Saman's US VP Explains how retention efforts can ease buying fear in established categories such as stain.
Independent retailers often have a lot of apprehension when it comes to buying new lines within established categories. Trusting a new line or company could mean additional manager training, building new brand recognition, and uncertainty about what other peer dealers are choosing, to name a few. These are all things that every manufacturing sales rep knows all too well. Quelling these issues and proving product worth to your brick and mortar is what SamaN’s VP of US sales, Ashley Fleming, does every day.
Fortunately for Ashley, SamaN Stain is well established within thousands of Canadian and US dealers, however proving shelf space value in a saturated category proves a unique challenge. Ashley will explain the cost of airfare, hotel, and the time it takes to visit a store multiple times, is more costly than the initial opening sale for a standard 2-3 location order. “This is important for retailers to understand because I want them to know I am there to build a customer not a sale. I need repeated success and strong sell-through as much as the dealer or my onetime sale is a huge loss.”
With a growing emphasis on retaining quality products among up-and-coming companies, it is becoming more important to develop quality relationships between vendors and retailers. Statistically in the past, companies would spend 44% more focus on customer acquisition vs. 18% who focused on retention. While the fight for retention over acquisition is rapidly growing, the haunt of smooth-talking salespersons leaving you high and dry still lingers.
3 tips on how to know what you are buying is a safe and smart choice:
1. Ask for success stories. A confident sales person should have several testimonials and contacts on hand to assure you are not the first to test the success of the line.
2. Ask what the company plans to do to help you sell. Set up contractor training days and make this obligation a part of your opening order contract.
3. Ask for samples products to be left behind for your contractors. Your contractor’s opinions are what matters and often they are excited to test out new free products. If they love it then you know you have a safe investment.
These steps can assure you your risks are minimal and your chances of staying ahead of the curve are higher. Remember big boxes will often stick too strictly to brand loyalty for low costs and overlook quality start-ups or new innovation. Before you put up your guard the next time a manufacturing rep walks in promising to have the greatest offers, or dismissing unfamiliar trade show booths, remember you can always stand to learn something new.
To further push mindful retention efforts, Fleming strategically works with her social media group to drive targeted audiences to every new location she opens for a minimum of three months. This averages to an audience of *10,000 unique individuals within a 30 mile radius of the dealer’s address. In addition, Ashley schedules hands-on, FaceTime training for new employees which offers every staff member, no matter how far, the option to speak directly with the company and build a personal relationship with the products and their key benefits. “I have spent more time in the last 12 months training my new dealer's contractors and sales teams than making any new calls because if I can’t guarantee a demand for promising sell through, then I am wasting my time as well as the dealers.”
We understand that investing in a new product can be intimidating, but we are here to show you that at SamaN we are in it for the long-haul. Ask which steps will be provided to prove success and try something new!