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Old 12-09-2004, 11:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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DISTRIBUTOR PROS & CONS



A Good Distributor ~ Value/Support/Education

☼ A good distributor support their salons with great customer service. This is the first and foremost. There are many facets to good customer service which may include:

§ Knowledgeable sales staff. Understanding the industry as well as the products they carry.

§ Ease in ordering. Several ways to order to suit salon owner’s needs.

§ Product education. Seminars or trainings focused on sales skills and products. This is especially helpful for new salons.

§ Trainer on staff. Some states require tanning operator certification, but even those that don’t should offer certification courses.

§ Quick turnaround. Same-day shipping if possible. There is no excuse for orders to take 3 days to process before shipment.

§ Access to ask questions. A distributor that doesn’t have time to answer questions for salons regardless of whether they are ordering or not is unacceptable. New salons especially need someone to go to for support.

§ Assistance in grand openings, anniversary specials, or other promotions. Whether it’s contacting manufacturers on behalf of the salon or sending products themselves; a good distributor will support a salon.

§ Offering reports for co-op or spiff promotions. This is half the battle in preparing forms for reimbursement.

☼ A good distributor passes all pass-thru specials on to salons and works on behalf of the salon to get them the most value for their hard-earned money. Value is often confused with discounts. Sometimes the cheapest price is not the most value for a salon owner.

☼ A good distributor doesn’t hound salons day and night. Phone calls are a good way to inform salons of a current special or just to touch base, but incessant phone calls berating a salon into buying certain products is unnecessary, and ultimately rude.

☼ A good distributor keeps stock on hand to cover current needs. Manufacturer backorders are out of the control of a distributor, but the distributor should make every effort to keep products stocked.

☼ A good distributor should offer a variety of products. Several lotion lines as well as supplies, cleaners, and promotional items.

☼ A good equipment distributor should offer service as well as the equipment. If a distributor disappears after the sale; this is a definite sign of a poor distributor.

☼ A good distributor offers product information in a variety of formats; such as a catalog, website, or flyers. The distributor should be as knowledgeable about products or equipment as the manufacturer.

☼ A good lamp distributor is concerned with compatibilities and doesn’t try to trick a salon into buying lamps that are not compatible with the equipment they are using. All lamps are not created equally.

☼ A good distributor makes every effort to see that all products are being sold in legitimate tanning salons. Someone will always be trying, but stopping it once you are aware is the key.

☼ A good distributor will make every effort to make a situation right. Distributions are made of humans that make mistakes. The key is making these mistakes right that proves the integrity of a distributor.



A Poor Distributor ~ Tries to get as much as possible on one sale; regardless if it’s in the best interest of the salon:

☼ A poor distributor lacks good customer service. This may include:

§ They staff with ‘order-takers’ and telemarketers rather than highly trained customer service staff. This is essential for the salon owner as new technologies and ingredients must be explained for the salon owner to make informed decisions on what products they wish to carry. Salon owners should be armed with as much information as possible to choose what is in the best interest of their salon.

§ They telemarket incessantly to salons trying to push whatever products they are overstocked on.

§ They don’t offer numerous ways to order such as by email or internet.

§ They are too ‘busy’ to answer day-to-day questions unless of course the question is asked while placing an order.

§ They don’t offer multiple ways to pay for their products. Salons all work in different ways; and distributors should be open to this.

§ They treat clients as single-orders. Rather than suggesting what is best for the salon, which may be a $200 order, they push the salon into buying too much product. They try to convince the salon owner that overstocking is necessary. This leads to the salon being stuck with product that doesn’t sell for months. This shows a gross lack of respect for what is in the best interest of a salon.

§ They convince salons into buying a lot of higher priced merchandise that will sit on their shelves for long periods of time while the salon is constantly re-ordering products that are moving.

§ They don’t offer product training, certification, or other forms of training to salons. Again, staff that understands products can sell more products.

§ They don’t offer same-day shipping.

§ They don’t assist in grand openings or other promotions. They tell you to call the manufacturers yourself.

§ They don’t offer reports for co-op or spiffs and rather let the salon owner keep track of all their invoices. This, in itself, can be an additional part-time job for the salon owner.

§ They don’t offer a website or catalog or other forms of product information.

☼ A poor distributor tries to avoid passing through any manufacturer specials.

☼ A poor distributor sells on price alone. Many salon owners understand the value as opposed to price; and in the end will be upset at the quality of product they got.

☼ A poor distributor fails to listen to clients needs; and tries to push their own philosophies and beliefs onto the salon. What works for one salon may not work for another. Distributors who fail to meet these core needs will soon be replaced by a distributor who does.

☼ A poor distributor looks the other way when they know products are being diverted because they want to make the sale. This is a double-edged sword as eventually it will catch up to them and their clients will feel stabbed in the back.

☼ A poor distributor fails to support the industry as a whole. Understanding the entire industry rather than just what’s in their own four walls is necessary for the distributor to assist the salon to the best of their ability.

A poor distributor treats customers as an account number, not a real person with real thoughts, ideas, and feelings.
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Old 12-09-2004, 11:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Thanks Tanu01. You described my company well as a "good" distributor. We follow every good and honest practice there is. From sales, to support and service. We always go the "extra" mile to make the salon owner happy.
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Old 12-09-2004, 11:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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That is the way it should be......Too bad its not in real life though, not for some out there that are just looking to make a quick buck off ya.
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Old 12-09-2004, 11:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I'll sell you the booth, but I wil always back up the sale. I hate those that take advantage of you. Been burnt too many times. I refuse to be be that way.

My dad was a salesman in the years ago when they really came to yur shop and talked to you. I learned the value of truth in sales and service. If I didn't believe in what I sell, I would not do it.
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Old 12-09-2004, 11:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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I like this post, but here are a few things that I question:
1. Salon owners should be rewarded for bigger purchases ( old phrase the more you buy the less you spend ).
2. Distributers should not have to sell the products for a salon owner; the salon owner should be informed enough and be a good enough sales person to sell a higher priced product.
3. A dist. should not have to set up the programs, the salon owner should already have a game plan.
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Old 12-09-2004, 03:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Koolrays, Much if not all that I have stated is true. The only thing thats really a varible,is shipping if buying from
someone to far away just to save 5%
Bob
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Old 12-09-2004, 03:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Bob,
I was talking about the low distributors that solicite you by phone to buy cases of stuff you never heard of.... Not you or anyone I buy from now....
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Old 12-09-2004, 03:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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What totally shocks me is that after all these years these dumb a.. still call and try to sell me !
Bob
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Old 12-09-2004, 03:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You cannot get them off the phone, and then they are like, well let me check with my mgr and see if you can do something for you??? HELLOOOOOOOOO, I am not interested, and then they finally hang up in my ear.
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Old 12-10-2004, 09:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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OTM, if not from the disty then who are saon owners going to get training on new (and old)products to sell? Sure it is our job to sell the pricey stuff but we have to be knowledgable about the product first!

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