This is the third of four installments during the month of May where guest blogger Roger Burnett will present arguments to support the notion of specialization among Promotional Products distributors.
Imagine you’re the creator of a secret society. In yours, you get to pick and choose who gets to be a part of the circle. Those you add to the circle make those already there that much better. Your society focuses on making each part of what you do the best possible, and each new innovation is brought with a chorus of cheers from all that bear witness.
How many Suppliers live in your secret society today? What roles do they play to earn the title of “Secret Society Member”(SM). Have you considered the possibility of using a finite number of Suppliers to work with? For those of you that have, if membership to YOUR society is based on financial considerations, I will make a blanket statement and say yours is a generalists business.
A Distributor specialist has a unique opportunity in the Supplier community: FOCUS.
Because I know what my clients and prospects are largely going to buy, I work closely with a select few vendors on specific items within the key categories I’ve identified as being vital to my buying community.
Because we focus our Supplier spend on market-specific categories, I am disproportionately important to the few vendors I work with due to the amount of product I buy from them. I look bigger to the vendors I employ because they get more of my money than they get of yours.
Because we recognize the trend-creators these buying community most closely follow, we can bring new product introductions to market that mimic (or in many instances, match) what these buyers see when buying retail. Our new product choices are recognizable to them, and in many instances we bring them product they’d never previously considered. When we hit on a hot new product introduction, the register rings faster than we can control!!!
It’s a lot like hearing your song being played on the radio.
Because we’ve identified the product categories that work best for those we represent, we’re free to spend time discussing packaging, bundling, and enhanced or alternative decorations as value-added solutions meant to command a higher margin from our buyers. Our brain-storming sessions are often so lively we have to score the ideas in order to identify those most worth pursuing.
Because we understand when on the calendar our buying communities are most active, we’re able to work with Suppliers to organize our marketing efforts and take advantage of the ample resources available to us from our Suppliers.
Think of your last Supplier meeting. How focused and detailed were the discussions? How much time was spent reviewing the new catalog? Did someone from the organization work with the Supplier to “dial in” the discussion?
If an unfamiliar Supplier approached your business, what would you be able to share with them about your clients and the trends evident in their needs?
Ask most Supplier reps to describe their favorite Distributor clients; you’ll frequently hear about those “that get it”. The difference between generalist and specialist is often found in those three words.
In addition to his role as Director of Team Sales for LEGACY Global Sports, Roger Burnett is the self-proclaimed Maintenance Supervisor for the Worldwide Negativity Defense System. A gardener by marriage, Roger also has a keen eye for marketing and is a founding chef of PromoKitchen. Next time you see Roger at an industry event, share a craft beer or bourbon with him – his laugh is infectious.