If you don’t have 4 questions for your customer in a 30 minute meeting, you are talking too much - SKUFood
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If you don’t have 4 questions for your customer in a 30 minute meeting, you are talking too much

Face to face meetings with your customers are some of the most valuable time you get with them. Our experience is when people do get these opportunities they talk too much and do not engage the person on the other side of the desk.

I have been in many of these meetings and the best ones are more of a conversation. A conversation happens when the presenter engages the other people and questions are the best way to do this.

Put yourself in their position. If an equipment supplier comes in to try to sell you a piece of equipment and they never ask anything about your business what will you be thinking?

When you ask questions it indicates you are interested in their business and there are also methods of asking questions that help improve their perception of your capabilities. We will share some below.

Plan for the questions

A 30 minute meeting goes fast. Questions take time and you need to give people the minutes they need to answer your questions. Although you might think it is taking precious time away, it is really building the relationship. If you are going to include questions you need to plan for the time it will take.

You should also think of your meetings as a step in a journey. Ask questions that might be valuable to you in the upcoming meetings. An example of this would be:

What are your sell through targets for the holiday seasonal items?

If they answer 90% and when you have your next meeting you can report your results. You would say something like, “in our last meeting you indicated seasonal sell through targets are 90%, we were pleased to come in at 93%”. You have set up part of the conversation for the next meeting.

Ask questions you know the answer to

It helps to get the people in the room to agree with the direction you want to go as opposed to telling them where it is going. Asking questions where you know they will agree is one way to do this. If you have a product that appeals to people from certain ethnic backgrounds or who have experienced this in travels you need to get your customer thinking the right way. An example would be:

“We know there are many new Canadians in your market from southeast Asia, are these consumers you are trying to attract to your stores?” One would expect, if you have done your homework that the answer is “yes”. Once they say yes then you can share how your product appeals to these shoppers and will be a draw to their stores.

Include an answer in your question

We constantly remind people retailers are not your sales and marketing department. You have to bring plans to get your products into the shopping cart and you should be knowledgeable about this. We also talk a lot about sales estimates. You need to know what your customer expects your product to sell.

You could ask what their sales estimate would be. It is a fair question to ask.

If you want to come across more knowledgeable and engaged in sales you could throw out a number in your question. An example would be:

“Based on our experience we believe we will sell 8 units per store per week. Is this a fair number, given your experience and expectations?”

When you do this you show them you have thought about it.

Refer to their stores or their business

When you ask questions you can also let them know you were in their stores or learning about their business. Retailers want to know you are interested in what they are doing. Spending time in their stores is one way to do this.

When you ask questions you should refer to their business. An example of this would be:

“When we were in your store ABC, we noticed a new merchandising model in our department. Is this something you will be rolling out across the entire chain? If it is we might consider some modifications to our packaging”

This tells them you are in the stores. You can also refer to their website on topics such as sustainability or local products.

All of these tactics will help you engage your customers and build your relationships. Did you notice we gave you 4 different ideas. You don’t even have to come up with new ideas, you can use these in your next meeting. Let us know how it works for you!

Peter

SKUFood Recipes for Success Podcast

We are super excited to announce we have launched our SKUFood Recipes for Success podcast. We have been working on this project for a while and it is finally ready to share with all of you. Our intention is to share the stories of food businesses and others in the value chain while also providing insights that are interesting and helpful to people in the food and beverage industry.

In this episode, we have the Kilted Chef, Alain Bosse grace our virtual kitchen. With his signature attire and boundless culinary creativity, the Kilted Chef has become a beloved figure in the culinary world. He has charmed audiences far and wide as an Ambassador of Atlantic Canadian Food and his unique culinary flair.

Get ready for a delightful conversation filled with anecdotes, insights, and perhaps a dash of tartan charm as the Kilted Chef shares his passion for food, culture, and the joy of bringing people together through the universal language of cooking. Whether you're a seasoned chef or an enthusiastic home cook, this episode promises to leave you hungry for more.

Listen and subscribe where ever you get your podcasts.

Where is Peter Speaking?

Canadians blame grocery stores for high prices

It is no surprise consumers blame stores for the high prices they experience. This is where they see the prices and pay at the cash. I do find it interesting retailers get blamed for high prices and they are also labelled as difficult in the value chain when it comes to price increases. It is not all glory!

Interesting to see fuel prices as the second highest reason for increased food prices. As the carbon tax continues to impact the cost of fuel this will become more apparent in food prices. It will take time for these increases to get to the shelf.

FCC Food and beverage report

This week FCC released the food and beverage report. This information is valuable because it is Canadian data and allows you to compare to the broader category and the industry. We would encourage you to look at your results and determine if you are out performing the segment of the market where you compete.

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