When you go to a new restaurant do you ever ask the waitress what she recommends or what the best sellers are? And when you do, does she have an answer?

A lot of brands are equally unprepared to communicate simplicity to retailers. Why, because it’s easier to simply produce a catalog.7

The smart restaurateurs train their wait staff to know what the best sellers are and what the recommended offer should be, because this is what is the very most likely to make the new guest happy with their first experience. Those dishes are not necessarily better than the others, they are just far more likely to create loyalty by the customer because they will provide a proven positive experience.

Loyalty from a retailer comes from sell through. Simple as that. An empty shelf gets refilled.

Looking at your business make sure your sales materials and sales people have these elements (tools) at their disposal all the time:

  1. All items in your catalog and online have item numbers listed (not UPC numbers, they are too long).
  2. Items that are newer are called out from the ones that are older assisting existing customers to find what they may wish to refresh the merchandise statement.
  3. Organize your catalog and price list so that it is easy to cross reference.
  4. Give your sales people a list of the top sellers in each of the categories in which you classify your products. (Do you know your best sellers in each category?)
  5. Give your sales people 3 opening order assortments. One at $150-250, one at $400-$600 and one at $700-1200 (depending on your price points).
  6. Give your sales people photos or samples of the instore signage or other store photos that will allow the retailer to envision the presentation in their store that will create the “sell through” needed to succeed.
  7. Provide an order form – even if no one uses it. It’s a guide and a Call to Action. Be sure it contains any specific terms of doing business with your company.

Next time you’re in a successful restaurant that attracts new customers all the time, look at their communication systems and think of your sales process. What else can you do to make it easier and easier to buy your products?

The winner of shelf space is generally not the coolest product, it is the one with the best communication tools for the salespeople to remain engaged with the retailers and consumers. The higher level of trust goes to the brands that communicate well. Make sales easier or you surely make sales harder.