Product Integration Into Large Retail Chains

Tips on integrating your product into large retail chains

1-be prepared

This one should be obvious, but you would be surprised how many sales managers and VPs go to large retail chains without all their product, sales or marketing info. You don’t get two first impressions and with a lot of these large retail chains, the first impression is key, mainly if you are dealing with an upper level territorial manager or upper level executive. Have all the data you need at your fingertips. Use a tablet like an iPad for quick data lookup and make sure to have some type of a written bound report that will highlight the important facts and graphs that will use or mention in your sales presentation or meeting.

2-know the store policies and rules on integration before hand, especially if you are trying to get around them.

This is very important, every retail chain has its own rules when it comes to full product integration and if you go into a meeting formal or informal without full knowledge of these rules and regulations, you will be putting yourself one step out of the door. This is especially important if you are trying to circumvent a rule that they have regarding outside product integration. When you are trying to circumvent one of their rules, you must not only know that rule inside out, but know all supporting rules and any rules that are in the same realm as the one that you are trying to go around. You must also be prepared to sell your point for going around a company policy and why it is a good idea. and trust me, you will not be the first one to try this, but you better be the most prepared and polished in order to be successful.

3-Be a salesman.

I tell people this all the time, you are a sales executive, so be a salesman. So many of us get into management roles and we become only businessmen, but we must be both and remember what made us a good VP of sales or Regional manager of sales and marketing and that was our ability to be a superstar salesman. Don’t lose this, it is especially important when trying to integrate your product line I to major retail chains. These chains get business,en pitching their products all the time, but how often do they get a true superstar salesman, not often. Prove to them why you are a VP and make it happen. There are only two outcomes in sales and they are both the same, success, failure is never an option.

4-try to get your products integrated locally, then move from there.

This is for when you have a very new product with no sales history and limited supply and manufacturing resources. It can be very easy to get your product into local stores of a top retail chain. This is relationship, relationship, relationship. Get to know the zone managers and the store managers, let them try out the product. Do some local surveys. Prove to the, that it will sell and that it is a good idea to try out an end-cap or other promotional display and be relentless. If you devote the time and effort, you will get your product in,locally. You may have to stock and restock yourself, but it will be worth. Once your product starts selling out, have the manager get you a meeting with the regional or district manager and move on from there. It will take some time, but this approach has a high rate of success and can end up in full product integration, the only thing that can stand in your way is your own ability to fill POs (purchase orders).

5-know your competition and their stats.

This one is highly important. Know your competing products that the retail chain currently stocks. Find out their weaknesses and any aspect of that product that may make them unattractive to a retail chain. For example, if you are trying to get your wood dowels into Home Depot, research the competition and dig into where they get their wood and if there are any illegal or immoral environmental aspects of the logging operation. Start a small social media campaign introducing the consumer to this and where these products are ticked. Try to get some environmental groups on your side and then pitch you environmentally friendly wood dowel with an environmental group endorsement to the retail chain. Odds are that they are going to want to showcase your product and make a big deal out of the green friendly alternative. You may not take a large market share out of our competitor, but it will,get you in the door. They say that knowledge is power, in the sales and marketing game, it is everything.

7-try to make friends.

This is obvious, don’t be a jerk. No one wants to help out or work with someone they don’t like unless they have to. Put the attitude on the back-burner and focus on the job at hand. This is more for the hiring department or for small startups and businesses on the VP,or President himself. Sales is all about the relationship and no one wants to be friends with a jerk.

To sum it up, take all of the skills that made you the VP or Manager and use those to get full product integration, you rose to the top for a reason and you should only be limited by your production ability when it comes to product integration into large retail chains.

    The key is not to “call the decision make.” The key is to “have the decision maker call you.”

–Jeffrey Gitomer

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Rough Diamond Suppliers via TradeKey, Alibaba and like sites

Online sellers via trade key and alibaba, the PROS and CONS and the way to make these websites work for you.

