Stephanie Moe, Small Business Division, Bord Bia
Meeting with a buyer can be daunting for a small business. The following are a few simple tips to help you to prepare. There is considerable information on this and related areas, on www.bordbiavantage.ie, Bord Bia’s website for Small Business clients.
In advance of the meeting set clear and realistic objectives. Also, try to anticipate what the buyer’s objectives may be to help ensure you have relevant information.
Obtain factual information
Establish any information you may require in advance of the meeting. Relevant details on your company, background information on the retailer, general market information are all essential.
Don't go alone
Bring somebody to the meeting with you. Depending on their role in the company, they may be able to help answer specific questions. In addition it means one can take notes, thus ensuring a more accurate record of what has been agreed.
Send an e-mail to the buyer confirming the time and enclosing an agenda. Establish the time available at the beginning of the meeting. It is advisable to send an e-mail afterwards thanking the buyer for their time; include bullet points detailing the main items agreed in the meeting.
Keep presentation clear
If doing a presentation then ensure that slides are clear and contain minimal text. Bring sufficient printouts to leave with the buyer. These need to be easy to follow in their own right. You should offer to leave/send on an electronic copy.
Focus on the positive attributes of your product, its features and advantages. Be enthusiastic about building a relationship with the buyer and building business with them.
All buyers are different. If you have never met the buyer then try to find out about them ahead of the meeting by speaking to other suppliers. Try to get a feel for how they usually operate, the type of questions they ask.
Anticipate and decide how you are going to deal with issues on pricing and promotional costs. Try to understand the buyer perspective and how they are measured. Acknowledge this in your negotiations. Know in advance how much you can give away whilst retaining profit for your company and make sure you have factored everything in.
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