Meeting Major Retail Buyers | 5 Top TipsSheridan Chaffey
NCD has worked non-stop for the past thirteen years meeting buyers and matching consumer products with major retailers… We’ve worked on all-sorts of projects including:
- Kitchen Products
- Greeting Cards
- DIY Products
We have learned a lot of hard lessons meeting buyers over the past 13 years and can hopefully impart a little wisdom that just might help you out…
One of NCD’s successful product placements – Batela Clothing
Presently on-sale in 9 coastal Beales Department Stores
Five key lessons learned from meeting buyers… lots of buyers!
- Leave the trade deck presentation at home – presumably you sent a soft copy with your opening email correspondence or a posted copy with the samples the buyer requested before agreeing to see you? If not, don’t fret, you’re at the dance – your Powerpoint formatting skills, whilst world-class, are no good here.
- Be yourself – don’t try to be someone you’re not or fudge the numbers on the fly… You will be caught out. I have, The rabbit-in-the-headlights look is not in vogue… Lucky for me, I’m charming and smooth as hell (modest too), but in all seriousness, It’s very difficult to see your way to a positive result if the buyer suspects you don’t….
Know your stuff – Retail buyers look at seldom else but products and figures. If you don’t know yours, expect to leave disappointed. I am tasked with knowing a lot about my clients’ products, supply chain and commercials, but I’ll usually invite the client along to the pitch meeting, as they can deflect unforeseen questions I may not have been briefed on. Make sure you eat, sleep and breathe your product, as buyers will often have oddly specific questions – and if you can’t answer them, good luck getting a response to your follow-up note.
- READ. THE. ROOM. – Capitalised for effect. If you sense that the buyer is falling asleep, then cut the ‘bit’ you’re on short. If you were using your trade deck presentation (which I should sincerely hope you were not, at this point), this is tantamount to skipping past those seven slides on the factory with all those sexy shots of the machines and an aerial shot, for some reason(?).
- Get to the commercials – don’t beat around the bush. This is why you’re here. The buyer invited you in because your products or brand interested them. Don’t over cook the product demonstrations, show them just enough to move on to the reason you put your suit (and hopefully no tie) on. The commercials will make or break the deal for either party it’s important you get to the bottom of them before diving into a potentially bad deal… Common commercial questions asked by buyers include:
Can your cash flow sustain our 90 day payment terms? No? Tough luck ‘it’s our policy’.
Do you have a marketing budget set aside? No? ‘Enjoy the dust-collecting bottom shelf of the rear-wall-facing-aisle and inevitable de-listing’
Will you work on concession/consignment/ sale or return? No? ‘Sorry, you’re a new supplier and we need to de-risk the business as much as possible. We need favorable terms’.
Retail Commercials are a bit of a minefield. Thankfully, we’ve been to enough pitch meetings and learned enough to get these out in the open for you.
In closing, placing a product on the shelves of a major retailer is really hard work. The pitch meeting, whilst daunting, is not as difficult as you might think, simply follow the steps above and you’ll do just fine. The really hard work lies in getting through the door in the first place…
Of course, you could always task New Channel Developments with doing it for you… We have been doing precisely this sort of work for the past 13 years for well over 100 clients. We have a keen and proven knack of meeting buyers on our clients’ behalf, and our vast knowledge of retail commercials makes us a veritable tour de force in a retail pitch meeting!
Who do you want to present to?
Let’s get you there…
Give us a call on 01562 824799
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