The market is filled with a wide spectrum of natural products brokers, from small to medium to large. Most cover food, non-food, supplements and body care, but some specialize in one or more of these areas. The key is to find the broker with the best fit for your organization.
Here are six tips that can help you find the right broker for your natural products brand:
1. Ask a prospective broker for a roster of their principals (lines they represent) and look for complementary lines (e.g., if you are a frozen food company, look for other frozen food companies that they worked with successfully).
2. Review their “prospectus”—their book on who their principals are, territories and chains they cover, retail coverage, number of people in the organization, and any additional services they offer (EDI, planogramming, etc.).
3. Look for other companies of your approximate size with which they have been successful.
4. Ask buyers (distributor and retailer) for their confidential recommendations. Sometimes they will just give you a list of brokers with whom they work. Often they will give you their off-the-record recommendations. Be sure to ask if they see the broker they are recommending to be a good fit with you - not just a good broker who calls on them.
5. Solicit input from peers in the industry about whom they work with, and who has a good reputation.
6. Ask your current brokers for recommendations on their peers in other markets—it’s a small world and they often know each other and their reputations.
This content is excerpted from the Natural Products Field Manual, Sixth Edition, The Sales Manager’s Handbook, written by Bob Burke and Rich McKelvey. To learn more about or purchase the Natural Products Field Manual, visit the Natural Products Consulting Institute website.