Once you have your foot in the door with a retailer your chances of getting more product on-shelf (and therefore selling more shit) increase. Awesome.
When pitching a new opportunity to a Category Manager, lead with the consumer insight your product is uniquely positioned to address. If this is not clear to you, you need to go back to the drawing board, or re-think the product in terms of a clear consumer benefit.
Pitch to the specific goals (financial or strategic) of the retailer. In addition to filling a clear consumer need, a product must help the Category Manager either achieve financial targets or fulfill a retail strategy (or both. Category Managers are bloody ambitious people. Make them look good and you’ll go far).
But don’t even bother approaching a retailer for increased shelf-space if your current sales aren’t honky dory. Go back to basics on your current product, invest in it, redesign the packaging, create some noise on a promotions level or reformulate, whatever you need to do to get that product back on track.
Make sure your service levels are super excellent. People like dealing with people they like. Manage the relationship professionally and respectfully at all levels, from Category Manager to Receptionist. Be nice! Deliver on your promises. Work with their systems, even if they don’t make sense to you (and they probably won’t!).
Use seasonal windows to create opportunity. Think about weight loss in January, Back to School at the start of February and the obvious ones like Halloween and Easter. Get creative.
Visualise the new product on-shelf with supporting point of sale material (in line with that retailer’s guidelines of course!). Show it in its best possible light and it’ll make that “yes” so much easier to come by.