How do I make the first contact to sell my product to restaurants?
I am planning on selling imported olive oil from Spain. My idea is to sell to restaurants first. How do I make the first contact? Do I call first? And if so, what is the best way to handle that call? Do I talk about my business or do I try to set up a meeting at the restaurant?
Do you have contacts in the industry? Have you sold other products to restaurants before? If not, it will be tough to go in cold without an introduction from a trusted source. Sending direct mail, calling or advertising will not likely be successful if this is your first foray into the market without a track record.
Are you targeting chains verses high-end establishments? Are you focusing on a region or style of restaurant? The goal is to network your way into a reference account, and then use that to reach others. Even if you have to give it away for places to sample so they can see why the product is worthwhile since Italian and Greek oils are more top of mind. Just remember to stay focused and target a few key accounts.
Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, a strategic-marketing consulting firm whose clients include Fortune 500 companies as well as early stage and emerging businesses.