5 Tips From A Buyer How Suppliers Can Best Prepare For Meetings  4/9/2020


The outbreak of the coronavirus has brought a wave of challenges and  uncertainty on an unprecedented scale. We all have witnessed how trade events have been scrapped of the agenda and moved to the second part of the year or beyond. ECRM is no exception to this.

However, businesses still need to respond to customer demands. ECRM has crafted a unique opportunity to continue making vital business connections via a virtual platform Efficient Supplier Introductions (ESI).

Although we are in times of uncertainty, the curve will eventually “flatten out” and the time of tradeshows and meetings will kickstart again (and it will!). Waiting for in-person meetings to starts again or preparing for virtual meetings, we would like to ask suppliers to use this time as a golden opportunity to prepare for future meetings with buyers, in order to make the best impression, have a chance to stand out and listed by retailers and distributors. 

I've had the opportunity to speak to Taylor Sargeant, Head Buyer at Stephenson's Online who attended this year's European Beauty and Personal Care Program in Barcelona. Stephenson's Online works exclusively with 3rd party platforms, and work with brands to create a complete strategy for Amazon (stock management, pricing strategy, look & feel of the brand etc), shipping 1 million orders around the world, everything from start-up brands to household names. 

The ECRM Experience

During our 4-day Beauty & Personal Care Program Taylor attended 132 supplier meetings, later distilled into 78 follow ups and resulting in 45 agreements – keeping Taylor busy with supplier contacts and product launches throughout the year on the Amazon platform globally. “Since Barcelona we have launched 15 brands already, 8 launching in April and 13 in May.”  Grace ColeMades Cosmetics and Qaveman Mens Skincare are just a few of the brands already launched. 

Being smaller at scale also means agility to list brands quickly. “We sign brands quickly, and we get them live quickly. Everything happens within eight weeks or so” and mentions that not many are prepared for that speed to market and encourages suppliers to be ready to move quick in. 

According to Taylor many supplier brands still miss out on the potential of closing deals due to simply being unprepared in the moment of the meeting. Naturally, although Product, Price and Packaging are deciding factors if a product will be listed or not,  Taylor also stresses the importance of the personal connection as a foundation of building long lasting business relationships.

“In terms of how closely we will work with the brand it’s a lot about the people and what the brand is talking about , and what the owner or director of the brand is really about, because creating a relationship with a brand is a long term thing” 

Taylor gives his perspective of a buyer attending supplier meetings and shares his tips to suppliers on how to prepare in order most successful in your buyer interactions and make the most of the meetings. In a time with meeting restrictions a travel bans, its a great opportunity to prepare, work on your pitch and tactics to give your products the enthusiastic presentation it deserves. 

Make your buyer meeting a success- with these 5 tips from Taylor

  1. Create a 5-star Profile: Your profile is the main way the buyer learns about you. Work together with your CSM to create a holistic overview of you Company Profile, Capabilities and Products. Make sure you utilize the WOW Factor section on your Profile to list the key factors that differentiates you from other brands. 
  2. Don’t ignore the smaller retailers – Although you are focused on the bigger name retailers, don’t ignore the opportunity for the smaller ones. It could turn out to be a very valuable business relationship that could also take your products to market much quicker than many larger chains. Don’t be deduct your preparation for these smaller retailers, you can miss out on these opportunities. 
  3. Know who you meet with : Preparation is key! Read through the buyer’s profile on your preparation page, get familiar with their website, including any press releases, if they are available, as they may help give you insights into the company’s go-to-market strategy.  The meetings are limited to time – don’t waste valuable meeting time just for introductions. Do your homework and you will save the precious time for discussing business. 
  4. Update your Pitch:  Once you have done your research, customize your pitch and/or your presentation, tailoring your discussion to the buyer that you meet.  Who is the buyer? What is their focus? Where are their key markets? Which is our pitch? Do not reply on a PowerPoint presentation for the whole duration of the meeting. Prepare key facts on your presentation and use the time to ask questions and speak with the buyers in front of you. 
  5. Bring your enthusiasm: You can have a great product and brand, but if you don’t present with the enthusiasm and energy that matches the products you are trying to sell, then it will not be a deal. Remember, the relationship established weighs as much as your brand and product itself, if not more.

“If you establish a good relationship, you will make the business work as well".


Are you a supplier who wants to know more about how to make the most of your buyer meetings? The Client Success Managers and entire ECRM team here in Europe are working behind the scenes from their home offices to support our supplier and buyer customer base - and set them up for meeting success, in person and virtually.

 

 

John Van der Valk

CEO
ECRM Europe

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