Promotional Products Suppliers Selling Direct... What Can You Do?
A spirited discussion is going on in a LinkedIn email forum that I subscribe to about a few promotional products suppliers who sell direct and may be trying to steal your customers. This is a hot topic in our industry and one that may be troubling you. Here are my thoughts and some recommendations.
I've been part of the promotional products industry for more than 25 years. There have always been a small group of suppliers who sell direct and a few that may even go after your accounts by enclosing literature in the orders that are shipped, or contacting them directly; however, I believe these are the exception. Most suppliers don't have the sales force or capabilities to service the accounts they way you do, nor do they want to alienate their loyal distributor sales force.
What can you do about those few bad eggs? I'm a big believer of having a preferred list and trying to limit your sales to a few key suppliers in each of the top selling categories. When you do that you'll enjoy better service, have a stronger understanding of the supplier's line of products and you may even qualify for better pricing. Of course, there are times when you have to work outside of your core supplier group, but in that case go with a supplier that has a high industry rating and a strong recommendation from your peers. Attend industry trade shows and get to know your top suppliers. Develop a mutually beneficial relationship and your business will thrive.
Distinguish your distributorship by focusing on fresh ideas, outstanding service and knowledge of your customer's industry and challenges. Look for suppliers who provide case histories, ideas and great customer service support to help you sell more, sell better and sell faster.
Speaking of top suppliers and fresh ideas, check out my FREE Skyrocket Your Sales Audio, where top-rated suppliers share great selling tips and new ideas that you can instantly use to increase your sales. You can get the free Skyrocket Your Sales audio and exclusive supplier discounts here.
I would enjoy hearing from you. What are your thoughts about suppliers selling direct? How have you handled this situation in your own promotional products business? Please comment below.
Speaker, Educator and Promo Biz Coach, Rosalie Marcus, teaches promotional products sales professionals how to sell smarter and make more money with less time and effort. Claim your FREE Promo Biz Sales-Boost Kit with a FREE report: 10 Big Mistakes Promotional Professionals Make and How to Avoid Them and a FREE Skyrocket Your 2012 Sales Audio download at www.promobizcoach.com. Reach her at Rosalie@promobizcoach.com or 215-572-6766.