Throughout my 2.5 year journey bringing quality bone broth to Canada I've gotten more no's then yes's... by a long shot.
The sales side of the business is something I'm continually working at. There's not much of a playbook for grocery store sales, however the bigger we get the more I realize this is a traditional industry where relationships matter.
Being the young upstart I am with zero relationships (which I'm told I make up for in 'piss and vinegar') in the grocery or organic food industry, I didn't know what I didn't know. Perhaps for poignantly for this industry, I didn't know who I didn't know.
Cold calling is bad, but cold meetings are even worse. I'll never forget the early days where I walked into every grocery store in Vancouver, bone broth in hand, trying to speak with store managers on the spot.
They were generally polite (except for a few instances), sending me on my way with hopes and dreams. Only to find out later that they would be passing on bringing in my hand made bone broth.
Rejection is something I struggle tremendously with. Every 'no' still makes me think: "what the hell am I doing here? These stores don't want you. No one wants your silly bone broth."
I'm getting better but still have to force myself to pick up the phone and cold call.
The reason for this pithy anecdote is that IGA is one grocery chain thats rejected me more times than I can count.
I met in person with the head grocery buyer at their office two years ago, samples in tow. The meeting went great and i awaited their orders. They never came.
My follow up phone calls and emails gradually went unreturned. What did I do wrong? If that didn't get me down than the fact that they eventually started carrying other bone broths certainly did. Being first doesn't apply to grocery stores.
I picked myself up and focused on other stores that might be perceptive to our bone broth.
Fast forward two years and we are now finally in IGA across BC! As of this week you can find us in the freezer at some IGA's and Fresh St Market locations. We should be in the majority of them in the coming weeks!
Every no gets you closer to a yes. I wear them like feathers in my cap, although it still hurts every single time.