Why Do You Need a Regional Broker? And other FAQ’s
Why Brokers at all?
In the natural product industry brokers are specialists that focus on retailers big and small to be sure new products are in front of the buyers. Even the largest brands hire brokers because the expense of one employed sales person can cost more than having a complete broker network nationwide. Yes the employee represents your line only, but can only cover so much ground.
A good broker has representatives in every contracted region. This person may have many products to present when they see a buyer, but buyers often prefer to see brokers with many brands then one rep with only one brand for time optimization, if nothing else.
Why not a National Broker?
Some national brokers are very good. They mostly have good connections with the larger retailers. I cannot take anything away from them. However, they can be very expensive and few focus on independent natural product retailers. Plus, many do not have systems in place to get a brand off the ground. Unless you are extremely well funded and want to be in all regions all at once, you are better off with a regional (region of your choice) broker.
Why a Regional Broker?
Most regional brokers have been around for a long time and know their customers intimately well. Their focus is to present to every retailer that buys from a natural product distributor. The reps they have working for them are usually seasoned professionals that know their stores well and know how to sell. National brokers often hire representatives that are used more for reporting then selling because a large network like a national broker pays their key account managers and other management too much to hire qualified salespeople, reporting reps are much cheaper.
Why a retainer?
Large retailer (Food Drug & Mass) specific brokers often do not charge retainers because they can take on hundreds of brands. So, when a category review period for your range comes around, they have dozens of brands to present and what sells makes them money enough to make it worth the time.
However, to get your brand into distributors that retailers will buy from takes a few months of sales reps going to stores to get the commitments the distributors require. Then the discounts and even free fills mean no commissions for many months after doing all that work. Retainers pay to have the team present to the stores; without them a broker has little incentive to present your brand. Like any company, brokers in our industry cannot work for free.