How to Get a Meeting with a Chain Store Buyer

We strongly recommend that our insurance clients carefully read this post  by guest blogger Karen Waksman of Retail MBA.

People always ask me how to get a meeting with a chain store buyer.  It’s a common question that comes up all of the time in my workshops and classes.  I delve into all of the ways product companies can get meetings and sell to chain store buyers in my Retail MBA Training Programs. But here I’ll discuss one very simple approach that can help you get started today.

Before I share this approach, I will say that this is NOT my favorite way of getting a meeting with a Chain Store Buyer.  However, it is an excellent option if you can’t seem to get the attention of a buyer that you really want to work with.

Vendor day

Most people don’t know this, but most chain stores have something called Vendor Day (or some variation of this term). Vendor Day is a day of the week, month, quarter (depending on the chain store) when buyers take the time to review new vendor opportunities. They do this because chain store buyers are constantly looking for new, innovative products. That’s how chain store buyers stay ahead of their competitors. This is excellent news for you because chain stores want to know about your product!

How does vendor day work?

During a typical Vendor Day, chain store buyers will meet with a variety of potential vendors in 15 to 30 minute increments.  Sometimes they give you more time if they are feeling generous.  However, during this time, the potential vendor will have a few minutes to do a song and dance for the buyer. Basically, this is the time to pitch your heart out as to why they should buy your product.

The great news is that you can get a vendor day appointment fairly easily. Simply contact the assistant buyer and ask them to include you in their next vendor day.  By the way, all chain store buyers have assistant buyers.  And if you don’t know how to access a buyer’s or assistant buyer’s contact information, click here to watch a quick video tutorial.  Tell the assistant buyer that you have a new product and want to be included in their next vendor day. It’s as simple as that.

The down side of vendor day

Here’s what I don’t love about Vendor Day. You are meeting with a buyer on a day when  all of your competitors are meeting with him or her, as well. Not cool! It’s very hard to differentiate yourself when the buyer sees 10 other vendors the same day.  I  want the buyer to focus solely on my product.  However, I do utilize vendor day if I cannot get a meeting with a buyer using my other strategies.

Sometimes, no matter what you do, you cannot get a buyer to pay attention to you. So utilizing vendor day can be an excellent approach if you need a simple method to get in front of a chain store buyer fairly quickly.

About the Author: Karen Waksman is a manufacturer’s rep turned author, speaker and consultant. She has sold millions of units to the world’s largest retailers. She currently dedicates her time to teaching product companies across the country on the subject of selling to retailers.
Waksman is also the founder of Retail MBA. Her company is dedicated to providing invaluable training systems on how to approach, pitch and sell to chain store buyers.  Karen developed Retail MBA to ensure that product companies have the confidence and information needed in to approach and sell to major retail outlets the right way. To learn more about Retail MBA, check out
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