Today we're talking all about wholesale trade shows. You can watch it here or read below.
So what is a wholesale trade show?
A wholesale trade show is a temporary marketplace that's anywhere from two to five days in length. It's a place where retail buyers and sellers come together.
Most trade shows are at convention centers in large cities, and the attendees (the non-exhibitors) are limited to members-of-the-trade or legitimate buyers. The show management works to protect the exhibitors from competitors who are not potential buyers.
Wholesale trade shows are not for amateurs.
Trade shows are expensive to do, but they are worth it if you're ready.
What do you need to do to get ready to exhibit at a trade show?
You need to have a product line large enough that it makes a statement so that the retailers want to buy from you. You also need packaging that looks professional and could be displayed in a retail environment.
Your marketing needs to be completely different than craft fairs and retail shows.
You need to set your booth and displays to cater to retail buyers. Design your booth to look like the displays would in a retail store to help the buyer see how your products would look in their stores.
A successful trade show can make a lot of money if you're in a good location and prepared.
Make sure you plan it out well. Make sure you have a good line assortment, that your pricing is right, and that you can execute and deliver on time.
I've been to trade shows where I've done really well. I've also been to trade shows where it's been a colossal flop. Different things can make the traffic at the trade show slow.
I went to a show in Dallas once that was a flop because of the weather. There were ice storms and nobody could get to the show. But I've also been to trade shows and exhibited where I've written an order as large as $97,000, but that's not always the norm. The large orders come when you have the horsepower to work with the bigger accounts.
I have also exhibited at trade shows where I've had a million dollar PO (purchase order) from a big box retailer. However, that was something I had been working with the buyer on for a while. The buyer came to the show to see our products all displayed as they would be in their store. We worked together at the show and we laid out their assortment for their stores for the entire year.
Trade shows vary in size and success. Make sure that you are ready when you start doing them because wholesale is the quickest way to scale your business.
It is important that you get systems and structure in place before you start exhibiting at wholesale trade shows.
You must be able to deliver the orders you receive.
The wholesale gift shows are typically held two to four times a year in the big cities where there is a gift mart. The big ones in the U.S. right now are Atlanta, Las Vegas, Dallas, and New York. The smaller regional shows are in L.A., Denver, Seattle, Columbus and several more.
Milan, Frankfurt, Melbourne, Tokyo, Hong Kong and China also have big international shows.
Please tell us in the comments are you ready to wholesale at trade shows?
Subscribe HERE-What you'll get
A FREE Project Tracker to keep you focused.
Lots of good vibes your way from someone who genuinely wants to see you succeed.
This is a question I get asked a lot....How often can I contact a retail buyer without being too pushy?
Today we are talking about how often you should contact a retail buyer.
You can watch it here or read it below.
How often should you follow up with a retail buyer? I get it, you're nervous. You're afraid of sounding sales-y or being a pain. You don't want to bother the buyer and reach out to him too much.
How often can I contact a buyer?
I say this: buyers get bothered a lot. They get a lot of emails. They get a lot of pitches, but a buyer's job is to find products for the store that will make the store money.
It's okay to send emails to the buyers. It's okay to send one every month. The buyer may delete it if the answer is "no right now." You want to be able to remind the buyer regularly in hopes of catching them when the time is right.
If you're convinced that your product is a good fit for their store, if you're out of sight, you're out of mind. You want to remind the buyer that you're there. If you didn't hear back from them, a month or six weeks later, send them another email or call again.
The practice that I used, I sent the buyer a new catalog in the mail every six months, and then I called every month if I didn't get the order. Nobody ever told me, "Don't call." You know what? If they don't want your products and you talk to them, they'll tell you. Don't be offended by it. It's not a good fit for everybody. You want to find the buyers that it is a good fit for.
A buyers job
Remember, a buyer's job is to find new lines that make money for their store. They care about three things: sales, gross margins, and inventory turns.
If it's a good buyer and it's a good store, they will check you out. Not always the first time, but eventually they will. Get creative in how you approach buyers.
Let me tell you how I landed one of my biggest accounts. We sold candles, and our candles were food fragrances. We sent blueberry muffins to the buyer along with a blueberry muffin candle. The next week we sent sugar cookies along with the sugar cookie candle. Guess what? It worked... we got the order.
It's okay to send samples too. Just be careful not to send too many and give away the farm with it. I sent out a lot of samples. A lot of times if they can see your product and touch it and feel it, then they're more interested in it. Don't be afraid to send out samples.
If this content helped you please feel free to leave a comment, and share it with anybody you think this would be helpful with. If you're ready to take your product-based business to the next level, we would love for you to check out our Product Biz Club. It's our new 24/7 on-demand library with resources for product-based businesses to grow their sales and master their marketing. Go to Product Biz Club and check it out.
Need more ideas to grow your biz? Grab my FREE list of 16 ways to promote your online shop here.
