What's Your Preference?
A Distributor Asks:
I've heard and read that some suppliers have a circle of customers they call "Preferred Distributors." What is the advantage for selected distributors and what is the process for being invited into that circle?
As a supplier we offer our preferred distributors the opportunity to apply for the Suntex Select Program. This program gives end quantity pricing (EQP) on about 90 percent of our line which in turn gives the distributor an opportunity to earn a better profit, or pass the savings on to the end user, and hopefully land more sales.
We do have minimum qualifications, but I will waive these for one year if I feel the distributor has the potential to increase sales with Suntex Industries.
Suppliers identify distributor customers they believe are good candidates to help them grow their business. The qualifications include a relatively modest annual sales volume, and the distributor’s willingness to develop a mutually beneficial, long-term relationship with the supplier. Loyalty definitely plays a part. It is very similar to the relationship a successful distributor wants to develop with their end-buyers.
The advantages for the distributor can include EQP pricing, discounts on set-ups, and rebates. Some suppliers offer special incentives, additional education, personal sales calls, and advance previews for new products.
David J. Hawes, MAS+
A Multi-line Rep Asks:
Holding the attention of distributor sales reps during product demonstrations is a lot like herding cats. They’re using their cell phones, talking with each other and going in and out of the room. What can I do to attract and hold their attention during presentations?
If you cannot hold their attention maybe should better get better lines to rep or develop some great ideas for a distributor’s specific client base. Take a public speaking class and learn how to handle those cats. Set rules in advance of your meeting. Offer free spec or regular samples to those who do not use their phones. When they talk among themselves, ask them to share their conversation. Close the door. Limit your presentation to a few hot or new items from your key vendors. Hand out a prepared list of your vendors and the vendor contacts. Bring in food; they can’t talk to each other when eating. Instead of a group meeting, do one-to-one meetings. Develop spec and virtual samples with individual sales folks. Stay away from the page-turn sales pitch, and focus on how products have been sold and how they have been used. Bring in the best of the uniqueness from each of your lines. Don’t try to cram in 10 lines in 30 minutes; only talk about three lines for 10 minutes each. Bottom line: give them a focused talk that generates money in their pockets via fresh ideas that are new, different and unique to set yourself apart from the rest. Have a conversation and you will have their attention.
A Distributor Asks:
I placed an order for a client and the supplier required payment upfront and then used a shipper that delivered to the wrong address, where someone signed for the products. The package was then lost in the shipper’s system and the supplier said I had to go through the shipper to get my money back. I had to pay another supplier to get the product to my client on time. I’m still trying to get my money back from the first botched deal. Who owes me in this case, the shipper or the supplier? And how can I avoid this problem in the future?
What's your answer? Email answers along with your name, title and company name to Question@ppai.org by October 30 for possible inclusion in an upcoming issue of PPB magazine.