Depending on how motivated and driven you are, you will be able to get your brand into a store. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be part of a secret society to get stores to notice you and to stock your products. Here are my top tips on getting into a store.
Learn How To Cold Call
Cold Calling does not have the best reputation in the world, but used effectively, it still remains one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal. It can be as simple as calling the store, introducing yourself and your brand, asking who the buyer is for the store, getting some contact details to send some more information, asking when it is best to call back and talk more. What can make you stand out and seem like you are not a telemarketer is to do some research before you make the call. Write a list of 5 or 10 stores you see your brand in, and then do your research so that when you call you are armed with the right information and the right questions to succeed.
Email Your Prospect Stores
This is really part B to cold-calling, after all, you can’t show people pictures over the phone. In this email, you should be providing further and more detailed information than your conversation on the phone. Make sure that you open with a quick summary of the call (in case the buyer forgets who you are – believe me, it happens!), and then end with a date and time that you are going to call them back to discuss further or to set up a face-to-face appointment. IMPORTANT: Do a spell-check. Nothing is more unprofessional than sending an email full of grammatical errors.
Send A Sample Line Sheet And Look Book
You might even consider sending your prospective stores a copy of your look book and line sheet so that they know what you have to offer and some sample prices of what they would be looking at buying stock from you at wholesale. You will also stand out from your competition, as holding something physical from the mail has more power than reading something distant like an email – and most of the time, physical mail isn’t lost!
Befriend The Staff
Getting to know the people that you want to be selling your brand is a great way to convince them that you are fun and serious about doing business with them. Consider maybe giving them some stickers, key-chains or sample clothing without having to actually bribe them 😉
Make An Appointment With The Buyer
Probably not the easiest thing to do, but can definitely pay off big time if you manage to make it run successfully. Just make sure that you come 100% prepared to do business, and know the answers to all the questions that you might be asked.
Send In Samples
Sometimes sending only the look book and line sheet is not enough to win over the store. Try and send in some samples of your clothing line with these so that the buyer and their staff can see for themselves exactly what sort of quality your products are. It can also be a nice little present or package for them to open with a new business opportunity for the both of you.
Display In A Trade Show
If you can afford anywhere from $2,500 or more, then you should set up a stand in a trade show. They remain one of the best ways to connect directly with buyers who will stock your products.
Always Follow Up
Don’t give the people who you talk with time to forget about you or time to talk with somebody more convincing. As a general rule, 2 to 3 days is a good guide to follow to give somebody time to make a decision – unless of course they have given you a specific date to call-back (calling back earlier, unless it is absolutely critical, will show the potential buyer that you are impatient and have not listened to their request).