What the Best Distributors & Dealers Do

What do top-performing distributors and dealers do? How do they behave? What results do they produce?

These are the questions Bob Chapman and I explored with a group of manufacturers last fall. Many of the qualities and results are eminently predictable, others are more surprising.

Regardless of industry, top performers consistently demonstrate similar behaviors on a day-to-day basis. These include:

  • Selling significant volume (most typical measure, but this is changing)
  • Providing quality customer service
  • Providing a “soft landing” (successful delivery & installation)
  • Conducting customer follow up
  • Doing their own installation
  • Providing strong aftermarket support
  • Demonstrating strong product knowledge
  • Providing effective technical support
  • Attending training & applying it
  • Demonstrating strong, basic selling skills
  • Identifying and pursuing fresh opportunities
  • Connecting to customers
  • Building and sustaining relationships
  • Remaining active and engaged with customers
  • Building and then supervising a great sales team
  • Demonstrating the ability and willingness to act independently

What’s the bottom line? Top performers produce consistent, predictable, desirable results. These include:
  • Selling sufficient volume
  • Selling at a profitable margin
  • Selling at a reasonable price
  • Maintaining price
  • Protecting product value in the marketplace
  • Selling enough to profitably offset Total Cost of Ownership (not just cost of sales)

Top performers often hit a selling ceiling, which they can’t or won’t exceed. They find a level that's comfortable, profitable and desirable, then work hard enough to meet and maintain that goal. Many won’t exert the extra energy and effort needed to carve out new sales territories or sell greater volume.

How do you define top-performing distributor and dealer qualities and results?

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