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Selling to distributors

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Mark Graham

on 3 April 2014

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Transcript of Selling to distributors

How to sell more effectively to distributors

Why I created this session ...
1. Limited education sessions directed at suppliers at industry shows
2. Distributors face brutal competition. First class suppliers make the difference
3. I passionately believe in the value of our supply chain model.
5. As a distributor, I have seen a lot of bad supplier sales pitches
4. Distributors & end clients are getting younger and care less about "the way it was done before"
1. Invest in your people
"Based on your career as a sales manager, how would you characterize the typical supplier rep?"
When designing this session, I asked an executive at a prominent supplier the following question ...
Not To-Dos
Their answer ...
"most reps are undertrained and they lack common sense"
Wrap up:
21st Century Selling

6. Be consistent
"I can quote or place an order any time of day or night, see inventory, images, specs. I can get freight estimates. Once I place the order, I get an automated response that tells me the order is in the system, and another when it ships. If they make a mistake, pack the wrong size, they send a correction immediately."
"I can't work with a supplier who makes me spend time doing their job too. I'm OK with mistakes, we all make them. What I don't want to spend my time on is following up, checking, correcting orders, questioning invoices."
3. Don't sell to distributors the same way
4. Stories, stories, stories!
Example: Jetline

Lousy Outside Rep + Lousy Inside Rep + Lousy Company = No Sales

Lousy Outside Rep + Lousy Inside Rep + Excellent Company = Low Sales

Lousy Outside Rep + Excellent Inside Rep + Excellent Company = Moderate Sales

Excellent Outside Rep + Lousy Inside Rep + Excellent Company = Good Sales

Excellent Outside Rep + Excellent Inside Rep + Excellent Company = Excellent Sales

source: Bobby Lehew, Robyn Promotions
One last thing to consider ...
- Research them in advance
- Use Social Media for regular touch points
- Get insights from complementary suppliers
- Don't show up and throw up.
5. Communicate on their terms
Does your customer prefer email, text, phone, social media, in person or even hand written communication?
2. Invest in emotional connection
Example: iClick
7. Elevate your products. Invest in meaning, not just product specs.
Numo Manufacturing: Zinos
1. Follow everyone who liked and commented on the post
Americraft: Gap Sticks
Mark Graham

Founder of RIGHTSLEEVE & commonsku
Started in the promo industry in 1997

Mark Graham
Houston, we have a problem ...
Consider ...
- You can't price shop emotion
- Everyone has the same product specs
- People do business with people they like
- "It's not about product, it's about process"
2. Scope out their profile page. Check out what industries they sell to, where they are located and what sort of content is on their wall.
3. Send case studies in the specific industries that your products do well in (ie. in my profile, it says I work with Technology companies)
4. Based on this information, reach out directly and see if you can send a sample. Turn that into an opportunity to say "you're in the neighbourhood" and would love to setup a meeting.
5. Write a hand written note card and include a free sample of the product. The note could say:

"Thank you for liking this on XYZ social platform. We are so excited about this product that we wanted you to have one for yourself. Thank you for your support."
6. Ask me if I would like a virtual or spec sample so I can market this to my client. Offer EQP for 30 days and see if I can land the order.
7. Offer a great self promo deal so you can get more of this product into my hands so I can continue to evangelize for you

1. Education
2. Trust
3. Inside people should visit customers with salespeople
4. Is your staff proud of their work and workplace? Why?

Thank you!
Mark Graham

8. Serve, don't sell
Full transcript