Thursday, 22 September 2016

Five steps to a killer customer pitch

I was at the great Enterprise Nation Food exchange event last Friday and three new companies made their pitch to the Selfridges buyer. And whilst they all did a great job of presenting their new products, I felt all of them could do with a little help so i have devised the three stages of a successful first buyer meeting

1. Gather your knowledge
I was once told “fail to prepare, prepare to fail!” and nothing is more true than in this situation.  Before you start to write your presentation - go and visit the retailers shops - its amazing to me how often people don't do this - not just one shop but several especially if it is a multi format supermarket.  Look at what is on the shelves in your category, talk to the staff about what they think about the current products and take photos of existing category and if you get a chance - with your products in the display as well.  If this is not possible, you may have to photo shop them in afterwards.  

And know your numbers - what is costs to make the product, ship it and how much you hope to sell which will then enable you to know how much you are prepared to invest in promotional support

2. Write an awesome presentation that you never present
I am a great believer in writing a customer presentation that gathers my thoughts, organises my pitch but actually I may never present.  Ideally you just have a conversation to the buyer about your products showing him samples, photos and ideas - by all means have a power point to hand as an aide memoire but better to talk from the heart in an organised way. 

3. Make sure you have a great meeting

What to take with you - product samples, examples of PR coverage, social media support or other props such as shelf ready packaging
Begin presentation as a discussion - ask the buyer questions to check that you are on the right lines - nothing worse than talking for 20 minutes and you lost them at the first bullet point.  And listen to their questions and answer as honestly as you can - you are looking to build a relationship for the future.  Ask for feedback and agree next steps

But don't expect to have it launched and listed in your first meeting - it takes time!

4. Follow up with tenacity but don't be a stalker

Always follow up with a contact report summarising what was discussed in the meeting 
Make sure you do the actions that you have agreed and make sure you call to follow up next steps.  But remember the buyer is very busy and you are probably not top of priority list (harsh I know!) so don't ring him/her every day but be creative - maybe send a new flavour or a great piece of PR coverage - keep selling by letting him know how your tribe want your products to be in his store!

5. Dealing with rejection

Now I want to assume that you get the listing at your first pitch and the sales fly and everything lives happily ever after.  But lets be honest it doesn't always work like that.  Dyson made 5126 prototypes before he had the successful product, JR Rowling was turned down 20 times before being published.  So be prepared for rejection - ask for feedback, don't assume no is forever and ask if you can follow up in 3 months - you already have a connection with the buyer so it could be interesting.  Or a new buyer/policy etc etc may come along. And keep following point 4 - regular contact may well pay off in the long run

I love to help food companies big or small to write that all important presentation so email me for my checklist on key elements of the killer pitch presentation or ring me on 07811942054 if I can help you in anyway.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Day 10 - I made it!!!

Well guys, I made it to day 10 - kept going and really enjoyed it!!  For those who understand Belbin - I am no completer finisher - I love starting shiny new things and don't quite finish them before I get distracted.  So why was this one good for me - well the incentive of the prizes, the intrigue of getting the video every day and then, as I progressed, looking forward to the next challenge.

And then the philosophy above - I do currently do a lot of what I love but the work focus has eclipsed everything else and I want that balance back.

Which day was my favourite - well not day 1 cos it was really really hard for me to get this blogger site set up and to work out how to post photos etc etc.  I think day 2 working out my why is probably the favourite - getting clarity on what value I bring to peoples lives and also an hours self indulgence listening to all my favourite songs with free in the title!!

So what I have achieved in the last 10 days
  • Set up Rivierafoodmentor blog site
  • Set up @rivierafoodmentor facebook page
  • Spoke at Enterprise nation to over 100 food companies
  • Got one new client from this gig
  • Been asked to run a webinar on Enterprise nation site
  • Been asked to join Bread and butter food festival to be one of their advisors in November
  • Been contacted by @Groceryaccelerator to join them to meet some of their clients
  • And hooked up three more clients for food mentoring 

Now is this all from blogging??  No definitely not but what the challenges have enabled me to do is change my mindset.  I have learnt how to hook up with people in business perspective on Facebook, gained confidence to tweet all the way through the Enterprise nation conference which raised my profile and just increase my business focus.

So thank you Natalie so much for inspiring me to get on and do this and I am now ready to plan out my next 6 months - the move to France, growing my business, getting the fun side of my life back and finally getting to Australia after many years of promising to go!

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 10

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Day 8 Having fun!!

One of the biggest motivations for my new lifestyle is to make time for the things I love doing - over and above work.  So great to down tools and keyboards and get out and about.   Told to have fun - thank goodness after one of the longest working weeks of my life - working with my clients, lecturing at university and attending a great food event where met some great new members of my tribe.

Today, Katie, my daughter and I have been out for shopping, lunch and cinema.  Had the most awesome fish pie for lunch in Bills restaurant - lovely well trained staff and great food. And very artfully positioned mirror to allow artistic phot of us both.  

I have been brought me upto date with high waisted trousers and new shoes!  And then to complete the day, we went to see Bridget Jones baby which really was very funny and a definite feel good movie! I love spending time with my kids, eating good food and getting time to watch a film and see the world through different eyes.  It has lifted me up no end.

I plan for the new life to enable me to have more time to do the things I love and spend time travelling and seeing the world.  Tomorrow I am going to plan out my trip to Australia next March (flights are already booked).  Have been promising my aussie mates for about three weeks that I will confirm times when I will be over so they can book holiday time and I have been procrastinating (back to yesterdays post!!).  And maybe if I get a place on Natalie’s mastermind in Bali, then I could make a detour on the way back.

