4 Must-Know Strategies for Selling Efficiently to Distributors
Want to scale your business? Get ready to make a case for its profit and potential.
So, you’ve created a great product and you’re ready to scale. Whether you’re looking to land distribution with retailers or ambassadors, there’s one common need: to make sure who you’re selling to understands the incredible business opportunity that rests in working with you. To achieve this, they must believe they can easily sell your product to their own customers.
There are a number of reasons why it’s important to forge distribution relationships in order to scale, the first of which is visibility. If your product is on more shelves across the country or the world, your brand name becomes more recognizable. It also pays upfront when a distributor buys your product in bulk at a wholesale price. Plus, it simply enables your company to sell more. With this many benefits, it’s important to have a rock-solid strategy in approaching potential distributors or retailers. Here's a four-step plan to make the most of your opportunity.
1. Prove your product's popularity.
Distributors want to believe that a product can sell itself. Unless they’re ambassadors solely working as representatives for your product, they don’t have the time to market your product for you. So, what can you do to prove your product’s popularity? Ask yourself: How much did sales rise last quarter? How quickly did your product fly off the shelf at another distributor’s store?
Influencer marketing is another great way to prove product popularity. As reported in the Business of Fashion, Huda Kattan, founder of Huda Beauty, scored distribution for her false lashes in the Sephora in Dubai as a test run and sold out in the first day. If you don’t have your own following, try allocating some of your marketing budget on an influencer who does. Just make sure their personal brand is aligned with your product.
2. Connect the distributors or retailers to a greater mission.
If your product or brand purpose is strongly aligned with that of the distributor, it may be easier to sell them on it. This could be through a charitable commitment that a distributor wants to be a part of, or simply a similarity in brand attributes. For example, Dr. William Seeds created a new line of supplements that could better help people with natural health and performance. His business model included engaging others in the medical community to sell to their patients.
“I had one-on-one conversations with others who shared the same mission of helping patients," he says. "And told them, ‘Give me a chance to help you empower your patients with Peptide knowledge with these with observable and quantifiable changes,’ I emphasized that helping their patients could establish a bond between them.” Appealing to the distributors’s greater missions of serving those with health needs helped him expand his supplement distribution.
3. Prove significant profit margins.
At the end of the day, no matter how much a retailer or distributor aligns with your mission, the decision is going to come down to cash flow. They want to know that they’re getting your product at a low wholesale price that they can then turn around for a significant profit margin.
Then again, it has to be fair for you, too. Emerge Blog suggests using the standard calculation of suggested retail price equaling two times the wholesale price. So, if your product is suggested for retail at $44, set the wholesale price at $22. Of course, this only works for you if your cost of making the product is significantly below $22.
In some cases, landing a retailer has more value to you than the profit margin of each wholesale item. You may be willing to forego making a profit in wholesale in exchange for getting your product on shelves. Negotiate with a retailer to see what makes the most sense for them, then decide if it works for you.
Related: How to Find and Work With Suppliers
4. Make selling as easy as possible for your partners.
Finally, once the retailer purchases at wholesale, they want to know that your brand can move products. In an Entrepreneur article, Jackie Larson suggested including a marketing plan in your pitch presentation. Whether it’s a sign to add on the shelf with a catchy punch line about the product, or a highly visible launch plan to announce the new retailer, retailers want to feel as though selling will be easy.
If you have ambassadors selling your products, put together a packet of all the information they’ll need to provide to their customers so that everything is transparent. Include a step-by-step process of best-selling techniques so they can follow along.
Whichever way you’re engaging retailers, distributors or ambassadors, having all of this information ready and each of these strategies in place will help you close the deal.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor