As a supplier, you know that sending product samples to qualified buyers is an important step towards getting your product in stores. But before you can meet with a retailer to pitch your offering, you first need to know whether they want to move forward with your product — and this is an update you need to receive from the buyer. Taking into consideration the volumes of samples buyers sort through every day (one of those samples being your product!), what’s the best way follow up with a buyer?
To help you better understand how buyers work, RangeMe surveyed buyers across the platform to learn about their preferences when it comes to product samples. We specifically dug into the topic of follow-ups because we know many of you question how diligent you need to be without being bothersome. To incorporate RangeMe’s best practices along with the feedback from buyers, continue reading to learn the three things you need to keep in mind before following up on your product sample.
#1 When to Follow Up
You’ve probably asked yourself questions like, “Should I follow up?”, “When should I follow up?” or “How often should I follow up?” after sending samples to a buyer. These are all good questions to think through because most buyers have a preferred way of working when it comes to samples.
When we asked buyers about whether suppliers should follow up on a sample, 45% prefer that the supplier does not follow up with them, and instead, the buyer will follow up if they are interested in moving forward.
Of the buyers who are open to suppliers following up on their samples, the majority of buyers said two weeks is the appropriate amount of time to wait before checking in on the sample. Many of the buyers emphasized that suppliers should allow enough time for the sample to be delivered, sampled, and reviewed before they follow up.
#2 Where to Follow Up
So you’ve decided to follow up on your sample. To ensure the best connect rates with the buyer, know what their preferred communication channel is for you to follow up with them and what their preferred communication channel is for them to follow up with you.
When surveyed, there is a noticeable difference between buyers from big-box retailers and buyers from small retailers. For big-box retailers, 53% of their buyers say suppliers should follow up with them in RangeMe, while 38% of them said email was the best way to follow up. In contrast, 29% of buyers from small retailers say suppliers should follow up with them in RangeMe, while 71% of small business buyers prefer email.
When a buyer is a ready to follow up on your sample, the majority of those surveyed prefer to follow up with suppliers over email.
#3 How to Craft Your Follow Up
Now that you have a better idea of when and where to send your sample follow-up, it’s time to dig into crafting your message.
First things first, your message should be brief and to the point. The purpose of your follow-up is to spark a reminder because buyers often have a million and one things going on and sometimes they just need a light nudge. Your message should be no longer than 3 to 5 sentences and should be written in an easy-to-read format.
When crafting your message, keep the tone friendly, professional, and succinct. The message should focus on what you’re after: an update on your sample.
If you previously sent the buyer your tracking number, your first follow-up should reference the package’s delivery date, if the buyer has had time to review your sample and if so, what their thoughts are on moving forward. See below for an example follow-up message to a buyer.
“Hi Winnie -
I wanted to check in to see if you’ve had time to sample (Brand and Product Name). According to the tracking number (Link), the sample was delivered on (Date) and signed by (Colleague’s name if applicable).
Can I answer any questions for you? If you need anything my email is (add email), and you can reach me at (phone number).
Looking forward to hearing your feedback.”
Perhaps you’ve already sent a follow up message, you haven’t heard back yet, and you’re considering sending another message. We recommend first checking out the “read” status in RangeMe Messages. This feature will help you know whether your first message reached the buyer or not.
If you choose to send another follow-up message, your message should not be a repeat of your previous message but instead, something new. One way to do this is by leveraging Message Attachments to share documents like your sales sheet, distribution information or a photo of your product in action.
So with all that’s been shared in the Product Samples Guide, what’s the best approach to follow up with a buyer?
With the information you collected before sending off the samples, you hopefully have a good sense of the buyer’s preferred communication channel and their contact information. If you choose to follow up on your sample instead of waiting for the buyer to follow up, wait two weeks from the delivery date of the sample to allow time for review.
Buyers will be encouraged to use RangeMe messages to send you feedback, so it’s best to send a message there first. And when you do send a follow-up, keep it friendly and brief, so buyers are more likely to reply.
Overall, we recommend trying out a few different styles to see which follow-up approach elicits a response. As you get the hang of communicating with buyers, refine your follow-up strategy to move your samples (and business) forward.
This article is part of the Product Samples Guide.