messages for know that you are interested in being a vendor and will follow up with him in 2 weeks. If you do not receive a response within that time, see Step 5. If you receive a return call, see Step 6.
Continue to leave messages every 2 weeks. Even if you get discouraged, do not let your prospect hear it. Statistics say that a potential customer will usually say no at least seven times before deciding to buy your product or service, so it pays to be persistent.
Briefly explain that you would like to provide a sample product to her and that you believe her customers would like this product. If she says they are not trying any new products, ask if you can try them again in 6 months. If they only use certain distributors, ask them who they use and get their phone numbers. It's important to turn the rejection into a potential sale.
You may do better to hire a professional salesperson when selling to larger companies. The process can be difficult and time-consuming. No matter how a great a product you have, you are going to get rejected. Don't give up. There is more than one store on every block. Selling to distributors instead of directly to a retail chain is an easy way to get your products in several stores at once.
Don't try to sell your product nationwide unless you have the means to do so. This means you can quickly produce several thousand units cheaply. You can find yourself in a real bind if you get a large corporation like Wal-Mart to pick up your product nationally but are unable to deliver.