February is the month of love and relationships; but when the calendar turns to March we still have to nurture our relationships if we want them to be healthy all year long. All of our relationships need care if they are to be strong and productive – even the business ones at work. For this blog, let’s focus on a relationship very critical to the nature of our business – one between the manufacturer and distributor. This is a relationship if nurtured and built on trust and communication, can become a successful mechanism for competent and confident selling.
In order to create a high-performance team and a competitive supply chain, there needs to be a free flow of information and education between both parties. Creating this free flow of information boosts morale for both the manufacturer and the distributor. There is much to learn from each other. Manufacturers provide the education on products, which helps increase the confidence of distributors when selling, and distributors provide critical customer feedback and field information that greatly benefits manufacturers when designing and manufacturing products. The art of great communication is not just what is said, but also, what is heard. So, sharing critical information between these two teams is vital to successful selling. Together, they can make a strong, winning team.
There are several other factors that can contribute to creating a winning team. A recent newsletter article highlighted some key points in developing a great team based on certain factors.
For instance, believe in your product. That is the best way to start off with a great manufacturer-distributor connection. If you believe in your product, it’s easy for the distributor to believe in it, and then it’s easy for the customer to believe in it as well. Basically, lead by example.
Building great relationships – no matter what kind of relationship – is based on a healthy dose of trust and fairness. As manufacturers, we need to be fair and non-partial with all distributors and equally supportive of all their needs. And distributors need to show the same kind of support to a manufacturer’s products as well.
Another factor for success is good training. We talked about communication. But training is a step beyond just basic communication. In the manufacturing world, training requires the manufacturer to thoroughly coach distributors on all aspects of the product – features, benefits, application, use, accessories, related products, and more. Imparting selling and marketing strategies and keeping distributors updated with current specials and promotions is generally good business practice.
This type of checklist for the manufacturer helps optimize performance.
When morale and confidence increase, competency takes a step up as well. Here’s to striking the right balance with our distributors and creating winning teams! Happy Selling!