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Emily Page is the owner and CEO of Pearl Resourcing, an international packaging and product development company

Sales meeting jitters can happen anytime with anyone. You want to be a hit! Take a deep breath and remember that your CRUCIAL key for retail buyer sales meeting success is building rapport (trust and likability). Below are some essential ways to build rapport in your next retail sales buyer meeting.

1. Body Language

You can begin to establish rapport without even uttering a single word – magic trick!? Just kidding, it starts subliminally with your body. The following practices will ensure you positively slide into their subconscious:

  • Strong eye contact

  • Firm handshake

  • Friendly smile

  • Straight posture

No matter your normal demeanor – whether bubbly or subdued – the best version of you is the smiling version. Don’t overdo it with a full face of the “Joker” but do keep it sincere and approachable.

1. Professional Presentation

During this meeting you are a deliverables docent, guiding your buyers to a sales decision. You can most effectively do this with the highest quality sales sheets, physical full color samples and a clear plan for your meeting. Practice your meeting beforehand so you have strategic elements for things as simple as how to place samples on their desk, questions to ask and which topics to start - anything and everything that will lead to a sale as the meeting's outcome.

1. Positive Outlook

Everyone is working hard, and you should be a bright spot in their day no matter what mood they bring to the table. Focus on the positive and turn every possible negative or no into an opportunity to pivot towards a different direction. If they already have a similar product like your best seller try and use that no to ask about what flavors they feel are missing so you can show them a different flavor. Also ask them how the competing product is performing to see if you can come back with proof of how your product would be an even better fit.

Even if, worst case scenario, they say no to everything, you have left a great impression consisting of gratitude for their time, a positive attitude and a plan to keep in touch. You never know what could happen in the future the next time they see you –they could be ready for your other flavors! A “NO” response with one buyer is data that can boost your future sales meetings. For example, “Wow Raspberry Herbal is selling so well, did you know our green tea sells as well as our Raspberry? Maybe you should carry our Green Tea!”

1. Mirror Communication Styles

Identifying the preferred communication style of a person you are speaking to and being able to pivot your style to match will optimize your face time rapport!

There are four main personality types:

  1. Driver

  2. Analytical

  3. Social

  4. Creative

The driver sits behind a clean, uncluttered desk demanding to-the-point deliverables. The social is surrounded by framed photos of their Frenchie and family vacations to Nicaragua while inquiring about your new favorite restaurant.

Our analytical acquaintance yearns for data as they are book-ended by stacks of charts and graphs. The creative wants to dream with you about concepts and possibilities with doodles and notes scratched on various Post-Its.

Regardless if you find yourself in a room full of decisive drivers or a creative crowd be sure to stay focused on matching their preferred communication style by replying with similar words, speed of reply and properly addressing their questions.

Your primary goal for success in a retail buyer sales meeting is to build rapport with them which will maximize your future relationship and chance of closing a sale. To create rapport, maintain confident body language and come prepared with a comprehensive and stunning presentation. Stay focused on the opportunities in the conversation with positivity, and communicate in a way that mirrors your buyer. When you create a memorable experience you create dynamic relationships that will bolster your reputation and business.


About the author: Emily Page is passionate about the fundamentals of successful retail sales. Through her interactive and question-based talks, she teaches buyers and business owners how to find the next steps of growth relevant to their unique businesses. With over twelve years of experience in launching retail products, Emily has created and sold merchandise to Costco, BJ’s, Trader Joe’s, Williams-Sonoma, Dean & Deluca, Kroger, and Amazon, among many entities. Currently Emily is the owner and CEO of international packaging company Pearl Resourcing. She also consults on retail sales and how to successfully grow businesses.

Pearl Resourcing, An International Packaging and Product Development Company

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