The Don’ts of Food Sales Presentations

Here’s the Hard Truth Regarding Food Sales Presentations

Want to get into the retail chains? Do you have a compelling food sales presentation? Do you assume so, but you’re not getting contracts? You might be doing these 4 common pitfalls in your food sales presentation. They may seem shockingly obvious, but nonetheless, they happen too frequently among the worst food sales presentations.

1. Failing to Sample Your Own Product

No, we’re serious.

Nearly every retail buyer has a story about taking a meeting with a food sales rep, only to have the salesperson demonstrate a lack of category knowledge so humiliating that they can’t speak to the uniqueness of their own product. Not to mention that food sales presentations are with the category buyer!

Sometimes, the buyer will ask the rep outright, “This product you’re trying to sell me, have you ever tasted it yourself?” and far too often, the answer is, “No.” This is the same situation at a restaurant, right? If you don’t know what you want to order, you may ask your server what their favorite dish is. If they can’t give you an answer or say they haven’t tried the food, that doesn’t instill much trust in the restaurant’s quality, right? Don’t give your category buyer a chance to mistrust your product this way during your food sales presentation!

2. Failing to Know the Retailer as a Consumer

Do. Your. Research.

Cater your food sales presentation to the buyer you’re pitching to today. Every store is different. If you make the same presentation you made to another buyer yesterday, it’s a fail.

However, the key is to pitch to your target retailers as a shopper, outside your own sales view. Do your research to learn the angles your target is taking to engage the customer.

How are they cross-selling? Are they offering meal solutions? Expanded fresh? What kind of campaign themes are they promoting? Are they big into supporting the community and local public relations?

Do your research about how your food brand can fit into these existing efforts and how your brand can bring new ideas that can add value. Your food presentation should be align as a win-win partnership.

3. Failing to Lead with Your Strengths

You don’t want to waste buyers’ time. They have very limited time and very limited real estate, and your goal is to get on the shelf.

So what products are your bestsellers? If you have an item that’s already moving 200+ cases a week, lead with that! Buyers want to know that their investment in your food brand will be worthwhile and that you already see a profit.

As a secondary “oh, by the way” point, you can pitch a shot-in-the-dark idea or one of your mid-range sellers.

4. Not Asking “How Can I Help You”

Again, you’re pitching a win-win partnership. This is Sales 101. Buyers have sales goals, too, according to their situations and make purchasing and inventory decisions accordingly. Your food sales presentations need to align with what the buyers need. And you both want to grow your business mutually. This needs to be the relationship that is the foundation of your food sales presentation.

If you didn’t find out what they need in your research, then at some point during the meeting, you need to close your laptop and listen.

At the end of the day…

Buyers have observed an industry trend that suppliers are getting worse, not better, at doing the necessary research before arriving at a meeting to make a compelling food sales presentation. Too often, sales representatives are short on experience and heavy on assumptions.

If you get a meeting, go in prepared to answer all the inevitable questions about your category, how your brand fits in it, and how you can adapt to the retailer’s needs.

Otherwise, not only do you risk killing the sale on the spot. Worse, you leave an impression that weakens your potential for other opportunities down the road.

If you have any questions about how to create compelling food sales presentations, please reach out to the NewPoint team. If you are interested in more food brand marketing topics, please visit our Food for Thought page or check out NewPoint’s Patrick Nycz’s book: Moving Your Brand Up the Food Chain.