What behaviors, traits and results characterize under-performing distributors and dealers?
This is the question Bob Chapman and I explored with a group of manufacturing executives. Many answers were quite predictable, others were more surprising.
- Carrying every possible product line
- Demonstrating no loyalty to one central manufacturer or their products
- Acting as a low-price leader
- Functioning as a price-based seller
- Focusing solely on landing a job/making the sale
- Not distinguishing between making a sale and making the right sale to the right customer
- Responding reactively, rather than acting proactively
- Submitting eleventh-hour bids
- Waiting to the last minute … for everything
- Not communicating with the manufacturer
- Not communicating with their internal team
- Not communicating with installers
- Not building relationships with new customers
- Not working to sustain relationships with existing customers
- Sometimes sell significant volume
- Sometimes barely sell anything at all
- Fall short on customer service, follow up, etc.
- Require more support, both day to day and overall
- Fail to reliably cover the Total Cost of Sales
- Increase the Total Cost of Ownership through cumulative shortcomings
- Fail to profitably offset Total Cost of Ownership, for the same reasons
If your distributors are not performing up to expectation, perhaps it's time to ask some tough questions:
- Is it worth the time, energy, effort and cost to define roles and responsibilities with greater clarity?
- Is it time to build greater accountability into your system?
- Have you provided sufficient training and support?
- Can the relationship become profitable and productive with the right training and attention ?
- Are you willing to make the investment?
- What's the potential ROI?
- Is it time to cut them loose?
Only you can answer these questions.
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