How To Sell to Retail Stores in 5 Steps
As a jewelry designer, I'm asked all the time how to sell to retail stores. You’re ready. You’ve decided selling your jewelry wholesale is right for your brand, but you aren’t sure how to get started.
Here are a few tips on how to approach a buyer for a store:
#1 Do Your Homework:
The #1 thing you should do is your homework. Making a strong first impression is important when approaching a retail buyer. It’s so easy to Google a store, look up their website, and even find them on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc. They most likely have a blog or weekly newsletter. Whatever they have, read it! If they have a brick-and-mortar location, by all means, visit it! So many buyers I know tell me how surprised and turned off they are when a designer approaches them without knowing much about their brand, locations, or customers.
Think of it as a job interview.
You want to be very prepared so that the person interviewing you can’t help but be impressed by your knowledge about their company. As a designer, you need to know your product inside and out. As a salesperson who sells your product, you need to understand how selling your jewelry fits into their brand. Think of it from their perspective and explain how a partnership with you helps them reach their goals.
#2 More Homework:
The second thing you should do is your homework on the buyer. Do your best to find the name of the buyer, then Google her (or him). Reading up on the buyer allows you to connect on a personal level. Going into a meeting knowing the buyer is a total dog-lover (who speaks French) puts you in a better position than someone going in to pitch their line blind. A bonus for doing your homework is it helps you discover whether the store is actually a good fit for your jewelry collection.
#3 Phone Etiquette:
When calling a buyer for the first time, make it count! Writing a script is never a bad idea. I still do this because it keeps me from fumbling and scrambling for the right words or forgetting something important. Introduce yourself immediately, tell the buyer where you’re from and what your line is – trend, fashion, item, or custom jewelry. Ask if it’s a good time to talk. This lets the buyer know that you value their time, which you do. Then you can go into your story and what makes your jewelry so unique.
#4 Email Etiquette:
Email is great, but it is no (and I mean NO) substitution for meeting someone face-to-face or talking with them over the phone. Voice conversations are more memorable because retail buyers get hundreds of emails every day. Don't count on emails to sell for you!
If you absolutely can’t reach a buyer, which definitely will happen, then you can email them.
Or once you have met with or spoken with a buyer, by all means, email them letting them know how nice it was to meet/talk with them. It's important to send the email as soon as you can (you can even draft the email while you're still on the phone with them) so you and your conversation are still fresh in the buyer’s mind when they read it. This is a new relationship, so when emailing, make sure your emails are professional, to the point, and don’t have any spelling mistakes or slang. Always put your logo and company name on the email – it usually goes under your signature.
#5 In-Person Etiquette:
You’ve done your homework and you have a meeting with the buyer. WOOHOO!
- First and foremost, look nice. Be thoughtful in what you wear – first impressions are lasting impressions.
- Second, wear your jewelry. This sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many designers don’t do it. This is a chance for the buyer to see your pieces in action. I can’t tell you how many times I have met with a buyer and they ended up ordering every piece of jewelry I had on. You are a live mannequin, so work it!
- Bring with you:
- Samples of your line Wholesale prices & suggest Retail prices (also called MSRP)
- A Line Sheets/Catalog with wholesale prices and terms
- A Press packet with your bio, inspiration, and any press (and in case you don't have a bio yet, click here for our tips on writing a great one)
- Your training plans for the sales associates. *You always want to engage the people selling your jewelry! List of Best Sellers. A buyer wants to know what your best-sellers are.
- After you meet with the buyer follow up with an email or if you really want to impress them, send a handwritten note.
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RECAP of ACTION STEPS:
- Do your homework on the stores you are interested in working with.
- Write out a script with what you would like to say to a buyer.
- Write a few emails and save them as templates. This way you can save time when contacting a buyer for the first time or when following up.
- Grab Your FREE Copy of 5 Mistakes that Burn Bridges with Buyers. This is the advice every jewelry designer needs to read before they sell to retail stores!