Ask A Co-op Expert – Everything You Need to Feel Comfortable Selling Co-op
Can you provide a step-by-step overview demonstrating how to approach an advertiser with co-op, what to do next, etc? I feel comfortable with the basics, having perused Recas.com database and having read some of the tutorials. I just don’t know exactly what to do and when to do it. When I approach a customer, I want to make sure I can answer all their questions.
Dear Co-op Newbie,
Your service provides all the basic co-op advertising information. More guidance and support are available from our team (firstname.lastname@example.org) but off the record, using co-op is really a step-by-step process using the e-mail sales leads or any other info on the recas.com Co-op site. Get started and then by reading some of our previous blog posts too.
Step 1: Understand the basics
Looking at a co-op plan, just understand that there’s a brand with a sales promotion program for local retailers. Know the fundamentals on what’s involved in the co-op process (accruals, participation, reimbursement, etc.) and maybe check out the manufacturer’s Web site for more info on their product. Generally you’re just positioning yourself to help the retailer with this. As in all things, you shouldn’t worry about having all the answers; nobody does…but you have the resources and the willingness to find out.
Step 2: Find your local dealers
Are there retailers in your market that carry the manufacturer’s product line? Use the dealer link on the co-op plan to find out who they are and ask yourself, “If they do or do not currently advertise with us, will helping them with their co-op garner more advertising?” Remember, you’ll only be able to help local retailers with this and not the major accounts of the world—they already have people for this.
Step 3: Review the local retailer’s brand promotion plan
Review the manufacturer’s co-op plan (and possibly print a copy for your meeting). Make sure you know the accrual and the participation to assess what kind of promotion might make sense for the retailer as part of their overall advertising schedule. You or the dealer may need to check with their manufacturer sales rep or the co-op administrator for specifics.
You can estimate a retailer’s co-op balance by having them ballpark their total purchases with the manufacturer over the course of the accrual period (i.e., $100,000 in wholesale purchases with a 2% accrual is $2,000 in available co-op).
Step 4: Showcase the manufacturer’s ad materials
Your most effective approach is to use the promotional ad materials found in the Ad Material Warehouse created by the manufacturer for the products they sell. These are linked directly from the co-op plan, and in many cases you can just insert their store information on the manufacturer ads for the presentation to help them visualize their ad in the paper.
The ads on recas.com are for spec ad presentation to the dealer and need to be confirmed and possibly updated by the manufacturer. The ads provide a basis for a conversation with your retailer about capitalizing on the manufacturer’s national promotion.
Step 5: Assist local dealers with co-op
I recommend approaching the local dealer with a bundled ad schedule along with the prepared ad material for a turn-key presentation. A base proposal document is available through Recas.com for this purpose. Recas subscribers have access to an automated proposal generator that can bundle the proposed schedule with the ad for a professional look. Regardless of what you use, you want to be able to present the retailer with a total package containing what, where, and how much this program can do for their business.
If the customer is comfortable with the co-op process and their available resources, you can get them started. You will just need to help them manage the co-op process through your publication: get manufacturer ad approval, place the schedule and provide co-op invoicing for reimbursement.
Continued next week…we’ll continue with Step 6—Helping your local dealers with their co-op accruals, Step 7—Helping your local dealers with reimbursement, and asking questions such as, “There appears to be an advertising program to help with the products you carry; has anyone told you about this?”
In the meantime, don’t be overwhelmed – one step at a time.