1-scammers,some ways to identify

a-ip address originating country does not match the country that the person says that they are in. You will never find a real supplier or broker of rough diamonds with an ip address that doesn’t match their stated country of origin.

b-they will sign contracts and ship the rough to you for a price, sounds great, no travel costs, all the work is done, they will show you a great manifest…..THIS IS ALL FALSE, no supplier will ever ship you goods without prior inspection and or travel to said country.

c-They are on a trade website. 99.9 % of these guys are scammers, the key is how to make the scammer work for you..

d-Rough diamonds are always (almost always at least, if you are going through a legitimate large company such as DGI or DeBeers then you can trust their manifests, if they give you one, with no worries) sold in mixed parcels. Meaning that you will get the good with the bad. Almost all of these “suppliers” on these trade sites will promise you rough diamond parcels with the highest quality and the largest stones only. If a seller actually did this, he would sell off his best quality stuff and be stuck with the garbage stones, they don’t normally like to do that. Every parcel that I have ever purchased has had good and bad stones and this is where an expert comes in. If you have an expert in rough ID with cutting experience, he can give an approximation of the value of the parcel, with that you can calculate your profit margin and negotiate from there. With my buyers, I have always used the Adtec price list as my baseline for rough prices, some buyers like this and some do not, it depends on the buyer. The seller will almost always tell you that this is not a reliable price list and that they are too low, but remember they are there to maximize their profits, not yours. In short, only scammers offer the best of the best unless they are representing a large and well known diamond company.

2-If 99.99% of these sellers on these trade websites are scammers, then why go on these sites.

a-there are always those .01% that are out there, and surfing these trade sites is free, there is no travel cost per day and no risk of getting sick, kidnapped or whatever else can happen out in the bush in Africa.

b-While most of these supposed sellers are scammers, there are a percentage of them (probably 10%) that work as brokers for actual rough suppliers or for another direct broker to an actual rough supplier. This means that they can make a rough purchase happen for, usually, a commission between 1-2% of the sale price. I have done this with these trade sites and it worked well. To find out if they can set this type of a meeting up, just ask them. If they get offended and call you a liar etc, they probably can’t help, but if they agree and give you some contact info in the country you are traveling, it is worth checking into. On a sub-note, never let these guys know the exact month, day or week that you are arriving, they will track the airports and try to find out where you are staying etc. They may try to tell you that you must have a referral for a visa into their country, this is usually not true. I have been to many of the African nations and have been told this many times by brokers or rough suppliers on the ground but have never needed a referral for a visa. Most African nations let you get a visa at their own airport while for some you must apply at your nearest consulate and wait. There are also websites that can handle all your visa needs for a price. The easiest thing to do is to just check into the countries visa process through their local or closest consulate and go from there.

To sum this article up, while the supposed sellers on these trade sites are usually trying to run a scam on you, if you are a savvy buyer and can understand how they work, you can use a few of them to your advantage. Most of these guys are trying to scrape together a living without much opportunity and they will scam you if you let them, when confronted with the opportunity to make money the legit way, they will take it if they can.

Determining the Value of Your Rough

Determining the value of your rough.

As I have said in a prior article, I use the Adtec price guide for my basic valuation of price for rough diamond purchasing, but this is not an absolute way to value as there are other ways to value rough depending on many factors. In this article, I will discuss one such factor,final cut valuation and how it was represented in a recent article on a popular diamond website.

I just read an article from a website that I will name that uses the final cutting price to determine value, this is a fine way of determining value, especially if you are selling directly to a cutter (you need to realize that there are expenses in the cutting process so he will have to margin those into the final price.) or cutting yourself. This method takes the final price per carat of the cut diamond, for example 1,300, multiplied by the total carat weight of the rough, for example 8 carats, finally multiplied by the cut yield of the rough diamond, for example 35%. Using this method and the examples, we would take 1,300 * 8 * .35 for 3,640 total value. The problem with this is determining the cut yield. The website made the the assumption that a 5 carat rough VS1 D color, for example, will provide 50 percent yield on average. This assumption could not be further from the truth. There are many outside factors that go into determining final yield that make this method complicated.

First off, only a perfect octahedron shaped (there are always exceptions but this is a general rule of thumb that can be used) rough diamond will yield a 50% cut, rough diamonds come in many other shapes normally called flats and macles that are worth less than the octahedron shaped rough. This is because these other shapes do not yield as high a percentage for the final cut and sometimes, they can not be cut into the most popular cuts like round brilliant, princess or cushion. Some of these flats and macle are only good for the more fancy cuts or even figurine type cuts such as a heart or other special cut. The second thing to understand is that the larger a rough diamond gets, the higher your chance that it will have cracks or imperfections that will have to be avoided by the cutter thus making it impossible to cut it into one diamond. Meaning that if you buy a 25 carat perfect octahedron rough diamond, there is still a good chance that this stone will be cut into one 6 carat, and 3 two carat diamonds. Only an experienced cutter will be able to ascertain how the diamond will be cut. This is why I encourage all rough buyers or prospected rough buyers to higher a gemologist that has a cutting background over one that does not. When you take into account all of these variations, using the basic 50% cut value method without an experienced cutter on your team is business suicide and will only end up in blown margins, lost money and another buyer out of the business.

thank you