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For Manufacturers, Here Are 6 Tips For Transforming Your Retail Relationships From Accounts Into Partnerships

Be a partner and consultant, not a salesperson.

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THE OLD DAYS of shaking hands, sending a parcel of merchandise to a retailer and hoping for the best are over. To be successful in today’s retail environment, your retail partners need a lot more support from you as their supplier. In fact, they need you to think of you not as a salesperson, but as a partner and consultant in their business. When you make this shift, you will find that you’ll both be more successful, as sell-through improves in the retail location and the partnership blooms. Here are some tips to start making that happen.

1. Follow your retail clients on social media to get to know them personally. This way next time you speak it doesn’t have to be all about business and you’re building a friendship.

2. Take advantage of upcoming holidays to show your genuine self. Every holiday or occasion, be sure to text your clients happy birthday or merry Christmas whatever the occasion maybe be. Every holiday, I take an hour to text all prior bosses, clients, past clients and other contacts to keep in touch.

3. Know your data so your next appointment with the retailer is at a whole new level of sophistication. Provide them this data so they can make better buying decisions. Examples of data could be what are their top sellers, what are your company’s top sellers nationwide, and what pieces have they sold and not replenished.

4. Look to see what styles your retailer partners are special ordering and, aside from a finger size, change what else are they changing? Maybe you see a trend such as a ring they stock with an emerald cut center but have consistently ordered to be made with a round center stone. Recommend they stock this now with a round due to the sell through.

5. For bridal manufacturers, look into the engagement ring styles the retailers have sold to know what opportunities your retail partner has in wedding band sales. Memo in the matching wedding band styles and have the retailer contact clients to setup a personal appointment for them to view the wedding band in person.

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6. For fashion jewelry manufacturers, see what opportunity your retailers have to make an add-on sale. Run a report of all fashion jewelry sold and see which items have matching pieces. Coach the retailers to reach out to the clients with an image or live video of the matching piece. It’s possible they never knew there was a matching piece!

Megan Crabtree is the founder and CEO of Crabtree Consulting. Before founding Crabtree Consulting, Megan had a successful professional career in the jewelry industry, which culminated with high-level positions at several of the top leading firms in the retail and manufacturing sectors. Reach her at [email protected]

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