Working with the right distributor can help you build brand awareness, increase sales, and form better relationships with retailers, but first, you have to find a distributor who is willing to work with your product. Distributors may contact you to discuss representing your brand, but most of the time, you will be the one who has to pitch to them. When the time comes, make sure you avoid these mistakes:

Know their business.

Distributors tend to work in specific geographic regions, and most distributors stick to one type of retailer. Some will consider themselves to be specialty store distributors and only service gift shops or outdoors stores, while others will be primarily focused on grocery or convenience stores. Before you begin to contact distributors, it’s imperative that you know which types of stores they service. Pitching to a distributor who only works with stores that are not relevant to your business is a huge waste of time and makes it obvious you’re not quite sure what you’re doing.

Assuming the distributors do all the work.

Distributors are looking for brands that want to partner with them, not companies who expect results without putting in any time or effort. As you are talking to potential distributors, make it clear your brand will fully support their efforts with marketing campaigns, promotional materials, and anything else they need to increase sales.

Being narrow-minded.

If a distributor is interested in your product, he may begin to brainstorm ideas on what could be done to promote the product in-store, how the packaging could be updated, and what retailers you should aim to get into. As the distributor discusses these ideas, don’t immediately shut them down before you’ve had the chance to hear his reasoning behind the thought. Remember, you are hiring a distributor because he is the expert in his field, so it doesn’t hurt to trust his opinion and at the very least, give him a chance to explain why he thinks it will work. Coming off as narrow-minded in the pitch meeting is a big turn off for distributors, because they will not want to work with someone who doesn’t value their opinions formed after years of experience in the industry.

Being cheap.

Money may be tight if you’re just starting out with your company, but that doesn’t mean your distributor should have to take a pay cut to help you stay in business. Some distributors ask for a flat fee for their services, while others will buy products from you at a lower price so they can mark it up and resell it to retailers. If this is the case with your distributor, you have to understand your price must be low enough to allow the distributor to mark it up once, and then the retailer to mark it up again so they can sell it to customers. Everything in business is negotiable, but be fair with your distributor, or you may just ruin the pitch.

Have you ever made a major mistake while pitching to a distributor? Share your stories in the comments below!