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Sales Rep Shares Tips on Selling Wholesale to Retail Stores

Updated on January 18, 2017
SandyDell profile image

Sandy Dell is a semi-retired independent sales rep sharing info about wholesaling, working with producers, buyers and sales reps.

Learn How to Sell Wholesale to Retail Shops

After working as an independent gift sales representative for over ten years, selling wholesale to retail shops, I find many producers, professional crafters and manufacturers, who need help expanding their business to wholesale. Getting their products ready to market and selling their products is a real challenge to some of these folks because selling wholesale to retail shops is very different from selling retail at the craft fairs and farmers markets they have sold to in the past. But selling wholesale not the overwhelming task you might think it is! Many of the tips to sell wholesale to retail shops I have learned over the years to help new producers who are looking to enter the wholesale gift market I have shared in my blog, Selling to Gift Shops.

In the following lens, I share some simple steps to making a sales presentation. If you find this interesting and helpful, you might also be interested in my other lens on the gift industry.

Pre-Planning Materials

Believe it or not, you do not need much to make a good presentation to a gift buyer. The most important items you need is a good sample or two of your product(s) and your sales flyers.

Your sales material/flyers should include the following information:

**Color picture(s) of your products, if possible

**Pricing per item and pricing per case lots required

**Terms you will accept for payment (Net 30, prepayment, credit cards etc.)

**Complete contact information including any of the following information that is available: name, company name, address, email, phone number, fax and website

In addition to the above, you will need your best smile and friendly demeanor when you approach your first potential buyer. Friendly goes a long way when dealing with people.

Next, bring your pride and confidence in your products!

Hopefully, the information listed below will help prepare you for what you can expect at your presentation and help you on your way to developing the confidence you need!

Selling Wholesale to Retail Stores
Selling Wholesale to Retail Stores

The 'Cold Call' In-Store Sales Presentation

Here is a typical sales call to a new store or buyer

There are as many different ways to make a sales call. Everyone uses their own system, but after many years as a sales rep, I found the following cold call system to work well when visiting a potential buyer for the first time.

STEP ONE: EVALUATING THE STORE!

When you first enter a retail store account spend time studying the store and the products they currently carry. You are looking to see how your products fit and relate to the products the store already carries. Do your products complement the products one their shelves?. Will your price point fit into their current merchandising scheme? In other words, if you are selling a high end jewelry line, don't expect a store that features children's items to be interested in your jewelry!

If it looks like your products will complement or add more variety to the products already displayed in the store, this may be a good venue for your line! Also, the information you glean from observing and talking to the employees give you insights as to which of your products will sell best in the store. But always remember that retail shops in are in the busy of selling so be considerate of the customers visiting the store and do not interrupt a clerk with questions if they are busy.

STEP TWO: TALKING TO THE STORE BUYER(S)

After you have familiarized yourself with the products and store image, it is time to talk to the buyer or manager. Don't be nervous! Store buyers are really just friends you have not yet met!

Meeting a potential buyer can be a fun experience. Seldom does it turned out to be an instant rejection. Buyers are curious about you and what products you have to offer. If you are excited and show enthusiast about your products, it will show! Your positive attitude will spark their interests enough to want to talk with you.

If you are in a larger store where the buyer and manager are two different people, always introduce yourself to the manager first. This extra step will facilitate the managers and the buyer's time. Often, the manager want to be involved in placing any initial store orders before turning the buying over to another person. If the manager does not make the initial orders, having him introduce you to the buyer gives more clout to your presence and presentation.

Once you are introduced to the decision making person, engage the buyer by asking them about their particular store. Most buyers love to talk about their store and what is working for them (assuming they have time to do so). Ask open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a simply yes or no. Listening to your buyer's answers to these questions aid you in building rapport and trust and help you gather information that is helpful when leading into your sales presentation. If your products help the buyers solve a problem in their store, you have a good purpose for selling your products. Your presentation needs to help your buyers see your products as a way to solve their sales problems -- even if that is just quoting sales success stories. And, of course, buyers want an easy solution to increase their bottom line by getting your winning products into their store!

