How to succeed in an online virtual pitch

Virtual events are certainly here to stay, even when the pandemic passes. Virtual events are certainly here to stay, even when the pandemic passes. This article provides guidance on how to do the perfect virtual pitch to buyers. With the VMS & Wellness Buyers Discovery Club Live event set to take place in the coming days, we wanted to give you a run down of how to ensure you are using your time with the buyers to get the most from each pitch. The guidance below comes from our very own Managing Director Ross Carlin, providing you step by step actions to make the most from your day.


Identify why your products work for their stores

There needs to be a clear reason or number of reasons why the buyer should take your product on board their range, instead of other new products they are being pitched and also to replace current products on shelf.

It’s very important to understand what makes a buyer ‘tick’ – revenue, profitability, rate of sale, average basket etc. You need to make sure you are raising all these points within your pitch, showing the understanding of the category and explaining how you will help them to improve their sales within category.

You may have the most ethical, best tasting product available, but if the figures don’t stack up, you won’t get through the gates.

If you need a little further guidance on what retail buyers are looking for form your brand to stand out on shelf, see this article –

Ensure you know their audience

Likewise with the previous point, if you don’t understand what makes their customers tick, you can’t explain how you plan to drive sales.

Does your marketing match the biggest shopper demographic for this retailer?

Is it common knowledge that the retailer has a gap in category and your product helps to bridge this?

Is there a fast-growing customer demographic in their stores and your products fit the new growth demographic?

These are all questions to ask yourself, so you can explain why you fit in their stores. Knowing your buyer, their demographic and their need is more important than loving your product… When talking about it to a buyer, that is.

How do you help to encourage the sales of other products in store?

Although you might think you need to sell your product as the next big thing and nothing else matters, you’re wrong, other products in the category and across store matter.

There is always a strategy within retailers to increase basket value, which means the shopper buying your product will also need to be buying something else in store. Think about other categories that the product mixes with, such as sports nutrition for vitamins, or CBD into beauty, within the VMS category there are many opportunities for your brand to help drive sales in other categories or sub categories. If you can identify this, it will actually allow your product to stand out more in the buyers eyes.

Get your sales presentation in shape

Suppliers should be treating a virtual meeting like any other pitch meeting – presenting the right presentation deck is very important. There are a lot of glaring mistakes I have made in my past and that I see a lot of brands making now when building a presentation deck – it’s not all about how amazing your product is. You need to ensure you have your facts and figures laid out, in clear sight. These include:

  • Brand story
  • Customer demographic
  • Product specification / dimensions
  • On shelf planogram
  • Customer data / insights
  • Suggested RRPs
  • Cost price
  • Manufacturing capability
  • Accreditations / manufacturing compliance
  • Shelf life
  • Promotional support (out of 52 weeks)
  • Current sales data
  • Account value based on expected rate of sale

All of the above information should be built into your sales deck, to avoid constant back and forth with the buyer. Now comes the hard part, putting all that information into a presentation that captures the excitement and story of your brand.

Stand out whilst sitting at home

This is your time to stand out from the rest of the meetings that the buyer is taking that day. Make the meeting memorable and stand out. There are various ways to do this on the day, but my advice would be to show off the energy and message behind your brand through your backdrop.

Promoting a product with ingredients from across the globe? Why not dress your room up to reflect the country of origin?

Looking to promote the science behind your product? Do the meeting in a laboratory.

There are many ways to get creative with virtual events, even more so than a meeting in person I believe. Use it to your advantage and make it a pitch that they will never forget.

Plan your 15 minutes and practice

Each 15 minute pitch meeting you have could change your businesses future. Take the time out to practice your pitch and time how long it takes to discuss various elements of your pitch. You should also look to plan in some Q&A time, expecting the buyer to ask certain questions that you might often get asked when speaking to buyers.

I would suggest breaking your presentation down into stages, following a strategy that will get you noticed, allow you to provide detail on the brand and then go into further info on the support. Ensure the presentation flows and make sure you leave enough time between each section. Also, don’t forget to ask questions of their category during the pitch – you might find out that your product is exactly what they are looking for, or the opposite, but it’s always best to know.  

Finally, try to enjoy the process. Any pitch for a sales representative is nerve racking, but feeling at ease and knowing that you have all the information needed, to hand, in your pitch deck should provide comfort.

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