Getting retailers to open a shop in your city is a trying task and involves a lot of preparation—you need to be a retail recruitment specialist. That said, there are key things to remember when you present yourself to those retail companies. Here are five ways to be successful in your retail recruitment pitch.
Be a People Person
You have to be able to relate to the people you’re trying to win over. Remember, they have to take into account the expenses of opening a store location and ROI. They have just as many concerns about expanding and being successful as you do, so try to view the process from their perspective. More importantly, be sure to connect with them on a personal level. If they like you, they’ll listen to you. This can range from talking about something that they’re into like sports, cars, movies or jokes. Think of the process of getting to know the person you are speaking with as an ice breaker. Be professional, but be human, too. Personality has its merits and can lead to them remembering you as you and not just another city government official. Also, remember it’s those first fifteen minutes that will decide what they think of you and your presentation. Make it count.
Research Your Audience and Show Them the Data
It’s not hard to understand that you really have to work your way into the minds of the people you’re selling your city to. You’ll need to bring several reasons for why they should open a store in your city.
It’s critical to note that you should have concrete data to back up your argument on why the retailer should open a store in your city. Compare your proposed site to the retailer’s existing sites, use metrics such as population within a standard drive-time radius, and provide information on competition and cannibalization. When you have data, the numbers speak for themselves and you stand out from the competition.
That said, you shouldn’t just provide reasons why they should open a store in your location, you need to research the company itself. Read up on the company’s history. How are they doing? Are they looking to open new stores? Have they been closing several stores recently? What articles about them can you find that will give you an idea about where they currently stand financially and strategically?
Be a Quick Thinker
Figure out what they’re going to ask or say before they do. Predict what questions they’ll ask or what excuses they’ll give you for why they don’t want to open in your city. Be able to deliver a decisive answer or counterargument. If you can quickly provide them the answers they’re seeking or are able to deliver a sound counterargument, they’ll run out of thigs to throw at you. Think of it as a war of attrition where you need to survive their arsenal of questions or reasons and be the one that offers more pros than their cons.
Have the Ability to Adapt Your Retail Recruitment Process
There are going to be times where retailers are going to throw a monkey wrench into your plans or try to throw off your momentum and make it difficult to continue your presentation. Your ability to handle those situations will determine your level of success. For as much that can go right in your retail recruitment presentation, just as much can go wrong. If you cannot adapt to those situations you won’t last long. Always be flexible. Don’t let one or two things throw you off or let them take your presentation apart. The quicker you can get back on track or bounce off their comment that was made to tear your presentation apart will reduce the damage that has been done.
Be Persistent, but be Professional About it
Sometimes you’re not going to be able to get your foot in the door or despite your best attempts they turn you down. Don’t see that as the end of it all. If they don’t want to meet with you, give them reasons to. Keep knocking until they answer, but don’t be a pest. Be tactful. Choose your words wisely and know how to pace yourself.
Failed your first attempt after meeting with them? Learn from it. What was it that turned them off? What questions did they ask? Who in the room was won over and who wasn’t? Read their body language in the meeting. Who really got the most out of the presentation and who showed little interest or kept trying to shoot you down?
Also, always send a follow up email saying how much you appreciated them taking the time to meet with you. Don’t sound like a robot; remember to be human. Don’t let your email look like something you just copied and pasted.
There will be times where you won’t get any traction with the retailer you’re trying to recruit. Sometimes it’s wiser to let go and move on, but only after giving it your best. Even then, don’t lose contact or burn that bridge you tried to build with them. Keep in touch. However, if you follow these five ways to be successful in your retail recruitment pitch, your chances for success will always be good.
Buxton can give you the data-backed materials you’ll need to convince retailers that placing a store in your city is a gain instead of a loss. Don’t wait, contact us to learn more.