For companies who sell through distributors and brokers, the key to success lies in the effectiveness of the broker relationship. It’s very easy to get into a new partnership / distribution agreement – and in my experience it’s ten times harder to actually make the relationship work.
Here are a few tips to help you pursue the right distributors, and create an effective business relationship:
1. Negotiate for exclusivity within the range of products the agent carries
- You don’t want an agent who sells a competitors products
2. Never give territorial exclusivity to an agent
- Keep your options open
- You want sales agents to get as much trial and error experience as possible, and quickly
3. Equip agents with the best-selling tools you can provide
- Agents deal with many products – make yours easy to deal with
- Provide tools that work independently for agents.
4. Bring agents together regularly (quarterly or semi-annually) to exchange ideas, successes, and failures
5. Be top of mind
- Keep in touch with bi-weekly emails, phone calls, updates of products and services, and successes elsewhere in the company
- Look for agents who are proven and have strong sales skills and integrity