How to Get Big-Box Retail Buyers to Carry Your Product
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Getting your product placed on the shelves of a big-box retailer like Costco or Target is the dream of every entrepreneur. But buyers are bombarded by business owners desperate to get their attention. How do you stand out and get buyers to notice your product amongst the hundreds of inquiries they receive weekly?
Most write a standard email in paragraph form that outlines their product benefits, hoping the buyer will read it. But the key is to be short, concise and totally disruptive. When I say short, I mean one sentence -- maybe two -- tops.
A strategy that's worked for me and other startups I've mentored starts with using the psychological principles of open loops and FOMO and ends with a mini-product deck.
The open loop theory is simple: Begin by telling an interesting story, but don’t complete it. The reader's human nature wants to close the loop and keep reading. If they don’t, the incomplete story will keep bothering them. Open loops create anxiety and make cortisol levels in the brain spike, which prompts your audience to continue reading. With just one sentence, you can create an open loop of curiosity and make them want to find out more.
FOMO, fear of missing out, is the second part of my strategy. Every buyer wants to be the first to sell an exciting new product -- more importantly, they don’t want to miss out on the opportunity. Making the right buying decisions and right guesses can determine the outcome of their careers. A buyer’s ultimate fear is passing on a product that later becomes a best-seller. Take advantage of it.
By combining the power of open loops and FOMO, one sentence can be enough to get buyers to open an attached product slide deck that sells them on aproduct far better than a long-winded email. Sentences that have resulted in my products being purchased are, “Your customers are going to love this!” or “Amazing product attached… Don’t miss out on this!”
Once you’ve gotten the buyer’s attention, it’s time let your product shine. The buyers are going to want to see what “this” is from your one-sentence email. Here’s where you attach your killer mini-product deck that will wow them. Just like this...
1. The cover
You’ll need a cover slide with a clear name and image of the product to start the story. This should be compelling, clean and easy to visualize. This is your chance to make your first impression.
2. What is it?
Explain what your product is and use concise bullets to call out features of how it works. This doesn’t need to be more than one slide and three to four bullet points. It should be simple to understand.
3. Why do people need it?
Show why the customer needs your product and how it helps them. Again, this should be clear, to-the-point and backed by real data. Don’t give warm and fuzzy answers about why people need it. Prove it.
4. How is it the solution?
Define why your product is the solution customers are looking for, and why it's special. Odds are good you already have competition in your market -- or you will soon -- so how is your product unique, and how will it remain unique?
5. How does it work?
Describe how it works and be sure to use a simple diagram to illustrate or clearly demonstrate how it works.
Imagine this is a product on the shelf and you have to show a purchaser for the very first time how to use it. Your buyer will be the purchaser, so make sure they can easily understand how your product works or they aren’t going to purchase it for their customers.
6. Make it real
Take the time and spend the small amount of money to actually illustrate the packaging. Buyers need to see how it looks in the store or on shelves. Include pricing, dimensions and color, pattern, print and availability.
7. Establish trust
Establish credibility and validate consumer awareness for your buyer by showing them in the final slide any press or earned media your product has already garnered. If you don’t have press then you may want to consider an alternative like testimonials or product reviews. Anything that builds credibility will help you.
If you keep your pitch succinct, tap into the power of human psychology and create irresistible open loops, you’ll be closing the sale every time.