Why Cold Calling Doesn't Work
Each month I make myself available to new designers to do discovery sessions and we go over where they are in their business and what is working and what isn’t. 90% of the time I hear the same story which is the new designer is taking their product to various stores in their town and everybody loves their products...but they aren’t getting the sales. Of course, they mention that they follow up with emails and phone calls, but they never hear anything back despite their attempts.
Here is why #coldcalling stores does not work:
1) Buyers are not in the store. Sometimes the buyers buy for multiple stores and they don’t ‘sit’ in the store or they are out on a buying trip. If it is a case of a smaller store, the buyer/owner is wearing many hats and may only be there to open the store or in the store during odd hours.
2) You want the buyers to want your product and seek you out. Dropping in and asking a store to suddenly find money in their budget to buy your product does not work from their standpoint because they have already budgeted out their purchases each month and are very clear on what their open to buy is. This is why when the buyers go to market or to a trade show, they know how much money they can spend and when they can accept the delivery.
3) While randomly dropping into a store and meeting with the employees is great, but they are not the buyer and not the decision maker. Get your product in front of the decision makers and not the person running the register.
4) Buyers will buy from showrooms and salespeople they know. I have seen many times a showroom call up a store and say “I have this great new jewelry line and it would be perfect for you.” And the store buyers trust the showroom and they will test out the new line. It is highly unlikely that a store buyer will buy a new brand from someone walking in off the street.
While it is great to be able to get out there and see what stores might be a good fit for your brand, ultimately it is not the best use of your time and resources. Do your research online and investigate the stores your competitors may be in and put together a list of your top accounts that you want to target. When you have that list, then go after those accounts. Call the stores and ask for the buyer’s email. Email them and try to get an appt. Try to get them online and see if they will see you for an appointment or see if they will be doing any upcoming shows or markets you will be participating in.