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Selling quantities to large buyers


#1

We’re about to try marketing a simple jewelry piece to some
large buyers and wonder if anyone has any experience doing this.
We’re wondering what financial terms are typical, i.e. do we get
a 50% deposit on the order before filling it. If the buyer wants
an exclusive on the product how is that worked out? Does the
buyer pay full price BEFORE the products are delivered? Any tips
on getting through to buyers in large companies? Anything else of
help would be appreciated. Dave

Kickass Websites for the Corporate World http://www.kickassdesign.com
Crystalguy Jewelry http://www.opendoor.com/stephensdesign/crystalguy.html
Recumbent Cyclist’s Advocacy Group
http://www.opendoor.com/stephensdesign/bent/rcag.html


#2

As one who has sold large quantities (over 3000 of a kind) to
HSN, & QVC my advice is cover your butt ! Large users don’t get
to be large by being nice guys and will almost anything because
they can get away with which is quite a bit. Best to retain an
attorney used to doing business with folks like this. They will
probably want to return a certain percentage of unsold items.
Lastly, large companies actually end up dictating prices pretty
well. Good luck and don’t give away the store.


#3

Hello,

I have had experience selling hand-painted accessories to a
major department store (Bullocks) and, as with most retail
stores, the terms were net 30 (you’re paid 30 days from the
invoice date). The jewelry departments may work differetly,
however, these payment terms are typical.

If you’re working with expensive gemstones or concerned about
fronting the costs, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to ask
for a 50% depostit–it can’t hurt to ask. I have not heard of an
account paying full costs before receiving a product. You may
want to run a credit check on the company to get an idea of their
credit history. You may also want to look into a company to
factor the account (they finance the order, collect the money,
and take a percentage of the profit).

As far as exclusivity, you may want to lock them into a written
agreement that guarntees a specific dollar amount for a specific
time period on a design. There are ways around this too; if your
product has a stone color that you can offer to them as
exclusive, you can continue to market the same item with a
variation of stone colors. Just make sure you make the stone
color(s) specific in your agreement. Also exclusive can mean a
territory, say within 10-20 miles from their competition.

And finally, to contact and sell a buyer, the key to success is
persistence, persistence, persistence! Do some market research
and know there products and customer. Tell them with a lot of
enthusiasm about your product and based on your research of their
store, your item is unique to any other and it will generate
incredible sales. If they don’t answer or keep putting you off,
send them an impressive package of your product registered mail
with an invoice. You may want to enclose a self addressed
package to insure return. If they say they’re not interested
after you send the product, ask them to please return the item
(follow with a letter). If they do not return the piece, call
their credit department to collect payment. When you meet with
them to sell your product line, offer a product knowledge seminar
to their sales people. When the sales team knows and loves your
product, everyone reaps the rewards, including the customer.

I hope this helps. Good Luck.

Rebecca.


#4

Rebecca, you were so nice and sent me some great iformation, but
I am so new at this type of selling that I do not even know where
to begin. Where and how do you do market research to find out if
a company would be interested in your product? Do you make “cold
calls” or do you utilize a catalog or telephone or all of the
above?

If I were to approach (let’s say) the main office of the Baptist
Bookstore with a lovely little cross we make, how would I go
about contacting them. Call and ask to speak with the jewelry
buyer? Just send them unsolicited info? etc.

Thanks for you time. jb

J. Byers
http://www.csranet.com/~phoenixe
@Phoenixe


#5
   Where and how do you do market research to find out if a
company would be interested in your product? 

Market research has a variety of possibilities. You can make
yourself familiar with an account by “sourcing” (check store’s
merchandise style to see if it’s compatible with your line
(quality and price), check the competition’s style, quality and
price point, and check the sales staff’s knowledge of their
merch. (if they are unfamiliar with the quality/construction
etc., they probably will not have good sell-through on their
merch.) Secondly, word of mouth is also great sourcing and
saves good time. If a friend says these pieces would do great in
such-in-such store, give them a call. Thirdly, look into trade
publications, and identify stores listed in the back of magazines
that feature jewelry styles in their layouts that are compatible
with yours.

 Do you make "cold calls" or do you utilize a catalog or
telephone or all of the above? 

Cold calling is great. You would be surprised at how many buyers
will respond to new merchandise, if you present yourself and the
line in a concise (sp) and effective manner. I always role-play
what I’m going to say and have notes to highlight the points I’m
trying to convey. It helps so much especially when you’re
nervous. I would try and avoid walk-ins to sell your
merchandise. However, another great way to talk with the person
responsible for buying is to excite the sales people. Wear one
or two of your pieces and ask them if they would do well with the
jewelry your designing. If so, ask for the name of the buyer and
their name as a reference when you call.

If I were to  approach (let's say) the main office of the
Baptist  Bookstore with a lovely little cross we make, how
would I go  about contacting them.  Call and ask to speak with
the jewelry buyer?  

Yes!

Just send them unsolicited info? etc.

I would follow up with info about your line after I spoke to
someone. In fact, if you contact a buyer for an appointment,
follow up the conversation with a letter and literature about
your line to confirm the appointment or thank them for their time
if you did not get an appt. This gives them some background on
you before you arrive or a “teeser” when you call them again.

Good Luck and remember to be persistent.

Rebecca.


#6

j. Byers…What I have done in situations like this is to
first approach the store manager, show him what I have and ask
for the nameof the stores buyer and how to contact him/her. When
you do contact the buyer you will apparently have brought with
you an indication that the store manager thought well enough of
your work that he put you onto his/her path. It is at leadt one
step better than a cold call. Good luck and keep us posted on
your success.

Sol K.