Most people think that in order for a buyer at a retail store to buy a product, they have to “like” or “understand” the product somehow. As a result, many presenters focus their conversations all the time, regardless of the listener, on the product itself. Sharktank has many great examples of inventors who have yet to really understand fully what the full circle of selling consumer products is all about.

A good buyer is looking for products she can sell, not use personally. That means products that her Customers will want to buy. It’s about the money after all. A buyer tries to figure this out when looking at a new product by thinking about the other products in the category, what is working, what is not and whether this product, by virtue of its package, uniqueness or story will be able to outsell or enhance sales of the department.

The smart seller does homework to understand the buyer’s department and uses that awareness in crafting a fit for her product in the buyer’s product mix. This is the “opportunity” section of the conversation which is always first. What opportunity, for the retailer, does your product meet. If there is no meeting of the minds on the opportunity, the product is irrelevant for the buyer (don’t bother with the demo!).

When the buyer agrees with the opportunity, the door opens to your product and how your product is uniquely positioned to meet that opportunity for the buyer.

Having been a road sales guy, I can truly attest to how important it is to have “shopped” the store and the competitors before making that big presentation to the important buyer. Whether, it is a national account or a local retailer, helping the retailer improve their offer for their Customers (and make more money) is the ONLY thing that can put your product in their stores.