29 Sep How to Pitch Your Product to the German Retailer
Pitching your product in the right way can mean a whole difference to your brand. While the e-commerce market is growing and getting stronger every day, traditional retailers are forced to re-think strategies in order to stay alive and be competitive. On the other hand, there is a real demand for fresh ideas and kooky new products that fit wonderfully into German concept stores and individual small boutiques. Therefore, it is essential for young entreprenuers to know how to pitch their products to the German retailers.
- Target Your Retailers Effectively
Make it your priority to target a certain amount of retailers every month. In particular, at the beginning of your product journey you’ll need to be persistent to get your buyer’s attention. Go the proven route and identify your audience through social networking sites like LinkedIn and Xing, the latter being especially popular in Germany. Similarly, use directories for Germany and consider investing into a database to get the leads. Once you get the necessary contact details, start putting together a simple yet efficient template of an email pitch.
Visit trade shows and use the exhibitors’ list published by fair organizers to find people who might be interested in your product. The key point is to recognize the right shops to target for your product instead of pitching it to every store owner you can find. The advantage of attending industry events is that you can engage in a personal face-to-face interaction with potential business partners. If people sympathize with you, they are more likely to invest their money into your brand since they’re going to be investing into you as a person as well.
- Use Xing and LinkedIn to connect to people in your industry
- Find influencers on Twitter
- Use the German directories to find the right stores and boutiques
- Attend special events like trade shows and go over the list of exhibitors to generate leads
- How Profitable is Your Product?
Your product’s USP:
Choose 1-3 key unique selling point(s) of your product and make sure this is what the retailer sees first when he/she gets your email or during a verbal pitch. To get an idea of the best characteristics of your brand, you should look and analyze your bestsellers. It can be the natural and organic materials you use in production, high quality handcraft, the uniquely simplistic design, the innovative one-of-its-kind approach to solving a problem, etc. . The more you can stand out and set yourself apart from your competitors, the higher the probability of getting the retailer interested in it.
Your product’s price:
Without a shadow of a doubt, this point is one of the (if not the most) important aspect that contributes to your buyer’s decision. Be prepared to answer any questions regarding the price. If you are a new brand that is pitching your first line of products and that for high price, make sure you justify it. Other price factors include: number of previous sales online and in-store, production costs, possible discounts for volume, room for negotiation.
Your product fitting into the shop:
Even if you have a great product and you have pitched it well to a retailer, it can happen that he/she will still decide against it if the brand simply doesn’t fit into their product portfolio. Different tactics can be applied here if you recognize this problem. Firstly, you could always suggest that the shop owner purchase fewer items and give it a shot to see if there might be potential interest. Secondly, you could reduce the price but only if there is some room for potential, e.g. it’s a chain of shops that will buy your products in each location.
- Know the characteristics of your product well but know its USP(s) even better
- Master the numbers to show the profitability
- Make the right call – your product needs to fit into the shop
- Understand the German Way of Doing Business
While I’m pretty sure that retailers all over the world share the same interest in the points mentioned above, namely the product’s characteristics, its price and the way it would fit into the shop, there are differences in business approaches due to differences in the culture. Although you may have already heard this, there are a number of stereotypes surrounding Germany and its people. Germans are often considered blunt, punctual, organized, without any sense of humor, incredibly efficient and well, yes… a bit boring.
There is certainly something to be said about punctuality and organization. Indeed you are expected to show up on time and be prepared. That’s not all that different from other business cultures though, is it? If you want people to invest in you, the least you can do is show how reliable of a business partner you are. It’s quite simple. Punctuality shows good manners.
What about some small talk?
Yes and no. If it fits into the situation and you get that “vibe” from the person on the other side of the phone line or if you’re facing him/her, then there is nothing wrong with spending a couple of minutes building a relationship. However, by German business standards, there is no small talk expected or required. Come to the point and give me all the information that I need in order to make my decision. This direct approach is important to remember when you’re writing an email. Instead of praising the product portfolio in long sentences, try to make it as short and sweet as possible.
Once again, communication is one key point when dealing with German business partners. Precise, direct and open, people want to hear the numbers and figures, see and feel the product and know that you are a trustworthy business partner. They don’t need to hear all those beautiful yet unnecessary fillers.
- Be aware to the difference in business approach in Germany
- Make your emails informative but short and sweet
- Master the German approach to prove yourself as a reliable business partner
Here is an example of an efficient, short and precise email that you could be using to send out to the German retailers and get them interested. However, before we jump directly to the email, let me get couple things straight here:
- Email pitch is the easiest, fastest and cost-effective (precisely 0 euro) way of product promotion
- Email pitch is very easy to ignore, therefore it needs to be around 100-200 words and have a clear structure…
- …including a bombastic subject line to gain the person’s eye and
- give away as much as necessary but as little as possible to leave room for further discussions
- Mass emailing doesn’t mean low quality
Now, keeping these points in mind, let’s see how these theoretical parts come together in an email pitch:
Hello/Hey/Dear Mr/Mrs <Last Name>,
My name is <first name> and I am a <your position> at <your company’s name>. After browsing through your online shop <website URL> I thought you might be interested in adding our latest product <name the product> to your portfolio since you carry similar kind of items like <name the products>. Our <products> are already a success (online or) <in country> with over <number of sales within a year> and we are confident that it would work within your shop as well.
Our company specializes in <max. 1 sentence description of your company>. All of our products share 3 main features that are reflected in our new <your product> : <name your USP’s>.
Please find enclosed more information, including a PowerPoint presentation and our promotional video. I have more interesting product details for you, so let me know if you’d be interested and I send over info for you to review.
<Your full name>
<Contact information, including the link to your company>
This is it for now. Reach out to us if you need help with your email pitch or if you’re looking for some warmth in cold emailing. Happy emailing!
Also read: Quick Tips For Successful Customer Emailing