One of our central focuses in my course LBU Live: Secrets to Wholesale Success class is the art of the pitch: knowing which shops to approach, understanding what they expect from you, and learning strategies for making your pitches more effective. There’s a distinct art to pitching and my curriculum teaches makers how to woo shopkeepers via email, phone and in-person. If you’re new to the wholesale game, then I recommend getting your feet wet with email pitches as they’ve proven to be the least intimating, lowest-cost entry point. What follows is my guide to getting started…
Pros & Cons of Pitching via Email:
• The most comfortable approach for beginners
• Takes the least amount of time and can easily be replicated
• Buyers are never put on the spot and can review the information at their convenience
• Costs nothing but your time
• This pitch method is the easiest for buyers to ignore
• Buyers are initially limited to seeing the product, rather than experiencing it
Click here to download my sample pitch email script!
Exercising good etiquette when pitching will demonstrate to wholesale buyers that you’re prepared and professional. Here are my best practices for email pitches:
This is not the time to overwhelm with information. Two to three short paragraphs will suffice.
Personalize whenever possible.
Make a concerted effort to discover the buyer’s name and use it in your pitch. Be absolutely certain to include the store name.
Proofreading is essential.
Carefully proofread your email and scan for disjointed texts and typos before hitting that magical “send” button. Employ the spell check feature and be absolutely certain to remove any traces or references to previous pitches if you’re using an informal template.
Show them that you’ve done your homework.
Succinctly demonstrate that you’ve researched this store and aren’t blindly e-blasting the internet for sales. Try referencing complimentary product lines that they carry, recent press they’ve had, store expansions or events, etc.
Include product images.
• Small image sizes (250 KB or less)
• 2-3 images maximum
• Embedded in your email, not attached
Attach line sheets, order forms, press clippings, etc.
We talk extensively about how to develop these sorts of things in the LBU curriculum, but it’s important to note that these marketing materials should always be included as PDF’s because they’re almost universally viewable across all platforms. Limit attachments to a maximum of 3. The total size of all combined attachments should be under 2 MB so as not to choke inboxes.
Explain why you believe their customers will connect with your products.
Remember all that work we did to identify ideal customers? Here’s where it comes into play. Demonstrate that you’re familiar with their customer base and explain why your products are a great fit. Helping the buyer connect the dots increases the chances of landing an order.
Request an appointment.
This is your call to action! Ask about a convenient time for an in-person or phone appointment so that you can answer their questions and chat about samples.
Pitching doesn’t have to be smarmy or awkward if it’s done well. The key is to know your product line: understand your ideal customer and your unique selling position. Then identify where those people hang out. Where do they shop online and in-person? Once you know your product line and know the shops you need to target, then pitching is simply a matchmaking affair.
Remember your first date: he rolls up in an especially clean car, smelling nice, with firm plans in place and a few good conversation starters at the ready? Selling to shops is much the same. Know what the buyer wants to see from you. Understand what they need to hear from you. And the process is really quite simple and pain-free. Perhaps a bit intimidating at first, but pretty soon you’ll find that you’re getting the hang of it and landing second and third dates, too! Bom chicka wow wow…
What other questions do you have about pitching via email? Leave a comment to start the conversation…
I love this, thank you so much! My question would be…How long do you wait before following up?
Hi Julie! Great question. 🙂 I recommend following up about 2 weeks after the initial contact via the same method. Make it short + sweet. Reference that initial contact and add something along these lines:
“Hi there- just checking in to see if you had any questions about my collection or would like to see sample. How can I help?”
Thank you Lela! I love your site and I can’t wait to book a session with you!!
I’ve been using this method for a few months now but I’m having a hard time finding stores to pitch to. What’s the best way to find stores?
Lela, you are so amazing and generous! Thank you for this and all the other information that you freely share with us!!
I’m also in the process of looking for stores to pitch our products (children’s clothes). One strategy I thought of (not sure if it will work) it to use Yelp as a starting point. For our company, we are looking at high-end children’s clothes boutique. So I would search for example in Yelp San Francisco, and filter using their $$ to get stores that sell in the price range I am looking for. Then read the comments. Then go to their website to look at their products, their about us. Finally, google their store names to get if they’ve gotten any press. An interview of the owner is gold and is something you can use to personalize your pitch email.
This is brilliant Lela but do you have any tips/suggestions on what to put in the ‘subject line’ field? Is using something like ‘business or retail enquiry’ enough to get the person to open the email?
Would love to hear yours (or anyone else’s thoughts). Thanks!
Your article is very informative. I have a question about emailing to shops that already have a product similar to the one I would like to pitch to them. What should I say to them in the email. My product is candles. How do I get them to try mine?
Great template. We are just in the process of creating a email like this and this article really helped.
Thank you Lela, your information on pitch emails is so resourceful I now have a clue where to start thank you so much!! I would love to know more and to learn more from you!