Making 20 minutes count

August 26, 2013By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing, Buyer Presentations blog series

by Dave Wendland

This post assumes you have answered “yes” to these five critical questions about your product.

  1. Does the product fill an identified consumer need?
  2. Are the packaging and messaging ready for retail?
  3. Are there compelling reasons for the buyer to take a chance on your item?
  4. Can you handle the production demands if you win the deal?
  5. Do you have plans in place to drive consumer demand?

If so, you’ve done your product research. The packaging is “par excellence.” The category is poised for your product introduction.  And you now have 20 minutes to impress. Get it right, and your product gains distribution. Get it wrong, and you’ll be waiting a year until the next category have 20 minutes to impress

All right, you’re now ready to make these 20 minutes as productive as possible.

STEP ONE: Prepare answers first

In other words, anticipate the questions that will arise and be ready with confident and supportable answers. Remember, the 20-minute appointment must include dialogue or you should skip the face-to-face meeting.

STEP TWO: Bring your product to the meeting

I’m not talking about a mock-up of your product without packaging or retail-readiness, I’m talking about a product that the buyer can visualize placed directly on the shelf in their stores.

STEP THREE: Immediately grab their attention

Time is limited, so a big crescendo to why they should stock your product must be avoided. Tell them right away why they should stock your brand.

STEP FOUR: Tailor your pitch to your audience

Do your homework and customize your presentation to be relevant to that particular retailer’s buyer. A canned presentation that’s rehearsed and sounds like you’ve delivered it to every other retailer, which will underwhelm the buyer.

STEP FIVE: Share your promotional plans

No retailer will want to be saddled with the task of generating consumer interest for your product – that’s your job. Demonstrate your commitment to product marketing.

STEP SIX: Ask for the order

I’ve seen too many beautiful presentations where the seller ends with enthusiasm yet feels uncomfortable closing the deal. This is the moment – ask for the commitment.

The final step in the selling process is follow-up. Don’t underestimate the importance of reaching back out to the buyer if the commitment wasn’t made during the meeting. Two to three times is a good rule of thumb. Any more than that, you’ll look too desperate and you’ll simply annoy the buyer.

Are you ready? Go get ‘em!

And feel free to share some of your tricks of the trade. If you’re still feeling unsettled about making the appointment consider attending our fast-approaching workshop on the topic. We’ll help you navigate the waters and become retail ready!

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