How To Grow A Small Business-#4

The fourth in this series seems like a no-brainer but small companies sometimes rush into choosing a distributor without first determining if the distributor has a proven track record of creating sales.

Distributor sales organizations are an interesting breed. They are usually started by one or two people who have had success in the industry and are fed up with the large corporate life and want the freedom of working on their own. They have developed a solid base of customers who are committed to them. These salespeople may have a non-compete with their company, which means they can sell to their current customers but they may have limitations on products they can sell them. Regardless, these distributor owners will find other products to sell because they are committed to being on their own.

So begins a distributorship. The key to organizations like these is that they continue to bring new products into the mix of ones they already sell. The better the mix of products the deeper they sell into the existing customer base. And this is where the proven sales track record is key for a company when they choose a distributor for their products.

A proven sales track record includes these factors:

  1. Three to four years of continued sales increases.
  2. A broad product mix, which allows the distributor to sell a variety of products to the same customer, which in turn builds loyalty to the distributor.
  3. A large enough geography allowing the distributor to broaden the base of customers, which again makes the organization attractive to companies that don’t want to hire direct salespeople.
  4. The distributor understands how to hire high quality sales staff.
  5. A high level of service to their customers.

Quality distributor organizations are not easy to find but when you do find them they stick out. Their support staff is easy to get along with, there are high levels of organization from CRM’s to product inventory systems, leadership is strong and have a growth vision.

How do you find these diamonds in the rough? The same place you find quality salespeople-their customers.

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