One of the most common concerns my clients have is that they don’t feel comfortable selling, they don’t like selling, selling feels awkward and too forward. As someone who’s more introverted than I often come across I completely understand these fears and I feel them too, so I wanted to share with you my top 10 tips to still get on with selling your brilliant products.
1. Research the business you’re pitching to
Understand who you’re pitching to, I google the business, read everything I can find, and I also try to find a picture of the buyer or the shop owner, psychologically it helps me picturing an actual person rather than just a name. It also keeps my pitch more personal.
2. Research your competition
I also research my competitors in detail. I look at their products, price-points, quality and how they are different from my products, what they do better and what I do better. This way, if the retailer sells a competitor's product I can explain how mine offers a point of difference or why mine are more expensive than the mass-produced one they already sell.
3. Practice your pitch
If you are going to phone potential stockists write down and practice your elevator pitch. Full disclosure, I only learned that this is what it was called the other day, I am really interested in the selling process but I’m not one that has felt that sales books and talks have resonated very much with me and my industry. Despite this, practicing my elevator pitch and recommending that others do the same is something I’ve done for years, I just didn’t have the official title for it.
Your elevator pitch is essentially describing your business and what you do in a few sentences with confidence. It’s meant to open a conversation and where you can go into more details.
4. Batch calls
I know I’ve said this over and over again, but this really does work. Unless you’re a super confident person the first few calls might not be your best so batch them together. Phone someone you’ve spoken to before or whomever you feel just that little bit better about phoning first. By the third or fourth call you will feel a lot more confident. After over a decade of calling customers I still do this.
5. Engage with the businesses on social media
If you want to be stocked in a few independent retailers, follow them and engage with them on social media for a few weeks before emailing and phoning them. If you are still getting your range ready to start to wholesale, you can start this already now. Leave meaningful comments on their grid and comment on their stories. If the buyer has already seen your name and products on social media before you reach out, they might feel more inclined to reply. This also does build trust, we all are more likely to buy something that we have seen a few times before being offered it.
6. Trust that your passion will shine through
You know your products better than anyone. Trust that your passion and product knowledge will shine through.
Most people think ‘selling’ is the same as ‘talking’. But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job. - Rob Bartell
7. Ask a lot of questions
If you email a pitch you should ask at least 2-3 relevant questions in your email. This will increase your chance of a reply. Read more about how to write your email pitch here.
If you’re in front of, or on the phone with a buyer ask lots of questions, show an interest in them. This way it’s not just you are talking, and you will relax into the conversation. The buyers you are selling to are not going to want well-rehearsed pitches like they do in Dragons Den or in the Apprentice but they want to get to know you and your product and be confident in your ability to be a reliable supplier so feeling like you’re asking relevant questions and has an interest and understanding of their business will be key.
8. Buyers are just people
Shop owners and buyers pursued their careers because they love products, they are passionate about finding new and exciting products and they are constantly looking for their next best-sellers.
Remember, it’s their job to discover new products. It’s your job to make sure it’s your products.
With this in mind, you are providing a service by introducing your brilliant products to them. Even if they are not interested, they are likely to be very nice to you, and thank you for getting in touch. Don’t feel like you are being a nuisance, you’re not, you’re helping them discover your products.
Power is gained by sharing knowledge, not hoarding it.
9. Do something
If you’re not confident about phoning anyone, then don’t stress about it, focus on writing a good email pitch and tailor each one to the buyer you’re sending it to. Once you have a few stockists your confidence will come.
10. Practice on existing stockists and suppliers
With email and social media, we have got very used to not picking up the phone, so if you’re not confident doing so, practice by phoning your stockists to check-in to see how they are getting on, this will help you get into a habit of picking up the phone and it will help you build on your relationship with your existing stockists.
If you’re launching a new product or if something is back in stock that has been sold out, give them a call instead of dropping them an email. Do the same with your suppliers as the more you pick up that phone the easier it will get.
I hope that these tips are helpful to you, don’t be too hard on yourself, I am having to learn all over again how to sell now when I’m not selling other peoples products but myself and this is bringing up a lot of insecurities, not in my ability (product) but it’s that fear of being in the way and being too pushy and not being liked that a lot of us feel.
You’re not alone, come and join my Facebook group “Let’s Talk – Wholesale” and let's support each other when we have a confidence dip.
If you're interested in working with me, send me a message to discover how I can help you. If you have any feedback or any topic you would like me to cover please also get in touch. I also share tips every week on my Instagram account.
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