How to Get Your Food Product Into Stores
I went over the general process and approaches for getting your food product into stores the other day.
I want to go into a little more detail though, since that always seems to help, and we'll go over a quick script for getting in the door. First though, some homework.
Homework - Back To School
- Have your product in its standard packaging with you.
- Know your pricing per package and per minimum order, as well as a suggested retail price (the store will usually just mark it up 30-50%).
- Make sure this pricing is reasonable compared to similar products.
- Have nutrition facts and ingredient lists on the packaging - it never hurts. We can help with those things.
- Have a case or two in the car just in case they are eager to get started.
Once you have all those items checked off, you're ready for action. It's usually nice to call ahead, that way you won't miss the buyer. This is actually the bulk of the work.
You: Hi, my name is [insert your name] and I started a jerky/cookie/[insert product here] company that's really starting to take off. We mostly sell online and at markets [or wherever you sell currently], but our customers have been clamoring to buy us in their local stores and one of them suggested we reach out to you guys.
Store: Oh, great. What's your company called?
You: We're called [your awesome brand]! I'd love to come by this week to drop off samples and talk to your buyer. What's the best time of day or day of the week to have a quick conversation?
Store: Well, we're really busy first thing in the morning and Joe [buyer] usually comes in around 10:30. Tuesdays are usually slower if you want to get a hold of him.
You: Ok. So, Tuesdays Joe comes in around 10:30 and has some time to talk about new products?
You: Ok. Any other days/times that are good in case Tuesday doesn't work out?
Store: Wednesday is good as well, around the same time in the late morning.
You: Fantastic. And what's Joe's last name?
Store: Joe Buyer.
You: And what's your name by the way? Sorry, I didn't catch it earlier.
Store: I'm Susie Phone Gal.
You: Thanks so much, Susie. I'll try to come in Tuesday, meet you all and drop off some delicious samples of [insert product name]. Thanks again!
That's about it. The most important thing is showing up at the right time so you can get in front of the right person. Once you actually show up the product usually speaks for itself, along with your charm. Just be prepared with pricing and order sizes. And don't be put off by hearing "no". You won't end up in every store, but start small, hone your pitch, and keep on keepin' on.
Was that helpful? Would it be useful to have a script for speaking with the buyer? Discuss in the comments!