Making sure your distributor relationships are solid should be your primary goal this OND. Tim Jones, our Chief Customer Success Officer and Co-founder, has compiled a list of Four Guiding Principles on how to maximize these partnerships. The first two can be found in Part One, with the remainder below.
Tim was a supplier for many years, and experienced every angle of interaction with distributors. Besides planning ahead with goals and keeping a healthy perspective on rep’s time, there are two other major strategies for making sure your communications with distributors during OND will be successful.
Guiding Principle #3: Don’t Waste Time.
“Don’t waste my time” is the most common request from distributor reps during OND. It needs to be noted that they’re commissioned sales people who are working hard to earn a living! If it doesn’t involve them making a profit, then it probably shouldn’t be something on your agenda when interacting with them.
- Don’t ask reps to pursue something immaterial to them.
- Always put yourself in their shoes as you plan your interactions. You aren’t their only account.
Guiding Principle #4: Be Proactive.
The more a supplier can assist in making a sale, the better the season will go. Conversely, the more sales the supplier helps secure on their own, the more the distributor rep will return the favor with selling that supplier’s brand down the road. Just be sure to follow proper protocol as you engage with accounts so that you don’t step on any toes.
- Make sure the rep is aware of your intentions before engaging with accounts.
- Be sure the rep values the opportunity and has prioritized it at the account.
- Communicate with reps succinctly every step of the way.
Here’s an example of a successful conversation:
Supplier: “Hey Bob! I followed up with Jane at Restaurant 123 after our visit there last month and tasted her on the chardonnay she had inquired about. She liked it and agreed to put it on the BTG list for the holidays. I went back the next day and trained all 12 of their servers and gave them wine keys. She is looking to buy 3 cases. Can you confirm that she ordered?”
Distributor Rep: “Hey Tim. Thanks for following up with Restaurant 123! Looks like they bought 3 cases. As it happens, I had another good account looking for a chardonnay, Bistro ABC. I presented yours and they brought it in. Thanks!”
It can’t be stressed enough that the more you do as a supplier, the more the distributor will return the favor.
We hope that you’ve found these Guiding Principles for distributor relationships helpful! Following them will further you along in maximizing your most important resource as a supplier – your distributor.