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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Are You Prepared to Pitch Your Product?

Of course you want to see your product grace the shelves of stores or placed neatly within the alluring pages of the web's top retail locations.  If you're a new seller, you may be a tad intimidated by the thought of reaching out to retailers about your product, and while understandable, getting over that insecurity is a must in order to move forward.  

So, lets say you've taken a BIG, deep breath and are ready to leap into pitching your product to retailers.  Wait!  Don't hold your breath too long-because first, you need to be sure you're ready.

You may be ready mentally, but are you ready with essential marketing must-haves?  Many new sellers jump head first into chasing down retailers without the proper 'pitching gear'.  You wouldn't have bring home a baby without everything you needed to take care of him, or leave the house without your why would you pitch your product without being prepared?

Here is your gotta-have-it-done checklist for pitching your product:

1) Wholesale pricing set:  Have you firmly decided on what you will sell your product for at wholesale, bulk discounts and wiggle-room to negotiate with buyers?  If you haven't crunched the numbers, you need to before you agree to terms that you just can't afford.

2) Line sheets (also called sell sheets): A line sheet is a nicely composed page or two that show the absolute best possible pictures of the product you are trying to pitch.  It can have things like; pictures, product specifications and options and then your wholesale and MSRP pricing.  Your line sheets are your saving grace when an interested buyer wants immediate access to pictures and pricing. Just save in PDF and send.  Better yet, keep it on your site and let buyers download on demand.  Don't know where to have a line sheet made?  Talk to you graphic designer-or your friend's graphic designer-and they can help you.

3) Packaging and displays:  How will you package your product so that it is convenient for store owners to display on their shelves?  Does it hang, need to be folded, come in a box, etc?  However you package, if you are selling to others, you must consider their needs.

4) Samples: Do you have samples available for retailers to view?  If so, have you considered how many you can afford to part with over several weeks or months of pitching?  Have you factored in the cost of shipping samples to your bottom line? 

5) Purchase Orders:  Ah, the purchase order-your golden ticket to selling product.  Your purchase order should have clearly spelled out terms for minimum order requirements, quantities, bulk discounts, tax and shipping costs, and terms.  Of course you can customize your PO to fit your business.

6) Your Pitch:  Well, now that you have the basis covered, its time to see if your verbal or email pitch is up to speed.  Have you written down what you're going to say and then practiced it out loud a few hundred times?  When you pick up that phone and make your first cold call...what are you going to say?  When you open your email and create that pitch email...have you made sure it sounds concise, compelling and engaging?

OK, time to gather your 'pitching gear' and get going!   ~Happy pitching!~