058 - How to Pitch Your Product to Retail Stores with Mark Shanahan


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Today’s guest on the Product Startup Podcast is Mark Shanahan, a top expert in consumer product distribution and retailers. Previously, Mark had a successful 25 year career at Staples, where he started as a junior product buyer, moved up to running entire product categories, eventually becoming a Vice President.

Mark joins Kevin Mako to share valuable insights about how inventors, product startups, and manufacturers can get in the door with buyers at major retail stores, and how they can sell their product once they’ve crossed that threshold.

You’ll hear them talk about:

  • What entrepreneurs can do with their physical products to get the best chance of success with major retailers. Mark shares tips and tricks from an insider’s view as a long-time Staples buyer.
  • Questions that buyers often ask entrepreneurs. They will want to know your target market, what your value proposition is, and why you’re legitimate.
  • The components of a well-done pitch. Always remember to be concise, clear, and transparent.
  • The importance of being honest with a potential retailer. The buyer needs to know that you are reliable and can be trusted.
  • Things to consider when meeting buyers: maintain eye contact, don’t get too personal, take notes, and be as brief as possible.


Mark Shanahan on LinkedIn | Twitter

Kevin Mako on LinkedIn | Twitter


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