STEP THREE: BEGINNING THE SALES PROCESS

If you are fortunate enough to interest a buyer on the first visit, your foot is in the door! But don't go directly into a hard core sales pitch. Continue spending time working on developing a relationship with this buyer by showing interest in their store and their specific needs. Also, as part of this process, sell YOURSELF first, before you can sell your products. Building the relationship helps the buyer appreciate what you have to offer. The most important technique during any successful sales call is to LISTEN! When you listen effectively, a buyer will tell you what they need for their store even before you show them your products.

After you have established a relationship with the buyer, it is time to introduce your product. Bring out your samples and hand them to the buyer. If the buyer holds the product in their hand, they begin to take ownership of the item. A subtle, but important point! Briefly explain the benefits of your product and wait for their response. Make sure to answer any questions or concerns before you give them any more information. If the buyer seems uninterested in your first product, show them other products you have or are currently working on. You might want to ask for feedback on your products at this time. What would make your product more appealing to them? Should you lose the sales at this point in the process, at least you will have gained some valuable information.

STEP FOUR: TAKING THE ORDER

Talking about products and taking an order are two distinct different functions. Often people miss this important step: You NEED to ask if they are ready to order. If you don't ask the buyer to order today, it is not likely they will call you to place it later. Gifts sales are often emotional and impulsive, so you need to ask for the order when you give your presentation. If they tell you "I'll think about it and get back to you" -- it is often just a lost sale. If there is hesitation, ask the buyer what their issues or questions are concerning the products. Buyers really do WANT to be sold. But, they are very busy people and you need to understand their desires while you are in their store giving your presentation. Following up for the order at a later time is often just a lost sale as the buyer may not remember you or your products after you leave the store.

When your buyers are showing interest in your product, it is appropriate to ask them to place an order today. Don't let them put off ordering if they are truly interested in your products. If a buyer is having trouble making a decision, suggesting a choice is an effective way to encourage the sale. For example, the earrings they are interested in come in two colors. "Would you like to order a X color or Y color or one of each?" Giving the buyer a choice often makes the decision easier.

A really good approach to closing a sale is to assume the buyer has decided to purchase your product. Ask for the details of their purchase such as what color, flavor or scent they want; what quantity they desire, and how soon they would like it to be shipped. Asking WHAT products they want to buy not IF they want to buy a specific product is often a more effective way to close the sale


Selling Wholesale to Retailers
Selling Wholesale to Retailers

Last Thoughts ...

I have shared with you a short version of a typical Cold Call Sales Call.

Cold Calling is a down-to-earth simple approach to selling to retail shops. Certain times and circumstances will require you to make an appointment, come back at a different time or talk to another person before a decision is make. There are many different variables depending on the store and buyer. And in this age, making sales presentations over the phone, in the mail, or over the internet is becoming more common place. Although all these option can work, make a face-to-face sales call works most effect.

If you would like more information on selling wholesale and working with stores buyers, including tips on how to follow up with buyers, shipping orders, or dealing with other issues concerning wholesaling selling please check out my blog: Selling to Gift Shops!

Don't miss this valuable information!

As a producer, new to wholesaling, do you have any suggestions or questions that I can answer in my blog? I would be happy to address any topics you may want more information on.

Reader Feedback - Do you have questions or suggestions?

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    • profile image

      Johnf839 

      4 years ago

      As a Newbie, I am continuously searching online for articles that can aid me. Thank you bekgeedcdgge

    • SandyDell profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Dell 

      4 years ago from Lenore, Idaho

      @dyptraders: Thanks so much dyptraders!

      You can get more information by checking out my blog at http://www.sellingtogiftshops.com.

      Or my eguides listed here: http://www.sellingtoretailstores.com

      Sandy

    • profile image

      dyptraders 

      4 years ago

      Great Content!!!! looks like you have abundant experience in this field. would love to get more ideas and learning materials

    • SandyDell profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Dell 

      5 years ago from Lenore, Idaho

      @james_salehoo: Great tip to use on local stores! Thanks for sharing!!

