How to Sell to Retail Stores

by Jennifer Guy; Updated September 26, 2017
Get your product launched in a retail store.

Selling your product to retail stores requires hitting the pavement and reaching the right person. There are many different ways you can get your product in the door of a retail store, but if the decision-making person never sees it, then you will never get the chance you are looking for. At the same time, a store's buyer is often bombarded with so many new products at one time that yours needs to stand out amongst the crowd. Be willing make your best offer until your product meets a targeted goal.

Items you will need

  • Phone
  • Transportation
  • Marketing materials
  • Product samples
  • Email marketing
Step 1
Cold call regional stores.

Make cold calls to every retail store in your immediate region. Use a script that sounds natural. Ask for a meeting with the buyer or store owner. Create a list of stores and a goal to meet each day for calls. Be willing to sell your product over the phone as many retailers do not want to meet each person calling. Ask if you can send over some materials and a sample, if all of your offers are rejected. Create a prospect list to keep track of responses.

Step 2
Be persistent about scheduling meetings.

Hit the pavement and walk into every retailer in the immediate region and leave a sample of your product and marketing materials with the buyer. Ask to speak to the owner, manager or buyer. Check in periodically until you get a meeting. Get the phone number of off-site buyers to request a meeting. Offer to launch the product in each store with little to no risk to the retailer. Leave any display marketing materials with a retailer who agrees to sell your product.

Step 3
Send out product catalogs.

Send out marketing materials, such as a catalog or brochure and samples, if possible, to retailers whom you cannot get in touch with over the phone or in person. Be sure that the marketing materials are easy to read with your best offer front and center. Consider your return on investment, also known as ROI, for any mass mailings. For example, a mailing with only a 1 percent national average response rate means that, out of 100 mailings, you can only expect one lead to contact you.

Step 4
Barter with retailers.

Be willing to barter the placement of your product in a retail establishment in exchange for your marketing of the retailer's store when you go to networking events or cold-sell your product to individuals. Ask the retailer to purchase an initial small inventory of your product with the promise that you will send people to their store by taking the retailer's marketing materials and handing them out to traffic by the store, networking events, friends and family.

Step 5
Demo your product.

Ask if you can set up a sample table within larger retailers with floor space or outside of a retail store to demo your product or give free samples. Give the product to the customers to pay for at the register. Split the sales with the retailer. Set up a manual method of ringing the product up in order to keep track of sales and have customers pay for the product at the register. Price the product appropriately; you want to have the retailer see that the product will sell. Pitch your product to the retailer at the end of your demo day.

Step 6
Send email marketing.

Create and distribute an E-mail marketing campaign to retailers across the nation. Use a free professional HTML email template that you can customize. Consider buying a database list of retailer emails. Go to each retailer's website and get their contact information for your email list. Keep track of responses in a spreadsheet.

Tips

  • Always be confident in your product and self.

    Do not take rejection personally.

    Don't take no for an answer.

    Revisit retailers who have rejected you in the past; you never know if they might just change their minds.

About the Author

Jennifer Guy, a freelance writer since 2008, enjoys writing technology and creative arts articles for websites such as eHow.com. Guy has an associate degree in computer science from the University of Cincinnati, as well as a graphic design certificate from Saddleback College.

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