5 Things A Retail Buyer is Thinking About During Your Product Sales Presentation.

In an effort to help you better prepare for your sales meeting with a retail buyer, I put together a list of things the buyer is thinking about during your sales presentation. Once you know what the buyer is thinking about, make sure your presentation touches on these topics. Most buyer meetings will be no more than 1/2 an hour so time yourself.

The buyer is thinking about...

1. Do I like the person. Yes, the buyer is judging your product based on you. How are you dressed? Do you come across as professional or sloppy? Are you dressed appropriately. Ask your sales rep for the dress code of the account and match that. Back in the day you wore a suit to a sales call. Today it varies by account. Are you shy or aggressive? Depending on where the account is located you may need to tone down your sales style. I learned this myself when calling on Petco (San Diego) and Petsmart (Phoenix). I am from NYC and was like a hurricane touching down on the buyer. I had to cool it a bit.

2. Do I like the product. Will it sell? Is it new and different or a me-too? Make sure to touch on the points of difference and the benefits rather than features of the product.

3. Where could I merchandise it? How will it fit into the plan-o-gram. When is the next plan-o-gram reset?

4. What is the price point and margin? Can I make money with this item?

5. Will it help me make my bonus this year or next? This is important. If your product is very new and innovative it may put the buyer's bonus at risk. This is why a lot of true innovative products never make it on the shelf. Sometimes a variation on an existing product has more chance of success than a really innovative product.

Good luck & good selling!

Why a Good Rep is Worth Their Weight in Gold

One of the hardest part about starting any new product company is getting the product into retail. You can cold call retail accounts all day long, send samples, emails, etc. and get ZERO in return.

What you need is the right rep. Why? The retail business is all about relationships with retailer buyers. YOU don't have them and the rep does. The great news is that most reps only charge commissions so you don't pay a penny unless they actually sell something for you. If a rep ever asks you for a retainer - find another rep. However, given the work required to get a product in, a rep will typically screen out products that they believe have a limited chance of success.

If you are contacting a lot of reps and no one will pick up your line ask them why. Reps know all the ins and outs of retail and they usually have good gut instincts and understand the consumers in the product category.

If you have your prototype, brand name & logo, packaging, product liability insurance, logistics in place, sales presentation and brochure complete -- now it is time to reach out and get the right reps for your business. Ask around. Join Linkedin, www.linkedin.com and search for groups that are relevant to your business. If you are in the pet business, consumer electronics, or food category, contact us at info@bulldogms.com.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

What a Bulldog Can Do For Your Business.

Here are a few things Bulldog Marketing & Sales, Inc. can do for your business. Please read our other posts for FREE helpful tips on marketing your products.

1. Strategy - We'll help you develop your launch plan or product marketing plan. What are your objectives? Where do you want to take your business? Bulldog will help you plan for success.

2. Brand Name development - We will give you several names to choose from and conduct the preliminary online trademark search to see if it's available. We have named tons of products.

3. Logo development
- A logo is more than your name in a fancy Powepoint font. We'll give you several logo treatments to choose from and we'll refine it until you're happy.

4. Advertising
- We will create your ad. Whatever kind you need - print, online (banner/Adwords), TV, Radio, Newspaper. We use experienced designers and we don't have the overhead of large agencies so we can do it cheaper and just as good (if not better!).

5. Retail Sales - The one thing you need to get into retail is the right relationships. We have them. We can get you in front of a buyer at Petco, Petsmart, Pet Supplies "Plus", Regional Distributors, Target, Wal-Mart, QVC, & HSN. We also know CVS & RiteAid.

6. Infomercials - Want to sell your product directly to consumers? We can help. We can take the complexity out of scripting and producing your very own infomercial. We'll also get the call canter and fulfillment house ready to go.

7. Social Media - Always wanted a Facebook page and Twitter account? We'll create and customize them and help you get likers (fans) on Facebook and followers on Twitter.

8. Websites - Need a website quickly? We can get you a professional one created in a week or so. Blog style or product focused - it's your call.

9. Public Relations
- Need a press release and ideas for how to get press pickup? Yep, Bulldog can help. We know the editors at Pet Business, Pet Product News and Pet Age among several others.

10. Be Your Marketing Department
- You don't want to hire staff to run your marketing? No problem. Get a Bulldog instead. We can handle all of your marketing for much less than hiring just one junior staff member. At Bulldog your business is handled by senior level marketing staff only.

Contact us at info@bulldogms.com for a comprehensive proposal. Please include your website and contact info.

Also, check out our ad in June's Pet Business. Preview attached.

