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Wholesale Marketing to Retailers

Lesson 9 of 11

The Art of the Follow Up

Katie Hunt

Wholesale Marketing to Retailers

Katie Hunt

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Lesson Info

9. The Art of the Follow Up

Lesson Info

The Art of the Follow Up

All right, I want to move in to follow up because they think that you know, we start off the process really strong we introduce ourselves, we send me mail campaigns, we start telling them about new products but it's that follow up part that feels a little icky it's the part they feel like how much too much and I don't want to be a pest and all that so I just really want to emphasize something julie said earlier that retailers are busy people and just like all of us, sometimes things slip through the cracks so if you follow up and you don't hear back, you know, wait a couple weeks and try again, you know, so if you don't receive a response, it doesn't necessarily mean that the answer is no part of me retailers may not respond for a lot of different reasons, you know, maybe they missed it, maybe they just totally missed it. Maybe they like what they see, but they just recently received a brand new shipment of whatever product you're selling maybe you're selling necklaces and they just or...

dered from somebody else so it was just poor timing. Maybe they want to see your line developed further maybe they feel like you need to do a little more and developing it and adding more products to your line before they feel like they have enough of them makes to order to place in their store or maybe they meant to place an order and they just forgot I had a few retailers selling me that that they just got busy and they had a few different brands that they wanted to place orders from and they just haven't gotten around to it so again you know, maybe they like what they see s o my point in pointing my reason for pointing this out to you is it's not always about you sometimes is just truly about them being busy or overlooking something that they really intended to follow up on so if you make sure to follow up with them you're going tio piqued their interest again you're going to remind them just even touching base with an email it it's it's just a good reminder a good touch point creator made a good point I don't recall if it was in the last course this the hiring the cells are of course or if we talked about this last night over dinner but setting reminders in your calendar for follow up is really a great way to remind yourself to do this so you know, putting a reminder in a calendar for a couple weeks to follow up by email if you're in the zone you could also dropped the email put it in your reminder so that when it pops up you know you just copy paste put in and go he had a question. I was going to have a tip for that. Oh god, if you use something like google calendar, one of the things I do is I actually have a separate reminders calendar, and you can set it up so that anything you add to that calendar you get an email notification, so all add reminders to that calendar. And then I don't ever have to look at that calendar, and I had to see it. It doesn't clutter up the rest of my calendar, but I'll get an email on the day like, oh, follow up with someone else so it's, really handy. I have another tip to you and that same vein for anyone that's using gmail. I use google maps for business, for my business, and so I use the gmail platform for all my e mails. And there is. I don't know if it's an app or built in feature or what it is but it's called boom oring for gmail. And what boomerang does is you can schedule e mails to go out at a later time, so this has been official in a lot of ways if I'm working late at night and I don't want a client to know I'm working late at night, I can write the email and scheduled to go out during business hours the next morning, but you can also boomerang emails to come back into her in box so you can you know, if if you don't have time to get to something right, then you can market and say, you know, send it back to my in box in a week or four days or two days, or you can designate the time for that, but in regards to follow up specifically, you could drop the email, you know, create that sequence of emails you want to send to this retailer on dh, then schedule it to go out in two weeks if you wanted, although I'd be careful with that, because if they reply in that two week window, you don't want to look like you missed it. So you know, it could be good just to save in a draft or and like you talked about the separate calendar south, yeah, a couple of questions online and then get to yours so scotching cream asked, what is the etiquette or point where we re send a new packet because we have a new release or a complete overhaul is going to get about that. I would use any I would use new releases as a a reason to fall up every time, so every time you have a new set of products to share, I would build a marketing strategy around that. So I would probably do an email blast with images and the updated catalog. You know, working social media campaigns. I wouldn't necessarily regroup and sending them a physical catalog and samples. I would reserve that for an initial outreach and maybe do that once a year or something. But, yeah, any time you have a new release, that's, a perfect time to reach out there's. No better time, the new releases to reach out to retailers, and she had a second question. Is there a risk of sounding in personal in those letters? If she's pitching and she's pitching her written business story and it just seems to her, like, not customized to each person, yeah, I mean, I definitely think there was a line at the first paragraph where it said, I think my stuff would be a good fit for your store, I think that's where you can really taylor, I recommend you kind of create a template for these introductory emails, but create certain pieces that you can customize to this store that you're reaching out to. So that line that talks about, I think you'd be a good fit for the store, you can really be a lot more pacific to that, like, I know your store is based in this area and, you know, you can leverage things in different ways. I know your customers like this type of product and maybe months, a good fit grabbing like denise and little calling you, so yeah, definitely find different ways to kind of create customized sections to this introductory email, but I think it's totally appropriate to create, like a bass introductory email because you don't want to, you need to be efficient to you don't want to be recreating the wheel that's, not an e blast situation that's a I'm sending one other person, this email he needs you have questioned her comment. Just being friendly or my nature to use their name but also to use their store their shop named great point not say your stay your rights goes just but I'm candle company yes no that's a great point using the name is it is a big big thing did you have coming or question? I was just going to mention about doing some tailoring that can help and I think I mentioned that my reps segment as well when I was interviewed is talking about things that are relatable teo you know oh you're soars in chicago you know, we grew I grew up in that area I love that part of town so try to find things that kind of make you stand out and sound more personal I mentioned the social media thing makes it really easy nowadays yeah, I saw you were in vacation in paris it looks like you had a beautiful trip, right? No welcome home home without being creepy it to fine line right? I noticed that device actually works for me when people pitch me. So I think it's something to note? Well, I agree I think it shows that you're paying a ten shit and you know what? Not only they're doing personally but what their shop is up tio what kind of other products you're carrying I definitely think that you can take a more like standardized email and add the personality at the friendliness at the personalization too which I encourage you all to do yeah was there another there was another question go ahead get over this kind of goes back to a little bit before when we're talking about building the email list and when julie