Getting Started With Buyers

Yesterday I was able to meet with a grocery buyer from an all natural, national food chain. She is in charge of purchasing products from local vendors at that particular store.

In order to qualify as a local vendor, you need to package your product in a facility not more than 250 miles away from that grocery store.  Since we are going to be filling our product in our kitchen, that is once we have it certified, we will qualify as being a local vendor since we are only 4 miles away.

I won’t go over everything we touched base on, but I will go over the basics.

Pitch:  I need to learn how to execute my pitch in a more effective manner.  Not that I was necessarily pitching our product, but I had so much I wanted to say, and I wanted her to entirely understand our product  so she could better answer my questions.  I knew my time was limited, so I basically told her everything using the rapid fire word technique.  I might regret using this approach, but I at least covered everything, and I don’t regret that!  But seriously, I will pretty much have one shot when I meet with the buyers, and I need to make sure I have this in tip top shape!

Local buyers:  Each store has them.  When we have perfected our pitch, I will contact our targeted stores and ask who the local buyer is in the grocery dept.  I then schedule an appointment to meet with them, and they taste our product!   (If we want to pitch regionally, or nationally for that matter, we go through an entirely different/more complicated process. More on that later, but we will be doing this eventually!)

Purchasing: In order for a local buyer to purchase our product, they obviously need to try it first, and like it! Then they take a look at our price sheets and packaging sheets. They will want to see how many units are in a case, and they will most likely only want 1 or 2 cases per flavor. (They might not take every flavor we offer due to shelf space.  More on that later.)  We then fill out paper work that could take up to 4 weeks to process!  It sounds scary, but I am not scared.  The only thing that scared me was when she told us we needed a 2 million dollar liability insurance policy.  I am sure we can get it… but I am making Coulter handle that one.   Once we get all that in order, and we get into the stores, we can literally drive up our product and drop it off. (Not that simple, but pretty much along those lines)

Demos: When we get our product into the stores we are targeting, we will then need to market the crap out of it.  Meaning, Instead of paying an employee to demo our product, we will. We are our best seller!  Consumers want to see the face behind the product that they are purchasing/ tasting, and they want to hear our story. We need to be present, and of course, bring along any enthusiastic friends that want to help out as well! (feel free to sign yourself up for this!)  It’s also a great way to gage what flavors will be a hit, how our price point settles with the consumer, and also generate hype about our product!

All in all, it was a great meeting.  The best part, since Coulter obviously had to go to work, and I don’t have a babysitter/ can’t afford one, Quinn went along with me!  He sat in his stroller, chewing on his Sophie the giraffe, and this orange ball I gave him, and didn’t make a peep until we were wrapping up.  I know I should not have taken him, but I didn’t really have a choice. Sometimes you just have to get the job done, and hope for the best!  This time, it worked out! Next time, I might not be so lucky! 😉

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