Jul 4, 2016

DISTRIBUTOR CALL


Good marketing means getting the right product to right place at the right time. All the work done to achieve this can fail at the last post – when you have to deliver the goods.

Sales and marketing people have balance the promotional mix to achieve the best value. These trades – offs are mirrored in delivery.

With advertising, the objectives are market supply and customer service. Advertising moves people to products and selling moves products to people. Physical distribution links these two.These are the basics that every salesperson must know about marketing, advertising and any other sales promotional activities to promote their products or brands in a systematic way by contributing their ideas, skills and strategy in the interest of the company. They have to work with company’s marketing people before taking any decision and must follow the policy and procedure of the company. Such sales people can handle any objections professionally to the entire satisfaction of the customer. Overall to say Sales and Marketing people must support each other in the interest of the organization. Don’t forget to consider your area distributor to have more support in the matter.

PREPARING FOR THE DISTRIBUTOR CALL

Distributor is the bridge between the organization and customer. He is also the Partner of your Business as he would agree on company’s Yearly Business Plan. He is the local leading person for building up good contacts and relation with customer.

He also builds up strong reputation with company on behalf of any organization for which he deals. He is the immediate solution and service provider by maintaining a good amount of stock and skilled sales representatives. He has good territory knowledge and customer base to tap the potential area. He would communicate the company on behalf of customer for the supply of product, service, billing, and transport etc without any delay.

Distributor would identify new application, new customer segment etc. in the interest of the company. He will also participate in trade exhibition, seminars kind of sales promotional activities in consent with the company.

His effort and contribution towards the success of the company is incredible to the organization. Therefore a salesperson must give equal importance to distributor’s call too. He should have a proper planning before consulting the distributor. Few instances are given below:

PRE – CALL

Salesperson should know the purpose for calling on the distributor.

Partnership Meeting.

Resolve a problem.

Schedule a Sales Meeting.

Talk about new products or promotions.

What do you want to accomplish and how do you plan to achieve this goal?

What problems or objections are you likely to encounter.

How will you resolve the problems and overcome the objections?

Plan the amount of time you spend.

Do not plan your schedule too tightly. You may have to spend more time that you have planned for.

Your time and selling skills are the basis of your existence.

THE FIRST CALL

You are making your first call on a distributor.

What is your objective? Be as specific as possible.

Plan your visit in advance.

Know who you want to see and know why you want to see them.

President.

Sales Manager.

Sales Engineer/Salesperson/Executive.

Branch Manager.

Purchasing Manager/Accounts Department.

Store Manager.

All of the above.

DON’T MAKE A COLD CALL

Call for an appointment.

Be known as a person who is “On Time”, it will help to get them to be on time for you.

KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT THE DISTRIBUTOR

Purchase History.

Are they good partners?

Are there any current problems?

If you don’t know, ask your manager and/or customer service representative early.

DON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH

The I.D. does not know you.

I.D. principals don’t automatically trust you.

You have to earn their trust and respect.

You may not accomplish all your goals on the first visit: this will help you plan future effective sales calls.

PROVE YOURSELF- SO BE STRAIGHT WITH THEM
Start to build up a business relationship. “Rome wasn’t built in a day:” neither will you build a sound business relationship on the first call. It takes time.

Offer to help them with a common problem.

START WITH THE BASICS


Check literature supply.

Check for current price lists.

Offer to check inventory and remove bad stock.

Ask to schedule a brief sales meeting so you can meet the sales staff.

Review any plans already scheduled.

Review any current problems. Do give immediate answers. On hard questions, tell them you will look in to it and attend to it as early as possible.

DON’T COMMIT TO MORE THAN YOU CAN DELIVER

Talk too much – be a good listener.

Make promises you cannot keep.

Any questions referred to the I.D. policy.

Offer to review questions with your supervisor/ manager/ customer service representative.

Overstay your welcome.

POST-CALL


Review what happened on the call.

What went right and why?

What went wrong and why?

What action steps where decided upon?

Take action. Write a letter to the distributor confirming the meeting and action steps agreed upon by each party.

Always follow up.

DISTRIBUTOR CALL

The normal distributor call does not differ greatly from your first call.

DO’s

Have a specific objective.

Make an appointment.

Pre- call exercise.

Plan to check inventory.

You are not keeping up our end of the partnership if you don’t periodically check the distributor’s inventory and suggest that slow moving inventory be replaced with active stock as per provided by policy.

Check literature.

Keep updated on personal changes.

Advice field promotions of mailing list changes.

REVIEW PARTNERSHIP BUSINESS PLAN

Schedule activities.

Success or failure of past activities plus corrective actions you can work on together to repeat success or stop failure.

Plan for activities.

Be a good listener.

DON’T

Say them goodbye.

Make a cold call.

Arrive unprepared.

Discuss business with other distributor’s you are working with.

Forget to take inventory.

Be afraid to discuss problems that you may have in working with your distributor.

Overstay your welcome.

Review action steps and leave.

If you have a problem to discuss with the distributor don’t forget to think it through. Remember, it I not only what you to say, but how you say it that will determine the outcome of the meeting. Assertive is not the same as Aggressive.

Don’t be discouraged if distributor doesn’t want to actively support partnership business plan. This is a very successful back to business planning process. You may have to sell and prove to them that it works. If they still do not want to participate, that is okay. You have other distributor’s who will.

ALWAYS FOLLOW UP

No matter how experienced you are, each time you do the pre call and post call exercises, you are becoming a more professional salesman.

Remember, even the most accomplished performer has rehearsals before going in front of the audience.

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