There is nothing more satisfying than meeting with a prospective retail partner. It gives me a stage and moment to share my passion one on one with a captive and interested audience. I thoroughly enjoy those events in which I’m able to educate the retailer on how adding our lineup of products to their list of already established brands will be a benefit to their overall business. It’s a little bit of a rush—a euphoric high that rolls even bigger to the next stop. In most people’s books, that is a sales win. “Congratulations! You’ve done it!” In reality, you haven’t done anything yet. Being awarded the opportunity for “new business” is just that—an opportunity.
How do you take an opportunity from being just an opportunity to being something more? I believe it’s very simple: You slow down, you take time, and you express your passion for this business and what drives you to do what you do. Pouring out those meaningful ideas and statements can go far in the eyes of anyone that will sit down long enough to hear them. Expressing passion and educating both retailers and consumers on new blends or products is the easy part and fun, in my opinion. It gives me an opportunity to paint a picture, to reflect on the hardworking men and women that have skillfully put this product together. It gives me an opportunity to express—in my own words—the thought process that went into creating a specific product. It gives me an opportunity—and that’s it.
There is no secret sauce or special trick to sales and building new business. The part that is lost on most sales professionals is in the follow-up. In the support and nurturing of this new account, and to close the sale, you may have promised items that will be a little more involved. You need to make sure you can fulfill those promises! To close the sale you may have offered a little steeper of a discount than is usually offered. Fulfill it! To close the sale, you may have obligated yourself or your staff to do a special event. Again: fulfill, fulfill, fulfill.
We are all aware that sales are a day in, day out kind of business. If one of those promises goes unfulfilled, our new relationship and trust with that new account can potentially become tarnished, if not lost forever. Life can throw curveballs, of course. You can’t control everything, and issues will pop up from time to time. Yet the persistence of fulfillment to your prior obligations and communication on how to continue to fulfill is the key.