For any small business, growth is crucial. Very simply, growth means increasing sales over time. Higher sales should drive larger profits, which any well-run business can then invest back into the business to fuel even more growth.
In other words: if you want your wholesale business to expand and thrive, you need to sell, sell, sell.
This is usually achieved by either reaching out to new customers or ensuring repeat business from existing clients. While it’s far more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an old one, it also doesn’t have to be too challenging a task.
Here are five steps when building a strategy so you can sell to more customers.
Step 1. Define Your Target Customers
As you already know, not everyone will be your customer. That said, it’s best to narrow down your marketing efforts to those who are most likely to buy from you. Creating a buyer persona—a semi-fictional representation of your intended market—can help you determine who fits as your ideal customer. As a wholesale business owner, you are looking for those who are buying in bulk and doing repeat orders. This makes retailers one of your buyer personas.
This 11-minute read article from Hubspot can guide you on how to create a detailed buyer persona for your business. It also includes a free Persona Template to make this step easier for you.
Now that you have a clear definition of who your intended customers are, it’s time you move forward to addressing their needs. This leads us to the next step.
Step 2. Understand Your Prospects’ Pain Points
Pain points—simply put—are your prospects’ challenges and needs. You’ll come to identify these as you create and flesh out your buyer persona. Understanding your prospect’s pain points will increase your chances of converting them into new customers.
Here are some of the most common business pain points your prospects might be facing according to Hubspot:
a. Supply Pain Points
Your prospects are most likely having issues with their current supply—either in quality or quantity—and are looking for another wholesale seller who can solve their concerns or at least, improve their current status.
b. Fulfillment Pain Points
Your prospects may be having issues with order tracking or shipping to various outlets and they are looking for a wholesale company who can make fulfillment seamless. Sometimes, the issues they face may be related to their business' systems or processes. It’s good to consider as well that additional pain points, such as those concerning supply, often stem from fulfillment process challenges.
c. Financial Pain Points
Many companies can also overspend for products and services, and this can result in financial strain. Your offerings may be able to help businesses who want to reduce their costs. In addition, financial pain points may also cover issues faced by prospects who have preferred payment methods which are not available through most sellers.
Understanding exactly what your prospects need gives you an edge in positioning your marketing strategies to capture their attention and earn their trust.
Step 3. Reach Out to Your Target Customers
As mentioned above, you’ll need to get your prospects’ attention, otherwise, the effort in learning all about who they are and understanding their pain points will amount to nothing. You need to get your message across: let your prospects know that you are aware of their issues and that you have solutions ready for them.
You can reach out to your prospects through traditional means like snail mail, brochures, catalogs, product samples, and face-to-face meetings. Alternatively, you can also join exhibits and trade shows where you can meet prospects and showcase your products all in one place.
Consider as well that there are access retail buyers to help you find customers. You can choose to pay for buyers’ contact information from websites like The Chain Store Guide or The Salesman’s Guide. This can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000. If you’re not ready to spend an amount of that size, you can check your local library for records of business names and contact details—these are usually found at the business reference desk/section, and are something you can access for free.
Finally, social media and marketing campaigns online can extend your reach. This works great especially for businesses who use eCommerce. Through online campaigns, your prospects can view your products and listings before making a purchase through your website.
Again, the goal is to let your target audience know that you have what they need. There are a number of channels available to effectively showcase your products in the market.
Step 4. Get your Products into your Prospects’ Hands
Sending out samples to your prospects can go a long way in finalizing a sale. In some cases, free samples have boosted sales by as much as 2,000%. Now that’s exponential growth!
The samples you send are not just signs of your generosity, they are also indicators of your confidence in your goods.
Another way to get your products to your prospects is by introducing your goods in trade shows and outside sales. It gives them a chance to test if what you have to offer addresses their pain points, and gives them an opportunity to compare these with your competitors.
That said, you need to identify the perfect balance between being generous and being practical when offering samples to ensure that you’re not incurring additional costs. Find that sweet spot that works—you’ll be surprised by how much of a difference a sample can be.
Step 5. Provide a Delightful Customer Experience
The overall buying experience is a huge factor in closing a deal, so much that 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for better customer experience. With that in mind, it’s up to you to make their buying experience as seamless and delightful as possible.
By this point, you’ve already managed to capture your prospects’ attention, addressed their pain points, and even sent out samples for them to get a better feel of your products. Many of these prospects should already be resolved on purchasing from you. However, this is not the time to relax as this last step is critical.
Many businesses commit the mistake of ignoring the relevance of great customer service and end up paying for it dearly by losing a prospect halfway through the sale. Don’t let this happen to you.
If you’re into eCommerce, you can improve the look and feel of your website so that customers can easily see your products, add items to their cart, and proceed to checkout without a hitch. Providing different payment options also adds a level of convenience so customers can pay the way they want to. You can also send your customers promotions and discounts, either through mailbox or email, to further delight them.
Follow these steps and you’ll have a better chance of turning your prospects into customers. Delight those customers and they’ll be willing to promote your business to friends and colleagues. This will further expand your reach as their customers and competitors become aware of you, eventually leading to even more prospects and business opportunities. It’s all about giving your sales cycle the momentum it needs to keep bearing fruit so that you pull in the profit and push for growth.
Sweet is a cloud-based inventory and order management platform specifically designed for wholesale brands, manufacturers, and distributors. We've built Sweet to help you keep up with the non-stop nature of running a business in today’s market. We can help you sync orders that come in through email, calls, texts, and then ensure your production, accounting, and customer service all have the same information throughout.
To know more about how Sweet can help you find new wholesale customers, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.