If you are an entrepreneur, brand or product-based business with dreams of getting your product into retailers around the globe, this article is a must read…
I have spoken and attended countless trade shows around the world and I can tell you that picking the right trade show is half the battle, the biggest battle is standing out at the trade show. Most retail trade show events are two days, and if I’m being honest, half of retail buyers don’t even attend the second day of the show.
That means that the first day of any trade show is your day to shine, if buyers who attend the show don’t see any brands they love or want to follow up the next day with they won’t return. Let’s dive into my best advice for pitching your products to retail buyers at your first trade show.
HOW TO PITCH TO RETAIL BUYERS
The best brands have a killer brand pitch! If you’re investing dollars into your first trade show then you definitely want to make a return on your investment. The only way to ensure that you have a chance to recoup the dollars you are putting into the show which often ranges between $2K-$5K USD a booth is to know how to sell your brand to potential retail buyers. New founders often struggle with properly conveying their message of why a buyer needs to purchase their product. I myself have spoken too many brands at various trade show with the same common buyer pitching issue in New York to Shanghai and Canada to London. Now is not the time to go on and on about how you started the company, where you source items from etc etc.
The best way to start is to focus on how your product solves a customer pain point their shoppers may have and how a retail partnership can generate them more revenues! The buyer is looking for both great product, but they are also looking for products that make sense money wise. Often, a buyer may assume a newer brand may not have competitive margins to be viable for retail. That’s why after reading this article, you know that you must state what problem your product solves and then dive immediately into the numbers! Buyers are very limited on time at the show, so get right into the money talk!
CRAFTING A SUCCESSFUL PITCH
You may only have 5 minutes to talk to a buyer who is passing by your booth at the show and first you should talk about how your product’s features solve a customer pain point and the products benefits for no more than two minutes and then spend the rest of the conversation on how the product will generate them new revenue. Let your awesome marketing materials say the rest (ie. brochures, product samples, line sheets).
- Talk about how your products WILL make the buyer money
- Share numbers that showcase the success of your products so far (ie. units sold)
- Show proof that the buyer’s ideal customer base would love your product (ie. show reviews, testimonials, success stories of ideal customers)
- Share relevant media attention you have gotten (ie. where you were on the radio? tv? written in a blog? won an award?)
- Talk about any certifications your product has been approved for as (ie. women-owned, cruelty-free, clean-beauty, paragon free)
- Boost about any other major retailers who have been interested in your products or who have purchased already. (ie. Has a retailer requested a sample? Has a retailer reached out on social media? Have you been asked to pop-up at their store? Have any licensing companies sent you a contract?
MEDIA ATTENTION IS GOLD
Now, I know I mentioned that you should get straight to the numbers, but if you are a new founder chances are you don’t have major sales milestones to share. As you can see, a retailers ability to make a profit plays a big factor on whether or not they will order your products. So, I’ll share with you a secret! Buyers are more willing to ignore lack of sale numbers, or even no sales at all if you generate major media attention around your brand or product. Buyers know that in the age of social media that a product can go viral or a brand launched by a popular celebrity or influencer can convert into dollars.
If you can generate buzz around your product on a viral scale, this will certainly motivate a potential buyer to give your product a chance. My advice would be to increase your influencer marketing budget, create opportunities for more customer-generated content or start really getting serious about having your products in major publications, this can help push your startup to the front of the line.
DON’T IGNORE THE INDEPENDENT RETAILERS
If you want to run with the major retailers, you should have some independent retailers under your belt. And more importantly if you can tell a buyer that you already have had success in some retailers, or with some licensing players, then the buyer might want to know more about your product.
If you would like to learn more about how to create a pitch for your products to use at trade shows or how to create marketing materials for business-to-business (B2B) transactions, register for my program.
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