If you’ve created a product that you’d like to be sold in retail channels, knowing how to pitch is essential. It doesn’t matter if you are pitching to an independent store owner or if you’re pitching to a large multiple - getting your pitch right is a must. Here are some basic Tips on How to Pitch to Retailers that we reckon should help...
Do your research
Doing research on the retailer you are pitching to is absolutely essential. If your product stands any chance of being bought, you’ll need to make sure that it fits in with their current stock.
Research not only the products that they currently stock but also perhaps what products their competitors stock. If you can identify and fill a gap in their stockholding, it could help your pitch no end. Your goal after all is to ensure that your product gets on their shelves, so research is key.
Be able to define your USP
It’s vital when you are pitching to a retail buyer that you can clearly define and highlight what your USP is. It is likely after all that they will have heard pitches from many businesses that are very similar to your own. Make sure that you can convey what is unique about your product - what differentiates it from other products they may have seen or currently stock. There has to be a hook - a reason why they should buy from you. It might be an entirely innovative or unique feature, it might be a quality issue or it might be that your pricing is what differentiates you - whichever it is, make sure that you know what it is and that after your pitch, the buyers know too.
Know your numbers
A retail buyer will expect you to know your numbers inside out. They will want to know how much it will cost them to buy from you - any discounts for bulk ordering and any special offers for repeat ordering. If you are asked questions about quantities, about pricing negotiation and about practical things like order fulfilments, you have to know the answers off pat. Stumbling over your answers, calculating things incorrectly or looking confused when asked something ’number’ related will convey a wholly unprofessional impression. Know your facts and figures so well so that no question will leave you stumped.
Let’s face it - it could be very easy to get carried away in a pitch and over-promise. If a retailer is interested in your product and expresses a desire for large quantities or a need to have your stock on their shelves quickly, it’s important that you are upfront and honest about your startup’s abilities to fulfil these needs. If you accept a large order and don’t have the resources or manpower to ensure that it is fulfilled, you are making a big mistake. Likewise if a retailer puts pressure on you with regards to delivery timescales that you know are unrealistic, you have to let them know. Over-promising and under-delivering can have a really detrimental impact on how your business is perceived and also on its long term reputation. Be honest from the off.
Practice your pitch
Some people are natural sales people and can pitch comfortably to people at any level of an organisation. Others however are not quite so comfortable and this discomfort can come across during a pitch and convey a lack of confidence. That subsequently can affect how confident a buyer is in that person and their product. If you are perhaps anxious about pitching or feel that you won’t be able to do your product justice, then practice is essential. The more you rehearse the pitch, the more comfortable you should feel doing it on the day itself. However, if you are really struggling, it might be worthwhile considering if there is someone else within your startup who could pitch more confidently. We all have our own strengths after all, so it’s vital to use them where they work best.
We hope that these basic tips on pitching to retailers help you if you’re about to do just that.
If you are - best of luck!
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