February 24, 2016
The podcast published earlier this week talked a bit about understanding how the distributor/food broker/buyer world works in the specialty food industry. As a quick followup to that, I wanted to add today’s article – no matter who you’re talking to about your product, be it the end consumer, a store buyer, a food broker, or a distributor, there is one sales rule you need to follow for each them.Whenever you are trying to sell your product to someone else, you must approach the conversation from the standpoint of why that person needs your product. Which means, you need to understand what is important to that person and be able to talk specifically to that. The mistake I see over and over again is that producers talk about what is important to them and what they hope to gain by the sale. Just like most everything you do in business, to do it right, you must see things through the lens of the person you’re talking to and help address their concerns. Your ‘sales pitch’ to an end consumer at the farmers’ market is going to be different from your sales pitch to a store buyer/food broker/distributor because each has different concerns and different goals they’re trying to achieve if they buy from you.
So before you reach out to someone, think through what they may be hoping to gain or accomplish and how your product might help them do that. These ‘accomplishments’ can be wide-ranging; anything from ‘product X can help you relax after a rough day’ to ‘with product X, we anticipate you’ll have more sales at a higher profit margin for your store.’
But whatever you do, please don’t talk to the consumer, buyer, broker, or distributor about how buying your product will benefit you. Because ultimately, someone is only going to buy from you if they can see the benefit they themselves will derive from the product.