You’ve started a manufacturing company that produces the world’s most comfortable rubberized underwear. It took you two long and frustrating years funding and engineering this wonderful product. You’re near the finish line and about to unveil your wondrous creation to the people. In short order you’ll be making phone calls from your G5… not so fast.
Truth be told, creating the product is the easy part. At this stage, the finish line is nowhere in sight. Now it’s time to get to work and get your product in major retailers, both online and in store fronts. Remember, to this point, you’re a nobody and all you have is another product that has made exactly $0 in sales. So how do you get your product selling like hot cakes?
You need to get in bed with retailers. How do you do that?
By solving their problems. And in order to articulate how your product can achieve that, you need to polish your sales pitch by honing in on a couple key points.
Narrowing It Down to the Ideal Retailers
First, and most obvious, your sales pitch needs to identify your product’s target market… who will be wearing the rubberized underwear? My bet would be young children because, if they’re anything like my boy, they fall on their ass an awful lot. I also think this underwear would be appealing to athletes, for the same reason. Anyone who spends their days in an office sitting on an uncomfortable chair would also get good use out of this product. Elderly people with delicate bones, particularly those with poor hips, could use your underwear as well. And with the baby-boomer population getting to that ‘elderly’ age, in addition to the fact that they’re the richest demographic in the country, having them as a target market is fantastic. So, in short, your target market is a typical human being, excluding most women aged 20 – 40. They like to wear thongs (I don’t know how those things are comfortable, by the way). I digress…
With your target market established, consisting of a wide range of demographics, you can cross off any high-end retailers as companies to contact. This is a product for the masses, meant for everyday people who are focused on performance over appearance. As such, high-end retailers want nothing to do with you, and that’s fine.
Furthermore, this product isn’t for the ultra-cheap, given the quality of material needed to manufacturer it. Write-off the Walmarts and Targets of the world. You want this product going into stores like Macy’s, Sports Authority and Carter’s.
Now that you’ve established a list of retailers you plan to pitch your product to, you must intimately get to know their customer base.
Learn About the Retailer’s Customers Before The Pitch
Learn the ins and outs of the lifestyles and shopping habits of the retailer’s typical customer in order to tailor your sales pitch. You must be absolutely certain why your product will fill a void in the retailer’s current offering. The only way to be certain is to study their customers.
Obviously, when you’re pitching the retailer’s regional manager on your product, the more it fits into the desires of their current customer base, the higher likelihood they will assign your product the valuable shelf space you so desperately desire.
Retailers understand, better than anyone, the importance of offering products that please their customers and fill a need/want. If a customer sees a product they really want at one particular retailer, they are more likely to recognize that retailer as a trusted brand. As a result, they come back to the store time and again for other products the retailer offers.
Elaborating on Product Association
Even though a retailer may offer 100 different items, consumers associate stores with 2 or 3 products – that’s it. This is why it is so crucial retailers offer a wide array of products that the competition doesn’t in order to broaden potential product association in the minds of consumers. It’s what I call the fish net strategy.
An example: I associate Best Buy with having the top computers and TVs. I have, literally, never bought a computer or TV from any other retailer. My product association benefits Best Buy because it gives them the opportunity to sell me blue rays, cameras, video games and more when I’m TV hunting. My product association also increases the chances that I’ll come back for supplementary products in the future. Mission accomplished for Best Buy.
Now, if Best Buy didn’t have the most high tech TVs and computers on the market, at least in my opinion, they would never have the chance to sell me a plethora of other products (because I would have no product association to the retailer).
When Samsung pitched Best Buy on why the retailer should offer their TVs, you better believe this product association strategy I’m talking about was used by Samsung reps as the main selling feature.
In my mind, Best Buy’s anchor product is their TVs. In your mind, it may be a different product. Either way, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you or I associate them with at least one product. The more quality products (wide-range) the retailer carries, the better the chance of that happening.
By offering unique and desired products, the retailer experiences the trickle down effect: If you or I buy one thing at the store, we are more likely to buy another. The concept is ridiculously simple, but often ignored in sales pitches to retailers.
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If you can clearly explain why your product could be an anchor given what you know about the retailer’s typical client, you’ll have a great chance at getting your rubberized underwear on their shelf.
Convince the retailer that your underwear has the potential to be an anchor product for a large group of their customers – the same way TVs are an anchor product for me at Best Buy.
Retailers want to fill a void in their product offering and you want to make money selling your product. The simple formula is to convince them your product can fill that void.
What to Research
With all the above information I’ve shared, here’s what you need to find out about the retailer’s typical customer before pitching your product.
- Annual salary
If you know these vital statistics about a retailer’s typical customer, you’ll be able to clearly explain how your rubberized underwear could be one of the store’s anchor products.
The key to getting rich is solving other people’s problems. Never forget that when making your sales pitch.