    • profile image

      james_salehoo 

      5 years ago

      Great tips! You obviously have a lot of experience in wholesale and distribution. I know one thing that can help get your products into retail stores: if you are selling to a small boutique, leave them a product and tell them in a week (or however long) you will come back and pick up the item if it hasn't sold. If it has sold, you'll come back and collect the wholesale price for the product, leaving the profit with the store owner. It's quite radical, and requires some trust, sure, but it also shows that you really believe in your products and that you're willing to bet on them!

    • profile image

      myspace9 

      5 years ago

      Thanks a lot for squidliking my lens and have happy holidays.

    • SandyDell profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Dell 

      5 years ago from Lenore, Idaho

      @anonymous: I'll bet it can be frustrating!! Jamie, do you have a website featuring all the products you represent? If not, you are way behind the ball! If you have a good relationship with your retailer buyers, you can tell them the advantage of ordering through you via your website! Should tell them about the one-stop-shopping option!

      And, on the other hand, I would talk to your vendors. If you have an assigned territory, ALL orders written from that territory -- or at very least, from the accounts you have set up -- should be commissionable to you! Do you have a sales agreement with your vendors? I required a house account list and the rest of the accounts in the territory were mine. Any vendor who violated this agreement was terminated! Simple as that!

      Good luck and keep in touch to let me know how it goes for you!

      Sandy

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      @SandyDell: wondering how reps are combating the fact that more and more vendors have a web presence encouraging retailers/buyers to order directly from them. some of our vendors refuse to pay us unless we actually write/forward an order. it's frustrating to say the least

    • SandyDell profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Dell 

      5 years ago from Lenore, Idaho

      @tom-macgregor: Hi Tom,

      Sorry you are having trouble Tom!

      Email me your preferred email address and I will manually add you to the mailing list. You will receive a confirmation opt-in from feedburner that you will need to click on to complete the process.

      Email your address to me here: GiftRepSandy@gmail.com

      Sandy Dell

    • tom-macgregor profile image

      tom-macgregor 

      5 years ago

      @SandyDell: Hi Sandy,

      I wet on your website and tried to subscribe but when I put my email in it just came up with an error message. Not sure what I have done wrong, it maybe that the connection here in Rwanda is a bit slow.

    • SandyDell profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Dell 

      5 years ago from Lenore, Idaho

      @tom-macgregor: Hi Tom,

      Thanks for your kind words!

      Are you a reader of my blog: www.SellingtoGiftShops.com?

      I might give your request some thought and post something on the blog.

      Sandy

    • tom-macgregor profile image

      tom-macgregor 

      5 years ago

      Great lens, very helpful information, thank you. I work with Rwandan artists trying to sell their products in North America. As I am based in Rwanda it makes connecting with stores in the US tricky. Do you have any tips for connecting to shops via email or phone without annoying them?

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Many thanks! It is just few weeks before a trade show,

      I got very good gardening green solutions and I faild to do whilesale few times before.

      I am hoping these tips are going to assist this time!

    • SandyDell profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Dell 

      6 years ago from Lenore, Idaho

      @anonymous: It is really up to the buyer as to the best time to approach them. I find that mornings are better. Friday evening they will want to go home, so I would not suggest that day or time. Avoid the lunch hour as well, if possible!

      Check out my blog for more tips: www.SellingtoGiftShops.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Great tips! I am new to wholesaling to gift stores, and still nervous approaching retail shop owners/buyers. I think this will help a lot!

      One question: when is the best time to approach a store owner? In the morning when they open up shop, or maybe friday evening when they are closing?

      thanks!

      http://culture-cross.org

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      A most invaluable resource! Thanks!

    • pringle1troy profile image

      pringle1troy 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 

      6 years ago

      This is new territory for me . . I've never worked in retail or marketing. Thank you for the education. Sincerely, Rose

    • gold3 profile image

      gold3 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this info!

    • profile image

      Ericndrsn 

      7 years ago

      No Selling wholesale isnot adifficult thing.. thanks/..

    • profile image

      Freelancers-MarketPlace 

      8 years ago

      Great post. I have also found a b2b auctions site which will allow you to auction your wholesale products. Auctions For Business. It's free so you can give it a try.

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