Selling Wholesale: How to prepare for your first in person buyer meeting

For the second post in my Selling Wholesale series, I’m going to share how you can prepare for your first in-person buyer meeting so you can knock their socks off and present yourself like a pro, even if this is the first time you’re exploring wholesale.

selling wholesale-how to prepare for a meeting with a buyer

Before we go any further if you’re reading this and have just landed your first in-person appointment a BIG CONGRATULATIONS is in order! This is a very exciting step and you should be really proud of taking. As I mentioned in my previous post 5 Steps to Landing Your First In-Person Buyer Meeting, having an appointment with a buyer one on one is, in my opinion, one of the BEST parts of establishing wholesale relationships. Getting an in-person meeting can be a challenge, so when you do nail down that appointment you want to WOW them. Today, I’m sharing what you can do to make the most of your in-person buyer meeting and make sure you put your best foot forward to wow them!

Step 1: Define your Meeting Objectives

When you’re preparing for a meeting it’s important to determine your objectives and outcome goals. While walking away with an order is probably your overall big goal, this meeting should be more than that. Some common goals and objectives might include:

  1. Introducing your latest collection

  2. Giving your buyer a seasonal preview

  3. Getting re-orders on items that have performed well for that retailer in the past

  4. Getting to know your buyer on a more personal level

  5. Learning more about the buyer’s business --what’s working well for them, what isn’t etc. as it relates to your products and your competitor's products. (note that some buyers will be more forthcoming with information than others)

  6. Seeing where your products sit (or might sit) on their sales floor because product placement can impact sales.


Step 2: Pack your Samples Based on your Objectives

It can be tempting to pack one of everything in your line since you don’t really know what the buyer is going to want to see. However, this can be overwhelming for both you and your buyer. If your products are on the smaller side (like jewelry or stationery) and you have the room you can absolutely pack one of everything, although it’s probably not necessary.

That said, I do recommend having one representation of each style. For example, if you sell journals and notebooks you don’t necessarily need to bring one of every cover design, but you should have one of every style (bound vs. spiral vs. hand stitched, lined vs unlined, and one per different size option etc)  This is where having a clean and detailed line sheet will come in handy! (and if you need some help with your line sheet head over to the maker marketplace to snag my line sheet tutorial and done for you templates!)

It’s also really helpful to bring:

  1. Samples of your top selling styles (if they’re not currently carrying your top sellers or any of your  proven favorites you’re going to want to try and get them to try a few pieces!)

  2. Anything new they haven’t seen yet

  3. Anything that you specifically want them to carry if it’s not already part of the top seller/new collection assortment

Step 3: Plan your travel day

The last thing you want to happen is to show up late to your meeting. While there are some things outside of your control (like flat tires, delayed flights or accidents that put traffic at a standstill) you should do whatever you can to control other situations.  That means, if you’re heading into an area that is known for heavy traffic, give yourself extra time. If the buyer is located in a more rural area keep in mind that GPS coverage could be spotty so you might want to print out a set of directions as a backup. And don’t forget to save your buyer's contact information in your phone so if something does happen you can let them know asap. Telling a buyer you’re stuck in standstill traffic or had a flat and that you may be a few minutes late BEFORE your meeting is considerate and shows them that you respect their time. Contacting them AFTER you’re already late is not going to win you any brownie points.

Next week for part 3 of my Selling Wholesale series I'll be talking about what to say during your meeting!