What a fun month we have had diving into the importance of building business relationships. By now you can see that this is one essential component of your success. Not just in my opinion, but in the expert opinion of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. Before we close out the month, I thought we should cover some tips for those who wish to build bulk/wholesale relationships.
Why bulk/wholesale relationships? Higher profits per order; more consistent ordering and easier to move inventory. The benefits of bulk order customers for your business is an entirely different topic to cover. All of the bulk orders that I fulfill come from relationships that I have built. Using the tips you’ve learned this month, you can build the same types of relationships and garner the same profitable benefits. There are a few special tips when it comes to building these types of relationships verses every day customers or industry colleague relationships.
Never Approach A Business Cold
For makers, wholesale ordering will often come from events, organizations or boutiques. Being approached by sellers is so common that those in charge often have form responses, discourage solicitation or simply avoid sellers altogether. Cold contacting is in-your-face-spam. The days of door-to-door selling are long gone. It’s intrusive, most of all.
Pick a Niche and Excel in It
One of the greatest mistakes that I see with maker businesses is the failure to pick a niche. To often, makers fall into the cycle of creating whatever the customer wants to order. While this isn’t ideal with one-off orders; it’s even less ideal when you want to approach customers who will order often and in volume. Choosing a niche helps drive up your product value. You don’t make everything; you specialize in quality goods in one category. Being able to order larger volumes of a handful of products that you market to multiple wholesale customers will also decrease your overhead costs and alleviate storage issues. Most importantly, to your target audience, it lets them know that you have a clear focus for your business instead of being scattered. Scattered product catalogs is the tell-tale mark of a hobbiest – and it’s harder to get bulk orders when you do not come off as a professional business.
Know Your Potential Customer’s Needs
Just because you make stuff doesn’t mean that any business has or wants to buy it. In addition to having a niche, you want to also get to know the market that your potential customer will sell to. Whether its event swag, organizations needing gear or boutiques looking for products – you have to make it your focus to offer products that will move. If a business takes a chance on you and what you offer isn’t a good seller to their customer base, they will not re-order. The entire goal of wholesale/bulk ordering is to build up continuous large orders that keep your business profitable (especially during economic upheaval).
When you finally get the ear of the decision-making-person at a business, you want to be sure that your pitch will stick. You want to know the average price point of the local market, the types of products that are popular, and the types of products that fit within that businesses vibe. Believe it or not, businesses often do not know for sure what is the best product for their local market. You can determine price points and high selling products by simply paying attention to the world around you.
What prices do you see in boutiques that you visit? What types of items do you want to purchase at an event? What price point do you see most people you know spending? When you visit big box stores (who spend millions on market research to know what sells) what do you notice is selling fastest/easiest?
You will bring maximum value by showing up prepared with a clear understanding of their target audience and how you can help the business increase sales with your unique products.
Be a Small Business Junkie
The best way to get in front of someone who has buying power for wholesale orders is to simply be seen. This goes hand-in-hand with our last post. I often joke that I am a small business junkie. I take a lot of time to visit and support small businesses in my area. I don’t always buy things but I do stop in when I’m wandering downtown with some tea. I do my best to get to know business owners and hear their stories. Getting to know them drives my support. After all, why wouldn’t you want to support someone when you hear their dreams? Again – PEOPLE OVER PROFITS. I want to help small businesses thrive. Through genuine enthusiasm, most of my contacts become customers for this reason.
Don’t Be Too Eager
Listen, I know what it is like to see potential in a bulk order and want to push them to order volume immediately – especially when you have bills to pay. Ordering new products from a new supplier is always a process. The buyer is going to want to be sure your quality and turnaround meet their standards; then they are going to want to be sure the item actually sells. Most wholesale orders will start off small to see how the process goes and then grow from there.
Let your customers come to you. If you have been doing the work to build a relationship then they will know what you offer and what you are capable of. By default, they are going to have some trust in you to purchase from you. Once you win them over with your smaller orders, the flood gates will open. Remember my golden rule of business: when you put helping people first, the rest will always work out. Your bottom line is important, but your investment and engagement into hearing what a buyer needs to succeed is ultimately what will lead to those big ticket sales and referrals for more.
Thank you so much for joining us this month in our October 2021 focus: Building Business Relationships. We hope you gained some valuable information that will help you strategize your business for scalable, strong growth and success.