Covid-19 has changed the world of wholesale dramatically, if you started the year with a packed schedule of selling, trade fairs, and buying stock, the chances are that this was turned upside down by the pandemic
Successfully closing a sale during this time has required most businesses to rethink their selling approach without buying meetings and trade fairs. Business owners who excel in face-to-face selling have needed to become even more effective remotely and maybe more effective than they were pre-COVID.
In order for this to have worked this will have required an increase in prospecting including additional engagement with prospects’ social media posts, writing targeted emails packed full of information, and sending thoughtful samples to close the deal and with the future being unknown it’s the best time to get on top of your outreach and look forward.
If this sounds familiar to you then my chat with Maggie the founder of Alligator and Pear, a very successful gift shop in Tamworth will be of interest to you!
In these strange times, the world of trade shows and events have been hit hard, maybe even one of the hardest-hit industries, and the knock-on effect of this makes it way down to buyers, sellers, suppliers, and wholesalers worldwide.
In my conversation with Maggie, she relays how trade shows were a crucial part of her buying calendar, and scouring each aisle for something new and unique was what she did best but without that interaction and without being able to see products in person it has been challenging to buy products from a photo online.
You will all have seen the various big trade fairs moving online over the next few months, which has been trial and error for all. Some of you may even be involved in these trade fairs and some top tips for being visible on these virtual platforms are:
● Attract customers by adding your hero product instead of just your logo to make it instantly clear what you do on the exhibitor’s list.
● Use the space you are given wisely - buyers won’t have the time to scroll through every single page so you need to give them a reason to stay on the page. Use pictures, prices, and your brand story to attract buyers and save them from wasting time if your product might not fit their aesthetic or price range.
● Make it as easy as possible - give the buyer an email address, your social media links, website link, and a contact name/number so that they can easily find out more information and don’t have to spend even more time trying to find your email address on your contact page on your website (It can be very time-consuming!)
Similar to what we’ve seen in the B2C sales environment, the importance of digital wholesale platforms for B2B sales has grown undoubtedly since COVID-19 began.
Without paying for virtual trade shows/fairs you may consider using a wholesale platform such as CREOATE, a platform that showcases small independent brands and allows retailers to purchase through the website rather than dealing directly with the brand. This method of buying cuts out the sometimes lengthy onboarding process and allows the retailer to receive individual orders whereby you send directly to the customer after the order is made. You are usually still able to talk to the buyers before the sale but bear in mind that there is usually a 30/60 days credit scheme in place.
You will generally have to pay a commission to these websites but during this digital led time, it is another way to get your products in front of buyers without meeting them face to face.
Although buyers do not get the personalised experience and touch and feel of your products this method is potentially a great way to get your name known and who knows, when shows are up and running again buyers may notice your stand because they have seen your name on one of these platforms!
I think that a lot of businesses at the moment are worried that wholesale is dead but the real issue here is that retailers are actually worried that they won’t find enough stock so it’s the right time to stay on top of your outreach.
We’ve spoken before about how to pitch to retailers and I’m sure you’ve got your emails and catalogues ready to go but how do you outreach during a pandemic in a successful way?
● Be informative - when sending your information make sure you include all relevant information which includes pricing, images, and your social media/website links.
● Update your website and social media - Buyers love to look at your social media pages and website to gauge if you are a good fit for them. The key thing here is to make sure your tone of voice and aesthetic is the same throughout.
● Be relevant - only approach retailers who you think will benefit from your product, take time to research them, personalise your message, and put effort into your outreach, it will go a long way.
● Be visual - buyers are visual people and need images, embed images in your email, send them a catalogue of beautiful photos and make sure you show off your best products on your socials to give you the best chance of showing off your products.
● Samples - send samples if asked. A lot of independent retailers will be happy to pay for pricey samples as it’s so important for them to see and touch the products in some cases. Let them see how wonderful your product is and remember to follow up as soon as they receive it, gain feedback, and hopefully receive an order. Chances are if a buyer asks for a sample they are interested so it’s down to you to keep on top of this and be flexible.
To sum up, whatever this pandemic has thrown at you and your business it’s still a good time to outreach to new prospects, get online and put yourself out there in ways you may not have before.
As the world gets to grip with the new way of living, we all have to adapt not only our lifestyles but our business behaviour and as digital trends don’t seem to be slowing down, it’s time to get on board and stay on top of your goals!
To listen to the full episode, please click here.
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