How Often Should I Follow Up With A Retail Buyer?

This is a question I get asked a lot...How often can I contact a retail buyer without being too pushy?  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 her 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. 

Sending emails to the buyers is okay. It's okay to send an email 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 let you know. 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.

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 savvy 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 most significant 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. 

Samples

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.  

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