How To Follow Up With a Retail Buyer

follow up sales pitch

A lot of emerging fashion designers want to get their product into stores and grow their account base.  It’s something that gets asked often.  The thing is, this is a tricky topic because there’s not just one way to do it.

Here’s a question from an emerging designer:

Q:  I have good sales with the stores that I’m in, and I sent out an email blast to 100 new stores and only got four responses.  What can I do to get a better response?

A:  Know that a 4% response rate really isn’t too bad; you may want to adjust your expectations about what one “cold” email can really do for your business. Next, when did you send your follow up email and what did it say?

Aha – so there’s the issue. There was no follow up email or phone call for fear of not wanting “to bug people”. 

Following up with prospective buyers can make or break your business.

Sending a single email to a store and waiting to get a response is not a good rule of thumb to follow.  Be proactive.  Don’t annoy them with a thousand emails each week, but try to understand what it’s like to be the buyer.

Retailers get hundreds of emails every day. Every single day.  There’s no way that one email will do the trick with most buyers.  You need to keep at it with phone calls and short, to-the-point emails (with a visual of your product and pricing information).

Follow up until you get some type of response, even if that response is a “no.”

Until you get a definite “no,” then it is a “maybe.”  If you feel that it is a store has the same aesthetic  as your product and you really want the account, then send something in snail mail to make yourself stand out.  Be very clear that you understand the store and you want to pursue a profitable relationship with them.

Track your touches. As vital as timely follow-up is in the sales process, it’s critical for salespeople to track their touches with prospects during the process. – Entrepreneur Magazine

All this follow can be confusing, so be sure to create a spreadsheet with which retailer you contacted , when you did it, what happened, and what you will do next. This way you’ll know if you’re hitting one store too hard and possibly ignoring another retailer completely.

Did you practice the “I don’t want to bug people’ follow up method?

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Jane Hamill

Jane Hamill is the founder of Fashion Brain Academy and the creator of several online trainings for apparel and accessories designers, including “20 Up” Marketing Course for Designers and “How to Start a Fashion Business: New Designer Program”.

4 comments
  1. Avatar
    Georgia

    Another great way to keep track of your leads is to use a CRM (customer relationship management) platform. There are plenty of affordable ones out there and unlike an excel spreadsheet, you can set it up to remind you of your daily tasks.

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