Do you wonder how some brands are all of a sudden “all over the place” and just a few months before you’d never even heard of them? I used to wonder that too until I figured out their secret to quickly getting into tons of stores. I’m going to show you how to contact 25 stores in a week.
They all have a Black Book.
I’m talking about a Buyer Black Book – your own personal rolodex of the store buyers you want to sell to.
This is your golden ticket to what your company needs most: getting your products into stores everywhere – and then you’ll be the one people are seeing all over the place – and wondering where the heck you came from!
So let me show you how you build yourself a Buyer Black Book……
In business, in order to build a BBB you need to figure out the following and I’ll show you how….
- A list of every location that could offer your products
- A list of stores that offer products similar to yours
- A big-picture vision of your ideal clients
- A go-to referral source of allies, and vendors
- Sales leads for follow-up or future phone calls
- A map of connections you’ve made and want to make
In other words, the BBB is your everything.
It is the “oh-crap-sales-are-down” list of companies that you need to start calling first to try to get more inventory orders.
Step 1: Know Your Target Market
Before I get too deep, I want you to think about who your target market is. You might have heard this referred to as building an Avatar. Let’s answer a few quick questions about your products because these responses will help you determine which cities and states your customer lives in.
- What is the sex of your target buyer?
- How much money do they make?
- Where do they shop, specifically?
- What brands/stores do they buy?
- Where do they spend their free time?
- What do they value/respect/admire?
- How old are they, on average?
- Why would they buy from you?
Selling to Your Target Market
Now the really tough question; where do these people go shopping? When you sell a product, you have to work to get your products into the stores that already sell to your target market.
You will never see a $250 handbag for sale at a Target or Kohls. Likewise, $50,000 wedding dresses are not the norm at David’s Bridal Boutique. And do your organic, cruelty-free vegan shoes belong on the shelves at a Cowboy Boot Outlet? (Hilariously, no.)
If you are working your butt off to put your product on the wrong shelves in the wrong store, you’ll quickly exhaust your most valuable resources: time & money. Having the right BBB helps you avoid the inevitable burn-out associated with a leak in your sales funnel.
Let’s think bigger than your backyard. Where do the people who buy your product live? The geographic location of the stores you want to see your product placed in is equally relevant to your success as an entrepreneur.
You can sell the right product to the wrong people in the wrong place, etc. but you won’t get very far. Your BBB must target stores that sell to the right people, in the right place, and the right time.
Step 2: Sarah Shaw’s BBB Super-Secrets
Creating an BBB can be a lot of work. And I should know. Sarah Shaw Handbags had to learn the hard way before I discovered this technique.
How to contact 25 stores in a week
I don’t want you to suffer. Here are my four best secrets to successfully creating an BBB:
- Look at a few competitor store listings.
A lot of brands have a link on their website that says, “Find us at these locations.” Those, websites are gold mines. Right in front of you is the perfect list of stores that are already offering a product that is similar to yours. Be sure to look at the websites before you contact them to be sure they’d carry your line. Next, think about complimentary products and do the same thing and review that list. If you sell handbags, look for brands that make clothing you feel your target market wears and check out their store list. If you sell baby clothes, look for brands that sell baby toys, bottles or bedding and take a peek at their store list.
- Read magazines to find new stores.
Read magazines to find popular stores. Magazines still credit stores in the “where to buy” and you can often find the perfect stores in the magazines your target market reads.
- Check out blog listings for “Best of”
Ugg Boots CEO Brian Smith recently spoke at an expo I attended. It turns out Oprah listed him as one of her “Favorite Things.” His sales instantly sky rocketed. Look for the blogs of key influencers in your industry and see what they are celebrating as the “Best of”. Are there any up and coming baby boutiques? Did they mention a new product that’s complimentary to yours?
- Google “Best in…” for your cities.
We already touched on the importance of researching the right geographic location to sell your products in. A second idea is to google the “best of” in those cities.You can be generic and say, “best clothes shopping (city)” or get specific to your product, “best fitness wear for women (city).” Remember these will be the crème de la crème in your BBB so don’t expect to find 1,000 results for every area you search.
Bonus BBB Builder
Another thing you can do that might have not even occurred to you is to ask your target market where they go shopping. This is perfect for very unique products that you don’t have the luxury of using the above tactics for.
I’m a huge fan of Facebook groups, but maybe you prefer a forum or Twitter party setting. Find these on social media and just start asking the people that you meet:
- Where do you go shopping?
- Where did you buy your last XYZ?
- Would you try an ABC product?
The anonymity of the online environment will let you harvest the field for the best possible targeted responses from the people around you. The key is to be friendly and polite. Act like a friend.
However, let’s say that you sell dog sweaters. That’s a pretty cool, targeted niche. Buyers have to own a dog plus have the expendable income to buy clothes for their pooch.
Why not reach out to someone and ask, “I see your dog has a sweater on. Where did you buy it?” If you tweet @ someone, 9 times out of 10 they will answer you.
And the answer will lead you to do additional research of a store that should definitely be part of your BBB. Just think how easy it was to find that tool – a person you could sell your product to – right there in front of you on social media.
Bigger is Better
Your curated BBB will be the perfect list of stores that you have the potential to work with. Therefore, don’t limit yourself.
Conduct the above searches once a quarter (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4). Put it on your calendar and make sure it gets done. Consistency is key to getting the best results in marketing.
Once you have a large list of stores buying from you on a consistent basis, when there are ups and downs you won’t feel the pinch as much. The bigger your list, the more stability you’ll have. Likewise, the more connections you create, the more opportunities you’ll have to develop a thriving, healthy, no-excuses business for yourself.
And that, my friends, is what will keep you moving forward no matter what.
Learn more of my secrets here……its free!