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    • sarahhyndman

      Business Owner

      @sarahhyndman

      Distributors – how do I grow?

      Question submitted 02/06/21 @ 05:56pm

      Hi there, I have been running a small business specialising in natural skincare/body care for around 4 years now. It's going well, but I want to step it up. We're stocked in retail shops around the country - and most of that has come through stores approaching me. But now I need to approach the stores - I need someone to help get the sales and fulfill the orders. Where would I find an appropriate distributor? Or where would I find a sales rep? I can't seem to find anything! TIA :)

      Category: Business Growth
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      • Joe Davis

        Industry Expert

        @joe-davis

        Reply submitted 02/06/21 @ 05:56pm

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        Hi Sarah,

        In terms of looking for a distributor, have you considered asking the stores you are currently working with – those which you most respect – who they get the best service from / have the best relationship with, and perhaps for an introduction? We self-published a book a few years back that did well – when I was looking for the right distribution partner we spoke to great independent bookstores (and a respected peer in the industry), and the same name came up over and over again…it led to a great relationship with a ‘right-sized’ distributor that really fit our business.

        In terms of recruiting direct sales roles, I’m not familiar enough with your sector to know how widespread that is, but I suspect you’d find some good examples in FMCG. I have a couple of good friends, both working in their own beverage businesses, that I could introduce you to if you wanted a chat? A general observation – great, relationship-oriented salespeople who treat your brand well are solid gold, and can really help you grow revenue – my advice is that once you find someone good invest in them, train them, and do all you can to retain them.

        My first answer on Manaaki – hope that’s helpful!! 🙂

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      • Catherine van der Meulen

        Industry Expert

        @catherine-van-der-meulen

        Reply submitted 02/06/21 @ 05:56pm

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        Great insights Joe

        Thought I would break your question down into a few parts

        We’re stocked in retail shops around the country – and most of that has come through stores approaching me.
        YOU COULD CONTINUE WITH THIS APPROACH AND CURATE A RETAIL LIST THAT YOU COULD THEN IDENTIFY SOMEONE TO WORK ON THE OUTREACH. WE WORK WITH A TEAM OF VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS IN THE PHILIPINES THAT ARE ABLE TO SUPPORT ME IN CREATING A LIST OF ORGANISATIONS BASED ON A TIGHT BRIEF OF THE TYPES OF STORES THAT YOU ARE WANTING TO WORK WITH AND THEN SHARING A SPREADSHEET THAT HAS COMPANY NAMES, CONTACTS, LOCATION, EMAIL AND PHONE NUMBER.
        YOU COULD TRIAL THE INITIAL APPROACH YOURSELF TO IDENTIFY WHAT THE BEST APPROACH IS TO BUILD THE RELATIONSHIPS AND THEN CREATE A STRUCTURE TO HIRE SOMEONE TO CONNECT DIRECTLY TO THE RETAIL STORES.
        THERE IS A PLATFORM IN AUSTRALIA CALLED TRADESQUARE WHICH DISTRIBUTES PRODUCTS WHOLESALE – THEY ARE ONLY FOR AUSTRALIAN BUSINESSES BUT I WONDER IF THERE MIGHT BE SOMETHING SIMILAR AS A MARKETPLACE FOR BUSINESSES IN NZ.

        But now I need to approach the stores – I need someone to help get the sales and fulfill the orders.

        Where would I find an appropriate distributor? Or where would I find a sales rep? I can’t seem to find anything! TIA 🙂
        WITH REGARDS TO A SALES REP I THINK IT WOULD BE GREAT TO CONNECT THIS WITH SOMEONE WHO IS ALREADY IN YOUR COMMUNITY. PEOPLE WHO ALREADY KNOW AND LOVE YOUR BRAND AS THEY ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO SELL IT AUTHENTICALLY WITHOUT IT FEELING LIKE A SALES PITCH. POTENTIALLY REACH OUT ON SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR COMMUNITY AND SEE IF ANYONE IS INTERESTED IN JOINING THE TEAM.

        Hope those help Sarah

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