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SMALL CHAIN STORES
1.One person (possibly owner) may be in charge of buying for all stores.
2.Can be a friendly, less formal relationship.
3.Orders may be larger, due to more stores.
4.You may still be able to negotiate immediate payment, or at least a substantial deposit.
5.Sometimes a chain-of-command to go through.
6.Usually a professional, "bottom-line" relationship.
7.Potentially huge orders.
8.Possible "Net" payment terms.
SELLING TO LARGE CHAIN STORES AND FRANCHISES Here's where you can make some really high-volume sales. Don't be intimidated by size of operation, or fact that you're contacting a corporate buyer in some instances. You've still got all those same great reasons that this company should buy from you. Start with a personal visit to store. Ask store manager for name of person responsible for purchasing giftware. In some cases, manager has authority to make those purchases (especially if it's a franchise, in which case manager may also be owner). Other times, you'll be dealing with a corporate buyer. If manager has purchasing authority, you'll proceed as you did in examples above. If a corporate buyer handles all purchasing, you'll contact corporate buyer. Introduce yourself. Give a brief summary of lines you carry that you believe will be a good fit for her stores. Ask for a personal appointment.
Important: Many times - maybe even most of time - you'll get turned away on your first call. Don't be discouraged! The buyer may simply be testing your professionalism and follow-through. By calling again in a couple weeks, you demonstrate those qualities.
Next ... be on time and extremely businesslike when you show up for appointment. Get to point; and be ready to talk price. The buyer's job is to get best possible price, so more you can help her, better your chances of landing an order. Next ... when you get a Purchase Order, immediately contact your supplier to determine availability. If there's a problem, notify corporate buyer right away:
Example: "I appreciate your order for 250 of Item #29435. I'm able to deliver bulk of order - up to 150 items - immediately. I'll deliver balance by end of month. Will that be satisfactory?"
Finally ... fill order and have it shipped directly to each of stores, in quantities buyer has specified.
Payment: In dealing with large chains and some franchises, expect that you'll be asked to accept "Net" terms; typically "Net 30." Technically, this means they are required to pay you full amount due for order within 30 days of merchandise delivery.
In The Real World ... ... this could mean up to 60 days before you receive any payment. And with "Net" terms, you'll receive NO deposit. So, you have to "float" cost of order for that time. Some Wholesalers use credit cards as "financing" for these larger orders. That way, they're not out-of-pocket for costs, and when payment arrives they're able to payoff card and keep profits.
Darren Hendricks has been involved in marketing in one form or another since 1979. He has owned or co-owned 3 successful companies. He is currently owner of Far Horizons Home Based Business Program