Increasing profits, field team management and company-centered motives often take precedence...

...when it comes to building relationships with retailers. However, if you really want to improve sales, pay close attention to your rapport with retail buyers. Of course, you rely on them for sales channels, but in practice you rely on them for much more—product placement, proper price tagging, planogram compliance, and inventory management, to name a few. Make sure your buyers think of you as more than just a seller. A partnership founded on trust increases the opportunities to improve retail sales and grow your business.

If buyers do not have direct control over in-store execution, they probably work directly with—and in some cases for—those who do. Building a good relationship with your buyers is necessary to put your products in a favorable light. Buyers who view your products positively will work harder to meet your retail execution requests and expectations.

It goes without saying that the rules about etiquette and business relations matter when you’re working with buyers. Be sincere and articulate your desires clearly and respectfully; be transparent when you can be, and provide reasonable timeframes for your needs and demands. Always consider your partner’s needs; ask when you can’t anticipate them.

While pleasantries, smiles, and the guidelines above are important, minding your manners will only get you so far. Personalize relationships to maximize benefits for both parties involved. Buyers will not go the extra step for sellers who are only interested in margin and revenue. Bring value to your relationships that go beyond monetary necessity. Provide training opportunities, share helpful product information and offer data insights via a mobile data collection application. Using software that can distribute information company-wide, and between buyers and sellers, is a great way to establish trust and build loyalty. Passing along insights demonstrates that you see your buyers as people with whom you have a vested interest, because you view them as true business partners. You don’t have to look very hard to find common goals and shared interests; ensuring the product sells effectively is important to everyone.

The bottom line is that brands and buyers need to work together and be partners in order to improve retail sales. There’s always an opportunity to strengthen a relationship. Consider how you can strengthen your relationships with retail buyers today.

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