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How to Perfect Your Pitch

In the Know

When pitching a specialty product to a prospective grocery buyer, the first impression is key.

During the SFA In the Know webinar: “Pitch Like A Pro: 4 Steps to The Perfect Pitch,” former grocery buyer and head of grocery from Bi-Rite Market turned industry consultant at Food Biz Wiz, Alli Ball, equipped makers with the tools to ensure they are prepared and confident to pitch their products. Ball helps emerging makers develop their retail strategy.

“This is a great time of year for landing wholesale accounts,” said Ball. “Wholesale buyers are still considering new items for their shelves before they get too close to that dreaded fourth quarter where they turn their focus into holiday sales. Now is the perfect time to get these steps sorted out before your next sales pitch or trade show.”

Quick Bites

“Don’t Wing it.”: Even if one feels confident they can sell their product with ease, it is imperative to have a deliberate plan to effectively pitch one’s product, said Ball.

The Ps of the perfect pitch: Ball explained the recipe for success is to prepare, prep the Ps (product, placement, pricing, promotion, and purchasing), pitch the product, and be persistent.

Be trustworthy: From the first conversation with a prospective buyer, a specialty food brand needs to instill trust in their product, the process, and the fact that they are going to make the buyer’s life easier, said Ball.

Preparing the Pitch

Buyers don’t want to have to wait for information like introductory pricing, or if a business can do guaranteed sales for a specific period, explained Ball. Instead, a maker should go into the conversation with the buyer ready to discuss the specific terms of the relationship.

“I'm a former grocery buyer, who has seen tens of thousands of pitches, and in all my time there has only been a few that were 100 percent dialed in,” she said.

An integral part of a successful pitch requires makers to “craft their why” regarding wholesale pitching, said Ball. This means that the maker must come up with a compelling, succinct reason as to why a wholesale buyer would want to spend the time, energy, and money to stock one’s specialty product.

Although attributes like sustainability, special diet-consciousness, a unique story, or delicious taste are great for a product to have, Ball said that it doesn’t usually translate into a buyer taking it on. She advises brands to “let go of the idea that a buyer will carry your product just because it is awesome.”

Instead, buyers bring in new products to enhance sales, margins, or a specific financial goal associated with a particular area of the store. She recommends being conscious of the buyer’s perspective and tailoring the pitch to address a product’s value proposition for the business.

In the video below, Ball highlights how specialty food businesses can engage with the buyer with their best interests in mind.

To learn more about how to develop and execute the best pitch possible, watch the webinar on demand in the SFA Learning Center.