Be FLEXIBLE and close that deal.

November 14, 2018

Before you meet with a retail buyer or distributor to present your product there are 1001 things you have already done. You have already spent months and likely tens of thousands of dollars designing your product. You have probably lived and breathed your project 24/7 since it first popped into your head. Before you finalize your first samples and head into that sales meeting that can bring all of your hard work to realization (or not), take these 3 flexibility tips into consideration.

Be flexible in your approach to how strong early samples should be – build early samples stronger than they need to be. If you can use a slightly better material or slightly more material (without affecting aesthetics and performance), then do it. Retail buyers and distributors can be very rough with your samples. This is by design as they have limited time to review your product so they are often extra critical and rough with your product in the meeting or with their testing agency. They also may not fully appreciate that you might be showing them a prototype part. Don’t fail in the meeting because of your sample breaking, presenting a robust product is the solution to this potential problem. Get past the first hurdle.

Bring more than one sample with different feature sets to show you are flexible to the buyer’s potential needs. You don’t have to show all the samples right away but be prepared with backup samples that offer something different and that can potentially hit alternative price points. If the meeting is not going great with your preferred product configuration then start showing off different feature sets with alternative colour options and surface finish options. There is, what you think is the right product configuration and there is, what the buyer thinks is right. I am not saying the buyer necessarily knows more or is even right, but they do hold the power in the meeting. Sometimes a bit of flexibility in your pitch and a simple pivot will save your meeting and your project.

Take YES for an answer. It may not sound like being flexible but sometimes when you hear a yes answer it won’t be the yes you want to hear. Taking the yes that comes your way will go a long way with the buyer. Yes, might be a lot less quantity than you were expecting. Yes, might be a lower FOB price than you were expecting. Yes, might be “we will take it if you can do  X”. The point being, any yes is a win in the meeting but it will also come with challenges that you won’t be able to fully resolve in that meeting. You can push back a bit, but be prepared to accept the yes for now and move heaven and earth to make it work. it will show you are flexible and someone the buyer wants to work with. You can always try to introduce your wants shortly after the meeting and after you have worked on the buyers wants. Until all the paperwork is finalised you have time to solve any problem in front of you.

Showing flexibility to any feedback, request or situation that a retail buyer offers up will go a long way to landing a purchase order. As long as things keep moving forward you are in the game with a good chance of winning. Be flexible, keep things moving forward and close the deal.

Gary Moran

At HLH, we make things for you. FreeQuote@HLHPrototypes.com

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