Reply by rrww

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Posted on Selling to stores

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263 posts in 2109 days

#1 posted 11-30-2012 12:22 AM

I don’t know how much this will help you, but what the heck! We are a production shop that turns out wood products for a specific industry. So keep that in mind when reading this.

I have managed to get our products into a couple of smaller catalogs realated to the industry. Mostly this was done by going out and talking to people at shows (both public and trade shows), and getting your name out there. We work with one industry and have tried the hardest to become a trusted authority in this industry. It does take time, it look us about 4 years to get the first “big” deal.

1. Join your local chamber of commerce and meet other members
2. Stop by and talk to the small reastilers in person, don’t worry – everyone wants to make a buck. They love vendors that treat them good! A lot of these guys are smaller and they may feel that the big wholsalers don’t really “care” about them.
3. Always remeber that the small guys can lead to big things! This has happen many times to us. Another reason to treat everyone great!
4. Be laid back and clam with business owners, no need to be pushy! Be there for them- for any assistance they need- treat them like family!
5. Always be on time, if its for a meeting or a deadline! THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT
6. Join any industry specific groups that apply to what your doing
7. Know all your pricing info for each product by heart and how much you want to make BEFORE talking to these guys, they sometimes they will throw a lot of info at you at once and you have to think quick. I have got myself a couple of late nights working for free by not fully thinking something through before saying “no problem”. You will learn fast when you don’t.
8. Sell them on the quality / features of your product! Its almost impossible to compete with China on price, but its real easy to beat them with quality and customer service.

I dropped a business card off one time after stopping in a retail store. Spent two minutes talking to the manger because the owner wasn’t around. I figured that the business card would just get “filed”. A couple weeks later a guy came knocking on the house door and introduced himself as the owner, and in 6 months 75% of our work comes from him and we are now leasing a 10,000 sq ft shop / retail location that we trade our goods for rent.

Stop by or call your retailers and ask how business is doing and if they need anything. This simple act leads to a lot of our sales and it takes care of any issues before they become problems.

Prior to our first wholesale deal – I didn’t know too much on how retailers want to buy and sell products. Read up on pricing and how wholesale deals work. You may be suprised how much they want. You will soon find you may have to make 10 / 20 / 50 of a single item to make it worth while. But be willing to help out the retailer if they might only need one or two small things, this helps the relationship and builds trust.

If your close in location to some of these shops, offer free delivery or free delivery with a reasonable min order. In some cases I can charge more for my product then other vendors. I do this by offering free shipping saving them a ton of money and problems with damaged freight. This will work great for any products you have that are larger or larger and light in weight.

It all boils down to building a good relationship and when these busines owners start doing business with you and like what you do it WILL lead to more sales, and it will create some good word-of-mouth business.

Good luck it’s not easy, but can be really rewarding!

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