New SmartTag™ Pet ID Now Available at PETCO

Leading Pet Chain Now Selling Innovative Pet ID Tags
Secaucus, NJ -- (May 15, 2010) --SmartTag™ (http://www.idtag.com), the innovative pet recovery ID tag powered by eAlert™ and produced by LittleGifts, Inc., announced today its availability at PETCO. SmartTag’s eAlert feature sends a pet’s profile by email to surrounding shelters, rescues and its veterinarian if a pet is reported lost. In addition, if a pet is found, a call to SmartTag’s 24/7 Pet Recovery Emergency Response Center connects the pet to its owner in minutes.

“Now the most effective Pet ID recovery system will be available to consumers nationwide,” said David Sarnowski, VP Sales & Marketing. “Being available at PETCO allows our advanced pet protection system to go mainstream. SmartTag is no longer for just early adopters.”

SmartTag will be merchandised in the collar/lead area with “Aisle Invader” POP displays. The POP will include the SmartTag ID and a quick overview of the product benefits as well as information on how to use the product. In-store circular ads and tagged print advertising in Dog Fancy along with trial promotions will drive sales at PETCO. TV support is scheduled for July 2010 to promote the product and service.

SmartTag will retail for $9.99 with service plans starting at $9.95 for 1 year of service. It is also available for purchase at www.idtag.com.

About SmartTag:
SmartTag provides pet owners with an around-the-clock solution for recovering lost pets. On the back of each stylish SmartTag is a unique serial number. The pet owner simply registers this number at IDTAG.com and creates an online pet profile — including pictures, vet records and owner contact information. If the pet ever goes missing, the owner simply calls SmartTag or logs onto the website. Thanks to eAlert™ technology, an instant Lost Pet Alert will be automatically broadcasted to local shelters and rescue organizations within 50 miles of a pet’s last known location. Then live operators, available 24/7, will call up to six emergency contact numbers to notify the owner as soon as the pet has been found. If someone recovers a pet with SmartTag they can call the toll-free number on the tag or log onto www.IDTAG.com.
For more information, call 1-888-560-0985 or visit www.IDTAG.com.

Why Selling Online Only Almost Always Leads to Failure

I have come across so many clients who think they will strike it rich by selling their 1 SKU line on their website. The thinking goes - "I get to keep all of the margin. All I need to do is sell 1 million units and I'll be rich!". Unfortunately I have the job of letting them down. The top 10 online retail sites are as follows: (I think the data is from 2008, but it doesn't matter)

1 Amazon.com Inc. $24.5 B
2 Staples Inc. $9.8 B
3 Dell Inc. $4.53 B *
4 Apple Inc. $4.25 B * *
5 Office Depot Inc. $4.1 B *
6 Walmart.com $3.5 B *
7 OfficeMax Inc. $2.775 B *
8 Sears Holdings Corp. $2.774 B *
9 CDW Corp. $2.47 B
10 Best Buy Co. $2.45 B

* Internet Retailer Estimate

Take a close look at the list... What is the difference between these sites and yours? 1) They sell tons of DIFFERENT PRODUCTS, 2) Many also have a large, established brick & mortar retail presence, 3) They have established brand names. The list goes on and on.

The problem with your business is that you may be selling a 1 SKU line or a multi-SKU line of one category (e.g. dog toys, shampoo, mp3 players, whatever). That's one problem.

The real problem: YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO SPEND ENOUGH TO GET MASS AMOUNTS OF PEOPLE TO YOUR WEBSITE. I don't care how good you are at Google Ad Words or at buying media you are. If you don't have millions to spend on advertising you are done.

What to do? Unfortunately you need to suck it up, hand over a 50%+ margin and go retail. It is the only path to success.

On another note: I have never seen anyone be successful just selling at a retailers .com site. You need both. Getting on Target.com is a good start because it gets you a vendor number. But the next step needs to be getting on the shelf.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

5 Reasons Cold Calling a Retail Account Won’t Work.

Have you tried calling? Sending samples to the right buyer? Rare, but even speak to a buyer? Did you get a sale? Chances are the answer is "no". These are the top 5 reasons why...

1. Buyers are busy. They are reviewing hundreds of SKUs they have on shelf currently. They don't have a lot of time to review new products to begin with.

2. New companies are risky for buyers. Do you have enough inventory? Do you have insurance? credit?

3. You product is "too innovative". Yes. I said it. Buyers hate innovative products. Consumers don't have an established frame of reference with your product. It will require education and possibly a behavior change. These 2 things = no bonus for the buyer.

4. You are not connected in the business. If you need to cold call, that means you don't have the right contacts in the business to reach the buyer through a rep. This signals to the buyer - you don't know the business/industry.

5. You have no credibility.

What to do? Get a rep to get you an appointment and GO WITH THE REP to present your product.

Good Luck and Good Selling!