You’ve probably been told to cold call retail buyers to get their attention, but what about writing a letter? Instead of bombarding someone you’ve never met before with phone calls, try to write out an introduction letter that tells the buyer a little more about your brand. What should you include in this crucial letter? Follow these tips:

State your purpose.

Retail buyers have hundreds of emails and letters to sift through, so it’s important you state the purpose of your communication upfront so they know whether to continue reading. Start out by introducing yourself and your company, but keep it brief at this point in the letter, and then move directly into why you are writing. Do you want to set up a phone call? Send samples? This should be expressly stated.

Talk about your company.

After you’ve made your intentions clear, start to discuss your products and company as a whole. If you have a unique mission statement, support a social cause, or have any characteristics that help you stand out—such as being organic or made in America—mention them now. This is the portion of the letter where you need to sell your brand to the buyer.

Show why it would be beneficial.

Now that the buyer knows your intentions and who you are, connect the dots by explaining why a partnership between the two of you would be beneficial to both parties. Talk about how the retailer’s current inventory has neglected a crucial part of the market that you serve. Or, mention the success you’ve had in other retailers so you come off as less of a risk and more of an established brand. This is not a sales pitch, just an introduction, so don’t go on for pages about how great your products are. Then, end the note with a call-to-action. Tell the buyer you will be following up within X days to discuss the next steps in your relationship.

Keep these things in mind.

You should always stick to this three paragraph format when writing an introduction letter to retailers or even independent grocery store distributors, but there are a few other things you should keep in mind as well:

  • It’s recommended you follow up within a week after your letter has been sent. If you can’t get through the first time, don’t cross this retailer off your list. Keep following up for a few more weeks before you call it quits.
  • Don’t send the same introduction letter to every retailer you’re targeting. Cater it to each retailer’s unique needs so the buyers can see you put the time and effort into getting to know their customer base.
  • If you can, send samples with your introduction letter. This opens the door for a follow-up call, since you can start the conversation by asking how the buyer liked your samples.
  • Keep the letter to a page maximum so the buyer doesn’t become bored or overwhelmed by the text.

Have you ever written an introduction letter to retailers? What went wrong? What worked for you? Share your experience in the comments below!