Tips for Hiring the Right Broker for Your Company. Ask good questions!

While these tips are great, this list is NOT exhaustive. Before using these tips call us for a consultation, which will provide the full picture and scope.

Special Note:  It’s usually not a good practice to hire the first broker you meet. The interviewing process itself is a valuable learning experience for you and your business.  Interview several and hone your skills.[/box]

The following questions and tips are a great starting point:

  • Who will actually be making the sales calls on my behalf at the appointments?
    • Important to get a bio and resume for each account representative, for each retailer to be covered.  The proper follow up questions are crucial. Make sure you know what they are – let’s discuss.
  • How do you go about setting up the appointments?
  • What are your procedures and what should be my expectations?
  • How much lead time will I typically receive if I need to attend?
    • Keep in mind that in most cases, you will want to ensure you attend the appointment.
  • What is your plan for introducing my products to retail accounts?
    • Please explain the steps and procedures you will recommend and follow.
  • What is your follow through strategy if my products are not accepted at the first meeting?
    • Please give me examples of other real world scenarios when and where that happened.
  • What are your philosophies about each of your retail chains, in regards to the infrastructure, systems, politics, decision-making process, etc?   
  • What other product lines do you currently represent, in which categories, and how will this impact the commitment, availability and time allotment to my product and brand? 
    • Will there be a conflict of interest in product lines, resources and time commitment?
  • Do you have established relationships with category managers who buy my type of product line and brands?
  • How large is your organization and who are the key players I will interact with during and after the process has begun?  
  • How do you communicate with your top clients, and how often?
    • Do you prioritize by mid-size and small clients, and if so, what is that priority?
    • Do you have any systems in place for rapid response?
    • What is your turn-around time on responses to inquiries via telephone and e-mail?
  • Do you do most of the retailer forms and paperwork for your clients, or do you ask the client to fill out the paperwork and send it all back to you, completed?  
  • What is your procedure to secure ads and promotions at retail accounts and how will I know that I’m never missing out on timely opportunities?
  • What roles do you see your company performing, for which you are responsible?
    • Which roles do you perceive we should be held responsible?
  • What types of management and processes do you need from me and my company?
  • What examples will you share with me and your other principals of partnerships that work well for you and your manufacturer?
    • Can you give me examples of situations that do not work quite as well and explain why?

As I said – these are just the tips of the iceberg – let’s discuss!

Best Practices for Broker Management

True or false?

  1. The best way to identify the right broker is to ask the buyer for a recommendation.
  2. Hire the “hungriest” broker you can find that is in need of more lines to carry.
  3. Show your presentation to several brokers in the market before hiring one.
  4.  Only hire a broker that aggressively asked to represent your product.
  5. Let the broker go on the first call without you to “feel out” the buyer.
  6. Negotiate the commission rate on a broker-by-broker basis.
  7. Ask the buyer if (s)he would rather have a broker or a deeper discount instead?
  8. It’s always best to hire a broker that is “best friends” with the buyer.
  9. If you have brokers, then you don’t need a company sales person or manager.
  10. It’s always best to have a broker for every account in the country.

The answer to all of the above questions is “false.” Let’s discuss why. Call David Biernbaum at 314-434-6008.

 

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES IN HIRING BROKERS AND GOING TO RETAIL?

1.Failing to do proper research on the viability of your business idea.

2.Miscalculating market size, timing, ease of entry and potential market share.

3.Underestimating financial requirements and timing.

4.Hiring for convenience, rather than skill requirements. Friends and relatives might be less expensive, but they probably do not have the right expertise in a very complex CPG environment.

5.Hiring random brokers for accounts without a national plan.  Not using a master broker, or “hands-on” consultant in  the CPG industry to help you do it the best way.

6.Starting out on your own, without a CPG retail expert. Relying strictly on your product knowledge and your other business experience is not going to work out well.  This is a specialized field.

7.Approaching the retailer without the ability to explain your research, marketing plan and business proposal. To do so is just asking for trouble (e.g., pay on scan.)

8.Seeking confirmation of your actions, rather than seeking the truth.

9.Underestimating (or not knowing) the true cost of doing business with chain retailers.

10.Making your initial sales call without taking a retail expert or someone with extensive accounts knowledge with you.

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