I recently attended the Hong Kong Electronics Sourcing Shows. The thought that always strikes me at these fairs is: ‘how do you stand out when all the products look the same?’ Which in turn got me thinking: Just how do you stand out in the flooded CE Accessories market?
For anyone who hasn’t visited the shows picture this… Hall after hall with 3m2 booth after 3m2 booth each presenting near identical products. There are literally thousands of stands and the vast majority display the same mobile, audio and power accessories. So how do you know which stand to stop and spend some time at? How do you find that winning product? Asking questions of the people on the stand unfortunately doesn’t always help. A typical conversation goes like this:
“What makes you different?”
“Ok, but we’ve seen these before. What’s different about YOU?”
“Well, we are cheap.”
“Ok, but what if I don’t want cheap?”
“We can be expensive!”
“Err, yeah, thanks – sorry I’ve just remembered I’ve got a meeting somewhere…”
So I started to think how do we, as suppliers/distributors, stand out from the competition when speaking with retailers if we are offering the same or similar product?
Yes we are talking the window dressing, the pretty wrapping, the fluff! Let’s be honest, we are all magpies who are drawn to things that look good. If you don’t stand out in this area, people are literally going to walk on by. Having something that looks good or interesting gets you past the first hurdle – it draws people in or makes them stop for that extra second. Although make sure you are noticed for a positive reason and not for something like the picture that heads up this article! Once someone has stopped and is looking at your products, your opportunity for a sale has increased exponentially.
Once you have them ‘through the door’, understanding their requirements is key. You may be asked questions on price or spec, but until you know what they are looking for, how can you answer effectively? Let’s take powerbanks for example. There are all manner of specifications and options that can make the price vary significantly – so when you have 30 different models, which should you present without knowing their criteria? Without knowing more about them the short answer is, you can’t. So ask questions back, understand their business, goals, priorities etc. and then give them targeted, relevant answers making the best use of their time and yours. Do not underestimate how important this is.
If someone wants to buy something from you, they expect YOU to be the expert, at least on the product! Ensure you know all the details and not just the basic specifications – go a little deeper, a classic SWOT is a good place to start. Then give this information freely. Being able to advise, guide, add insight and be realistic is incredibly powerful. The aim is to become the trusted advisor; the person they turn to when they have questions or concerns. And be sure to continually back this up with references and data. If you know where your product sells well, what sort of sales rates it gets, who uses it, why they buy it, how that compares to other products etc. this builds your credibility thus increases your value in their eyes.
Don’t become just another supplier in a sea of the same, use the above to differentiate yourself from your competition; whether exhibiting at a show, selling in to retailers, or to get buy-in on a new initiative. Conquer the first two points and your chances of a sale increase significantly. Get all three right, and it can be the start of a long and successful relationship.