was mentioning how a story reach outer for like picture of eighteen months and then she placed an order so that gives me some hope that's good you know not hearing back but at what point do we kind of remove them to that that d category you had mentioned so examples to be store has closed the email you tell you there it would start a good fit what are some other reasons for us to do the high um those are two very good reasons right there on the store closes or they've e mailed me back and said no thanks but your thanks but no thanks if it goes on for several years or something well let me tell you a little story about me calvin I think I share this with you a paper camp I had a store I exhibited this season your show for last eight years seven years anyhow point is I had a retailer come to my booth at the stationery show for three years straight before they placed in order and they place an order on the fourth year and I was kind of like I had put them in the d category because I hadn't seen them, I had seen them every year, and I thought, there's, no way, like, I don't know why they keep stopping by, but, you know, I think that was the kind of that was a case where she wanted to see my line grows, you know, some of the reasons we talked about she she wanted to see that I was committed to what I was doing and that I was committed to my business and that I was putting the effort into really grow whatever is doing, and she did place in order, and she's placed orders since so I I kind of don't want to tell you if it's been two years, take him off your list, because this lady took four years, so, you know, maybe in that case, you're just putting them on a more like, automatic marketing plan, where it's like, they're getting your new releases, and maybe they're just hearing from u four times your three times a year, whatever it might be, and you're not specifically reaching out for one on one communication, you know, maybe engage with them a little bit on social media or something, but I, frankly, I'd leave montolio shut their doors, and they tell, you know, that I totally keep sending things out. Yeah, sent especially if it's something like an e blast about new product releases. It doesn't cost you anything to send it to them, you know it's sze, minimal time it's really a sunk time cost because you've already developed that for the other retailers you're reaching out to. So yeah, I mean there's no harm, there's no harm. I do recommend that, you know, every couple of years you go in and send the blast is like, do you still want to stay on our list? Kind of a confirmation people do. Obviously. For any blast situation, they do have the option of a no subscribe on their own just by clicking the links at the bottom of your email. But it's always nice just to kind of check in and I just got one from I think anthropology the other day. Are you still there? Kind of, you know, and it's more of they want to make sure that they're sending the stuff you want to receive leave so, you know, you could do that every couple years if you wanted tio, try toe hone in on that list to make sure it was a smaller but mighty your list more tailored. Yeah, okay, was there another question in the back? No ok, license online to answer this might be was sort of related to what you just said that candy sohn say asked and we have two products how can I re try to reach without having anything new? Well that's where she'll need to get here she will need to get on a you know they need to build out their product line more and that's where their focus needs to be before they start marketing to retailers I want them to focus on their product line and actually and encourage you to go take a look at the beginner's guide to wholesale course because we talked a lot about product development there and in what you need to have in place before you start whole ceiling so you need to make sure you've got a fleshed out product line and that you're releasing new products on a regular basis so with this course I'm assuming that you've already got those things settled in and that you are releasing on a regular basis and alice from my lupe paree asif were attending an assess this year do you recommend reaching out via an introduction email first to at least a tiered retailers prior to sending out the nss mailers? I think it's it's it's totally fine to do that just be conscientious of the timing around that when you send it and we'll talk about this coming up of tearing but you know first trade shows specifically I recommend sending out a snail mail piece of direct mail piece you know, fortified leaks part of the show having email that goes out three to four weeks, two and a half to four weeks before the show engaging in social media all the way through, including at the show and then afterwards kind of doing the downward spiral of you know, like tearing up and then tearing down so you follow up with an email a couple weeks after the show and then, you know, you do a follow up mail piece hopefully at some point after it doesn't have to be forty five weeks after, but I've seen some really great pieces that were months after with it still alluded to the fact like hey remember we met at the show and that was really great so but is around I have a different I have some different strategies actually to share around trade shows, but we're not going to cover that in this class let's see what is too much to go over what right and there's one more question about I mean kind of related to that but a different time of the year daisy chain oddities was wondering how long before let's say like christmas or holiday is to do contact retailers for this products right? Well the buying cycle for things like holiday are very different for the wholesale market than they are for the retail market so you know, people are buying holiday goods on the wholesale market as early as you know february march april may like it's the first beginning part of the year that they're placing those orders now they're placing these orders, but they're your typically not shipping them until you know closer to the fall but that is this season, so if you do want to release holiday products, you should be ready to have those produced and photographed and I'm ready to launch the public in your buyers earlier in the year and one more question right now so it lay slit asks if a perspective shop unsubscribed from your wholesale focused email list should you remove them from other marketing strategies such as mailer's that's a good question if they if they remove themselves from your mailing list, you obviously can't add the back on or anything but I would probably I personally would probably follow up with another personalized email directed at them you know, a couple weeks later a month later just to say, you know, but with purpose. You know, we have this new catalog, we have these new products, whatever it is and save their respond if you don't get a respond at that point, I kind of feel like that selling that's them telling, you know, so you know at that point I'd probably remove them from the other marketing tears good. Something funny is happening, okay? Eso again, when we're talking about your messaging, was there a question mark there? Okay, um when we're talking about your messaging, remind them what you're selling, how they'll benefit from it, basically, how they'll make some money off of it, and why you're a good fit for their store. So that's where adding the personalization, adding the functionality of what your products are and and really the benefit. But again, what we're talking about right now is wholesale marketing. We're not talking about re killer or I'm sorry retail marketing. So you have to remember who your customer is and what their needs are. Julie articulated this beautifully by saying, I'm looking for brands like I can tell in my store that can help make me money. When I make money, you make money everyone's happy, so think, think about that. Mix it up. We talked about this already, but if you sent an email previously sent a handwritten note, try different things, see what they respond to, they may respond more to one avenue than they will to another, and those are the types of things you want to document and your mailing list.

