This Post is part of the “FREE Wholesale Training Course”. You can view the entire course listing and introduction to the course here.
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Module 4: Wholesale Research
- Introduction to finding wholesale leads
- Tracking Leads / Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Demand Based Sourcing
- Niche and Trade Show Sourcing
- Bulk Product Sourcing
- Relationship Sourcing
You can click on each of the links above to go directly to the area of the module the best interests you. That being said, let’s get right into the content!
Want to skip reading the massive wall of text? After the entire course is released, I will make videos for each of the sections for easier consumption. Make sure you are on our mailing list to be notified when it’s released!
Did you know it is OK to talk to people, and not do a bunch of research on the computer to find leads? It’s true!
One of the best ways to find sources for potential suppliers is networking and building relationships. There are potential sources everywhere. Think of who might know a potential source for products:
- Family members
- Professional networks
- Existing suppliers
- Workers at the grocery store you visit every week
- Local networking events
- Service providers (lawn person, cleaning person, UPS guy, mail carrier, etc.)
The key is to leverage your existing network to find leads, and then build out that network. How would you do that? Start letting people know what you do!
When you are having conversations with others, find a way to bring up what you do for a living. If you are doing it with people you already know, just mention you are working on something new they may be able to help with. Say that you are now working with companies to help sell their products online. Ask “is there anyone you know that has created and sells a product?”. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find out. Aunt Sallie may know Farmer John that makes a killer jam. The lady at the grocery store that you see every week may know of Zach that’s working on a new product they started selling. The marketing guy you know from church may do local marketing for a company, but knows nothing about selling products online. All it takes is an introduction!
Other ways to bring it up:
- “Have you heard of anyone locally that is making something?”
- “Do you know any other business owners?”
- “Have you been to a store locally and saw a product that you’ve never seen anywhere else?”
- “Talk to anyone that has anything interesting going on lately?”
- “What projects are you working on right now?” This can be a good lead to them asking what you are working on.
If you are meeting someone new for the first time, you don’t necessarily need to lead with these questions. It’s quite simple to bring it up: “what do you do for a living?” It’s inevitable that after they tell you what they do, they will ask “how about you?” Don’t say “I sell on Amazon” or “I’m in e-commerce”. Those tell them nothing. “I help people sell their products online, and I really specialize in Amazon”. Usually you will get some sort of response back saying, “wow that’s interesting” or “everyone buys from Amazon”. A great follow up is “do you know of anyone you think I could help out?” BOOM.
When talking to brand owners, ALWAYS ask for other connections. Here’s some great questions to ask that will give you some amazing information:
- “Do you work with any distributors? Would you mind passing along their contact information?” Receiving a distributor’s contact information is very useful. You can either purchase directly from the distributor for other brands, or it can be a good lead in to those other brands.
- “Do you work with any other companies in your industry you think I could help out?”
- “Do you know any other companies that have been having problems with people selling on Amazon?” This one works extremely well when you are discussing Amazon with the brand owner and they respond, “everyone I talk to says Amazon drives down prices and damages brands”.
- “What industry events do you usually attend that I should think about going to?” At minimum, you may find some additional trade shows where you can meet additional companies.
Sometimes, you have to reverse engineer relationships to get to the person you want. Let’s say there is a company you really want to represent, but you are having a hard time getting in contact with the right person. Start to figure out what the “social net” is around that company. Who would be the person that is influential in the company? Who would they be hanging out with? Where could you find their information? Here’s some ideas:
- Are they on social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook?
- What network events might they attend? Who else attends those events? Can I get in touch with them?
- Are they known locally in the community? Who in the community might know them? Chamber of Commerce? Local Government?
I’m not saying to stalk people of course. The key thing is to be strategic about how you get your “way in”. Cold calling a company is much different than being specifically introduced to that company because you are excellent at what you do. Sometimes all it takes is a 2nd or 3rd degree connection to be able to land an account.
This section of the course is extremely small, but I can’t stress enough how important this method of gaining leads is. It is more powerful than any other method of gaining leads, and it’s the method that will land you the very best accounts.
Once you’ve found a lead using this method, as you’ve done with every other type of lead in this module, log it in your CRM!
This concludes Module 4! I hope you’ve gained some golden nuggets of knowledge from this module. Now, it’s time for Module 5 – Wholesale Relationship Building.
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