According to entrepreneur.com approximately 90 percent of new products fail. This is a very depressing statistic so if you’re just starting out in this game you might need an extra hand to establish credibility. Approaching a retailer with a half-baked idea, brand or product is not going to help your chances. Presenting your product to a retailer with anything less than 100% belief in your product is not going to help your chances. Showing up naked may or may not help your chances depending on how good looking you are.
Now, this is an obvious one but don’t forget to shake hands and look the Category Manager in the eye. To this day it surprises me how many people in business over-look this simple courtesy.
Be confident. Be optimistic. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Practice practice practice your pitch until you’re saying it in your sleep and your better half sends you to sleep on the sofa.
Mirroring is a useful tool. Listen carefully to the way the Category Manager speaks and use key terms when communicating back to them.
Invest (and it IS an investment) in brilliant brand and pack design. Well thought-out branding with a solid story to tell can make even the smallest company or one-man-band look like a million bucks.
You might not have been around for long enough in your current endeavor to have any endorsements, testimonies, sales stats or track record to speak of, but you might be able to draw on previous successes to gain credibility.
Of course in the long run the best way to establish credibility is to practice transparency and honesty in all your business dealings. Sometimes, though, even adversity is the opportunity to build credibility. I’ve found that a problem well-handled can build trust and strengthen relationships.
And remember this is a two-way transaction. While it might seem as though the retailers have all the power, they need suppliers and manufacturers just as much as you need them. It should always be a win / win situation.