Kelly Sharp is the owner of Heart of Iowa Market Place
weeks ago, I wrote about the value that product sampling delivers in
strengthening the seller-customer relationship.
right, sampling also improves your relationships with vendors -- and vendors
can make or break your business. When you build a relationship of trust, you're
in it together. If you're not important to them, they're going to help someone
down the street and your business will suffer.
of sampling as an integral part of a bigger relationship that can bring you
closer to your vendors.
vendors will provide product samples because it boosts their sales. The really
good ones I work with certainly have figured that out.
vendor comes into the Heart of Iowa Market Place every week and asks if we have
enough samples. Yes, she's spending some
money on free samples, but her products also outsell similar products two to
partnered with Stone Cliff Winery from Dubuque last year. Owner Bob Smith
started by giving us free wines to sample and our sales quickly jumped 30
percent. Bob's a very smart vendor, so he
didn't stop there. He also worked with us to build a better display to
highlight his products.
who work closely with me tend to get the premium spots in my store because
their product is going to sell more than the ones with vendors who don't offer
also are a source for ideas that can make your business better. Because they're
talking to other retail stores all the time, they're seeing what's hot, what's
selling and what's new.
constantly saying to vendors, "Let me know if you see something that would
be well in my store, even if it's not in your product line." Because I
have good vendor relationships, I have people come back and say, "You
might want to look at it and sell a product you're not selling right now."
makes your vendor better at their job, too. They're more attentive. They
understand what's selling in your store. And, when you have a problem or
urgently need a product, they'll go that extra mile because they know you. (Like
any partnership, remember that the retailer-vendor relationship is a two-way
street. Show them respect. Pay your bills on time. Let them know you want them
to succeed, too.)
it comes to building strong relationships with vendors, sampling works.