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  How does one stay non-threatening when you sell a distributor who sells customer A. Customer A grows and starts to buy direct from competitors (one step vs two step). How does one start selling direct to Customer A without threatening the distributor?
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by Dave Kahle
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Personal note from
Dave Kahle
"I hope you enjoy this article. We have lots of resources on this site, ranging from dozens of similar free articles, podcasts, weekly features, books , CDs and video training programs. Enjoy! "

This is one I can really empathize with, having been on both sides of this issue (distributor and manufacturer) on several occasions. From my experience, the best results come from clear, above-the-board discussions with the distributor. A frank conversation that addresses the issue: "This customer is not going to buy from you. In order to save the business, we're going to approach them direct. We're doing you the courtesy of letting you know our plans. That's life."

In order to make that more palatable, think about providing the distributor a small short-term commission, even though he isn't selling the business. He did identify and convert the customer. A small commission for six months or so will show your intentions are in the right place.

Another possibility is to identify a couple prospects where you can work closely with the distributor (maybe special pricing or service) to help him get some accounts to replace customer A.

Kahle Way Distributor Selling System
Kahle Way Sales Management System

Either or both of these will go a long way to keeping the relationship in place with the distributor while adjusting to the ever-changing customer situation.

If you have any comments or questions, email them to me.
I do, of course, reserve the right to edit.


Here are a few articles by Dave
that you might be interested in reading:

  • What's the Best Way to Find a Good Salesperson... Good question! It seems that everyone has a favorite response. Some people only use recruiters, and others swear by networking. But classified ads continue to be the most common choice. Almost everyone who hires salespeople will, at some time, search for prospects via the "help wanted" section.... {Read More}
  • Is it Time to Revise Your Sales Compensation Plan?... If you're paying your sales reps straight commission, you're using an obsolete formula. If you're paying your sales reps a straight salary, you're also using an obsolete formula. Read this article to find out a much more effective way to compensate your sales staff.... {Read More}
  • How to Deal with the Salesperson Who Has Leveled Off... Every manager has, or will, confront this troublesome issue. It's arisen in every workshop for sales managers or branch managers I've done. One or more of your salespeople has leveled off. Their performance hasn't improved much in the last few years. Where before you were able to count on significant increases each year, now you can not. You know that these experienced salespeople can do better, but they seem unable or unwilling to break out of a certain level of performance. You are scratching your head, frustrated, and loosing sleep at night wondering how to improve the situation. What do you do?... {Read More}
There are also many other action-packed articles for sales professionals that offer how-to solutions to every day sales problems that you can read online at www.davekahle.com/article.htm.
 
Dave Kahle has trained tens of thousands of B2B salespeople, sales managers and business owners to be more effective in the 21st Century economy. He's authored nine books, and presented in 47 states and seven countries. To access Dave's training, insights and tools online, visit The Sales Resource Center. Visit www.davekahle.com to check out a seminar near you.
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