So tired from my busy day but great to remind myself why I am doing all this.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 8

Friday, 16 September 2016

Day 7 Procrastination

What have I been guilty of procrastinating about?  Well I have got down to write my blog everyday, pretty much done all the work needed by my private clients and do my exercise most days although have slipped today  So where am I falling short……..


I have had several flirtations with meditation over the years.  A couple of years ago I signed up for a transcendental meditation course and everyone started worrying about me because I became quite traumatised and stopped eating!!  Then I downloaded Headspace which I can heartily recommend ( and did the odd 10 minutes - mostly when I needed to sleep at 3am in the morning - it helped to quieten my mind.  And I still practise a form of yoga nidra again when struggling to sleep

But no habit has been formed and I have learnt that this is the answer! 

Meditation is really beneficial and recent studies show meditation can have positive effects on stress, anxiety, focus, creativity and even relationships.  I came across an amazing chakra cleansing meditation that I downloaded a week ago and not done it - have a look - it is designed to balance and cleanse the chakras and teaches how to channel white light,

So I am dedicating my stop procrastinating blog to meditation - I will listen to the chakra cleanse meditation tomorrow and then start again with Headspace on Sunday and endeavour to meditate for the next 30 days and see if I can get that pesky, elusive habit formed.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 7

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Day 6 Let the mentor find her mentor!

It is interesting that when I mentor people for Princes trust or my own business or deliver a piece of training, I often come away feeling inspired but also a bit guilty.  The advice I am giving is great but it gives me a bit of a kick up the a*** and sometimes makes me realise I am still working on my business and not in it.

I have worked with some great coaches and read some great books. Without being horribly sycophantic, I have loved working with Natalie Sisson.  I have read the book, been on a mastermind class with her and now doing the blog challenge.  The one thing that I admire is that she is “real” – not packaged, just open and honest and in an email that she wrote the other day – she referred to me as VIP and I felt so valued as a client.  I feel her network support me and have had some great emails about the blogs.

But if I am to step out of my comfort zone and find my tribe then I am missing two types of mentor.

Firstly, I need a social media expert who can help me build my email database, and how to engage with them in the same genuine way as Natalie has done with me.  Ryan Deiss is someone who I admire but he does inundate with emails. I need someone to build my marketing plan in a bite size way on a daily/weekly basis - just like this blog.  But I will reach out to him and see what he can offer!

Secondly, a kindred spirit in the food industry who has written a book or two and gets great speaking gigs and good coverage in food magazines - Tessa Stuart. She and I do know each other and she has passed me a client recently but I would like to spend a bit of time with her and maybe continue to help each other out

So I will endeavour to work with both these people to build my skill base and also my own tribe of people will setting up my own Facebook group….watch this space

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 6

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Day 5 The Book

I WILL write my book!

So half way through the blog challenge and how do I turn this into a productive habit?
One of the key parts of my marketing strategy is writing my book – “how to be successful woman in the food industry”.  OK maybe needs a more sassy title but that’s the principle.

And I have been procrastinating about having time to do get it done – but guess what…I have found between 2 hours (first day, steep learning curve having never written a blog before) to 45 minutes (still learning and also getting side tracked with finding nice photos and quotes etc) per day EVERYDAY.  I have always thought that my most creative time is in the morning and for work stuff it is but guess what….. I like writing in the evening!!!

So my daily success plan is ridiculously simple –write 500 words per day (cos I won’t need to post the blog and find the image, so can find the extra few words) and my 50,000 word book is written in 100 days which is by Christmas.  I will have my book by Christmas.

Wow!!!!   Total lightbulb moment!!

So the plan is 50 minutes every day split into two Pomodoro 25 minute slots – in the evening. Am totally inspired and will use these blogs to build up the first few days words as I am so enjoying this process as well.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 5

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Day 4 I am not superwoman but I have super powers

Day 4 of the blog challenge has lead me to be reflective to dig deep into my psyche especially as yesterday was a very challenging day work wise and I am feeling a bit bruised and battered emotionally. I have been working flat out and overdoing it and feeling a bit shaky.  And then the challenge is to identify my two superpowers that together enable me to deliver success in my business. 

So I thought hard and found the appropriate two.  One is to deliver results.  I was on a course once with Boots – the type of course where you have to build an igloo out of things lying around to learn team building and resilience skills.  It was an awesome course set in Chamonix, all sunny and snowy.  Anyway back to the story, as a team, we were wobbling a bit over whether we would get it done in time.  And the instructor said something that stayed with me to this day, “the one thing I know about Boots people is you get things done”.  And that has inspired and stayed with me ever since. When deadlines are looming or challenges seem insurmountable – I know I can get the results.  And this belief has got me through some tough times but also has enabled me to inspire others to have the same faith and self conviction, which is a great asset when managing and mentoring others.

The second superpower is bringing people together.  I have worked on my network in the food industry over the years and know a lot of people who can help me out.  From creating great packaging design to delivering customers insights through research to how to save tax on innovation and building great websites.  So for my clients, I can offer not just my knowledge and skill set but the breadth of value of others which makes me much more powerful and effective.

However, I would say that one of my weaknesses is actually taking on too much and never saying no, so I do need to learn to say no to projects and businesses that do not serve my purpose and remember that I am not superwoman just a great food mentor!

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 4