December 16, 2018

Developing a Strong Broker Network to Grow Your Sales

Building and Maximizing Your Broker Relations to Increase Your Sales

Broker Insights Tip Sheet 

We recently sat down with three seasoned broker professionals to get their wisdom on building and maximizing broker relationships. Here are some pearls of wisdom:


  • When choosing a broker, look for a passionate sales agent – they will promote your brand with energy!
  • Consider a small broker. They are more likely to accept brands with little or no distribution track record.
  • Make your case for assortment differentiation. Brands and brokers can work together to determine how to best add value to a retailer’s assortment.
  • A good broker should know all local market buyers and key players.


  • The time is now for emerging brands. Big retailers are depending on products from emerging companies and startups to drive in-store consumers.
  • I love to see a brand with a great story – one that will resonate with buyers. A great brand story helps the broker sell well.
  • Your broker wants your brand to succeed and will share their data and analytics.


  • When finding the right broker and brand fit, synergy in the relationship is key!
  • Two things brokers want to know about a brand: how well you can grow in a region, and do you have proper funding?
  • Supermarkets are lowering their fees just to get emerging brands on the shelves. Natural/organic specialty chains are even dedicating promotion blocks solely to smaller brands.
  • Discuss omnichannel solutions with your broker. Meet the consumer where they are, in-store or online.


And here is more on what they shared

 6 Qualities to Look for In a Broker

  1. Look for brokers with strong retailer relationships
  2. Quality brokers work with buyers who introduce new items, and push for better shelf space.
  3. A great broker has a quality office staff and account managers.
  4. When it comes to the data, a solid broker knows who’s buying which brand’s product, how often and where.
  5. Find a broker who’s in the know on every buyer and store opening in the region.
  6. Your broker should understand your product and be passionate about getting it promoted.

5 Tips for Interviewing a Broker

  1. Determine a clear overview of the ins and outs of the broker’s operations.
  2. Ask to meet your potential account manager. After all, they will be an extension of you sales team.
  3. Know the bottom line. What are they expecting as far as commission fees?
  4. Sharing is caring. Ask about their data and analytics and if they would be willing to share it with you.
  5. Find out distribution options and best omnichannel solutions.

4 Qualities a Broker Looks for in a Brand

  1. The story. Upfront, they want to know your brand story will connect with people.
  2. Synergistic possibilities. Brokers want an achievable success vision that syncs with their brand’s expectation. Think win-win!
  3. Point of differentiation. What your brand can offer to the quality to the retailer’s assortment is key.
  4. You are in it to win. A broker wants to know you’re equally as pumped and prepared to grow your region.

3 Facts You May Not Know About Building Your Broker-Distribution Networks

  1. Some distributors have their own direct network of brokers. This is common in organic/natural. (John)
  2. Sometimes you won’t need a broker. Some distributors don’t require smaller brands have brokers. Other times, brands may have to find category-specific brokers. (John)
  3. Brands who sell direct-to-consumer develop greater brand equity, and consumer insights. Some brokers will even lower fees to represent them. (Bruce)

2 Ways Data and Analytics Can Maximize Your Broker Relationship

  1. Numbers don’t lie. Good data can help you and your broker to stay in the know on trending products and category unit sales per week.
  2. Solid data and analytics are the best way to predict an effective growth strategy.

1 Thing You Can’t Afford to Overlook Maximizing Your Broker Relations

Here’s the 1-2 punch.

  1. Clear and timely communication practices are key to maximizing your broker relationships and growing your brands’ shelf space.

Download the Broker Insights Tip Sheet 

For more insights to save you time and money, join FMI Emerge. Visit for more information, or contact Julie Pryor at, 202.220.0655.