The quickest way to scale your product-based business is to sell wholesale. Rather than try to increase the number of customers you sell individual product to, you sell a large number of items to a handful of wholesale buyers. The best way to find new wholesale customers is through sales reps.
How sales reps work.
Sales reps present merchandise for the lines they represent. They work out of a showroom or they travel within the territory they cover. They will have exclusive sales rights in the territory that you agree to. If sales reps are not successful with your products they will not continue to sell them. The reps are paid strictly by commission so they tend to show the retailers lines that will sell well so they get re-orders.
Sales reps take orders and then forward orders to the manufacturer who then ships the order.
Sales reps require free samples and marketing materials to help them sell your products. The more tools the sale reps have the better they are able to sell your products. The retailers that buy from the sales reps need to be able to see, touch and feel the products before they purchase. You will need to make sure that you build the cost of the samples into your pricing.
The first year I hired sales reps I remember spending a lot of samples and catalogs for the sales reps. However, it was definitely worth it as my business tripled in size that year.
Sales reps are paid 15% commission for orders that are sold at the regular wholesale price.
The benefits of working with a sales rep.
Experienced sales reps mean less management time for you. The rep will handle customer service issues and product knowledge questions for you.
The sales reps know the area they serve better you will. The benefit of having local knowledge always helps understand the needs of retailers they work with.
How to find sales reps for your product-based business.
Trade shows- I found my sales reps by walking the trade shows and looking for showrooms that were a good fit for my products. One of the things to think about as you are looking for reps is to make sure that your products are a good fit with the other lines they carry. The reps like to be able to get multiple orders from each store as they are paid on commission. It makes it worth their time if they can show multiple lines on each sales call.
Referrals- Most manufacturers that have been in the industry for a while will have connections with various rep groups. I got a lot of referrals by just picking up the phone and asking vendors I met at shows what rep groups they enjoyed working with.
Online- There are a few websites where you can find connections on such as greatrep.com or saleshunter.com.
Trade Journal- Often times sales reps will advertise in the various trade journals. I did an article with a list of trade journals here.
If you want to learn more about to scale your product-based business schedule a free 20 minute consultation with me here.
Also, come on over and join our community of like-minded product-based business owners over in our Facebook group here.
Do you have a product-based business and you're ready to scale? If so, stick around because today we're talking all about how to scale your product-based business. You can watch here or read below.
How to know if you're ready to wholesale your products.
When you have a physical product-based business, wholesaling is the quickest path to scaling your business. I've got a list of questions here so you can figure out if you're ready to wholesale.
Do you have a product that has demand?
Are you currently selling on Etsy, your own website, Amazon or at events and you're seeing a lot of demand for your product? If the answer to that is yes, that is the first step.
Do you have enough of an assortment of products that you could call it a program or a collection?
When I started wholesaling I had candles as an example. I had a line of products that I called the Home Baked line. All the candles in that assortment were home baked fragrances such as sugar cookie and blueberry muffin and so forth. Do you have a line where you can put together a cohesive program or collection for the retailers?
Do you have your product packaged in such a way that they would be able to be displayed in a retail store?
Are your labels correct? Are your labels professional? And do you have a way for the retailers to display? Do you have a point of purchase display?
When I sold my Home Baked candle program, I had a little tabletop hutch that I supplied with the candles to the retailers. It was $25 for me to purchase the hutch and I built the cost into the cost of the program. They paid $299 and got a fixture fill, they received the hutch and all the Home Baked candles to go with it. Now I had a program. Do you have a way to put together a program or a display with your products?
You can have a permanent display such as this little wood unit or a simple cardboard fixture such as the example below.
Do you have enough margin in your products that you can afford to wholesale?
Let's use the example of a candle. Say it retails for $20, you would have to wholesale it for $10. Then you reverse engineer the numbers, would your cost be no more than a third of $10? Then you definitely have the margin that you can afford to wholesale.
Do you have the ability to produce all the products if a retailer orders your product?
There's nothing worse than getting an order and not being able to deliver on that order. Can you manufacture or purchase quickly enough, the products that you would be selling to the retailers?
Do you have the ability to ship your products?
This is not a deal breaker because you can always get a fulfillment center to outsource the shipping for you. You've got to be able to ship your products or you've got to be able to find a fulfillment center to ship them for you.
Are you willing to give retailers terms/net 30 and do you have the ability to finance their purchase orders?
On a new customer where they're just opening up an account with you, you don't necessarily have to give them 30-day terms. You can charge the customer up front for the order but if a customer stays with you consistently and continues to order, they're going to ask for 30-day terms, so you need to consider that.
Do you have a line item sheet?
You need to be able to give the retailer all the information they need on pricing, size, weight and shipping terms on a line item sheet.
Here is an example of one of my line sheets.
Here is another example.
If you answered yes to all of these questions, you're definitely ready to consider selling wholesale.