Cue Queen's "We Are The Champions"
It's been a VERY long and winding road since I first read Tim's book. However, I've pulled off a muse even he'd be proud of.
I just inked a distribution deal with GNC for HardWired (www.focusedgeenergy.com).
I almost feel ashamed about how I made it happen.
Step 1) Ascertained how GNC "discovers" new products
Step 2) Ascertained how GNC's corporate hierarchy is structured
Step 3) Cased all 27 stores in my GNC district to identify the "star" up-and-coming store manager
Step 4) Made small talk with said manager, mentioned HardWired and how it's an improvement on JACK3D (their #1 supplement) and how I've specifically formulated it for mental focus, memory support, energy and fat loss
Step 5) Left her 5 bottles when she asked for a sample
Step 6) Checked back with her a week later to hear glowing reviews
Step 7) Left her another 5 bottles and offered her 10% of any deal with GNC if they pick up HardWired
Step 8) She sells HardWired to her district manager who has authority to "recommend" new products
Step 9) The district manager sends HardWired off to the GNC lab for testing
Step 10) District Manager and Store Manager go to lunch with me to hash out GNC's offer
Step 11) Negotiations complete, deal made, everyone is "winning"
Note: I first researched my target market (college students, white collar professionals), created my site, put the product into production, and developed/executed a marketing strategy before even approaching a heavy weight like GNC.
You MUST have the "credibility indicators" before sitting at the negotiations table.
And on a side note, if college students are your market, do not even attempt to sell to them directly. You'll waste a lot of time and money.
Instead, go after a hobby or interest associated with college students and use that sub-niche as a "trojan horse" into that oh-so-lucrative college student niche market.
For me, it's competitive video gaming.