Class Description

Marketing directly to retailers is a decidedly different process from marketing directly to customers. This course will equip you with everything you need to know to build the skills you need to approach retailers with consistent, on-brand, and engaging messaging.

In Wholesale Marketing to Retailers, you’ll learn essential tools for expanding your business to market to retailers. You get tips on building relationships with retailers and how to approach them without sounding “sales-y.” You’ll learn about:

  • Building a wholesale mailing list 
  • Creating a simple, tiered marketing system 
  • Choosing the best times to reach out to retailers 
  • The do’s and don’t’s of email marketing, direct mail campaigns, and social media outreach 
  • Key messaging strategies and the importance of product photos 
You’ll leave this class ready to build your mailing list, create a new strategic marketing plan, and expand into regular retail sales.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Marketing To Retailers Guide

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Wholesale Marketing To Retailers Workbook

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Tracy Clarke

Before watching this class, I had been trying to compose emails to reach out to some retailers. I'm glad I held off and watched this first. It was so great to hear the inside scoop on how retailers want to be approached, seeing a sample letter and learning the etiquette on following up after the initial reach out. Now I feel confident about taking my business into this next stage.

Katy Casey

This class was amazing and Katie shares so many great insights and actionable, specific tips. It was great to also get to hear directly from a retailer as well!

Samantha Venator

This was such an awesome course, I watched the whole thing in one sitting. Katie answered all the questions I had and even answered some I didn't know I had when I started the course. It's super affordable and definitely worth the money. Plus the little workbook you get sums everything up nicely.