Part 2: How to Get Invited to Pitch a Product Line Review

Don't even know what a PLR is? Read the first installment of our four-part series, "What's a Product Line Review?"

Getting invited to a PLR is like networking for a job. You can go the cold contact route, mailing out your resume en mass and hoping for a response. If you’ve ever job-searched that way, you know what that gets you. Or you can make personal connections who will escort your precious resume to the desk of the hiring manager and say, “Here. Take a look at this!”

Connections are obviously the way to go. And one of the best places to make those connections is at industry trade shows. Trade shows offer the opportunity to connect to a retail buyer or someone on the buyer’s team. Typically these buyers are walking the show. How do you get their attention?

Gaining a buyer's attention.

Stalking buyers in the aisles is an option but not optimal. Instead, aim to connect with them prior to the event. Send a direct mailer, case study or sample product their way. Most buyers set appointments, so request a time to meet with them during the show. Keep it brief. Ask for 15 minutes of their time and be ready to deliver a knockout sales pitch that will intrigue them to learn more.

Branding working to gain their merchant's attention during a pitch

Initial screening.

Once upon a time, retailers hosted annual line reviews. Now, with a never-ending flow of information pouring in daily on SKUs, sales, promotions, customer satisfaction levels and more, PLRs have become more of an ongoing process for retailers throughout the year.

In response to the crushing number of requests they receive for product line reviews, some retailers have moved to initial online screening processes. Generally, what’s being asked for here is basic pricing and product information, but you may also be asked about marketing support, competitive analysis, sales projections, category growth, forecasting and more.

Looking at reporting and sales numbers in preparation for a line review

While most of the information requested in these pre-screenings is straightforward, DO NOT treat this phase as a throwaway. One way to gain attention in this early phase is to use original research to highlight areas of growth, opportunity or weakness in the category about which the retailer may not be fully aware. A brief description of the research used, paired with compelling insights that show you’re not just trying to sell a product but that you’ve done your homework and understand the needs of the buyer, will almost always lead to an invitation to pitch.

Up next: Part 3: Pick A Mentor Brand.

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