Friday, July 10, 2009

Saelig Secrets Pt II

  1. Understand the Importance of Good Technical Support. The ability for a distributor to accurately answer the most commonly asked technical questions about products, both before and after the sale, is vital to successful electronics distribution, as well as essential for good customer service and customer retention. In-depth technical questions often are best deferred to the supplier for handling, though a distributor’s initial advice can be the key to generating sales.
  2. Get a Handle on Shipping/Customs. It is also essential to have a thorough understanding of the costs and procedures associated with shipping and customs handling, so that customer deliveries may be accurately quoted, and so that products are certain to reach their intended destination as seamlessly as possible. This may involve extra paperwork, forms, and evaluating alternative shipping and freight forwarding options.
  3. Know That Success May Also Bring Failure. An electronic components distributor is often faced with the fact that if a Sales and Marketing job is done “too well” and generates record sales, a supplier will see real local market opportunity and will often terminate a distribution contract, in favor of going direct. This common industry occurrence can sometimes be perceived as a negative, when actually, it is a proverbial ‘feather in the cap’ of any successful distributor, as it illustrates marketplace effectiveness to other prospective supplier partners.
  4. Continuously Evaluate Process Efficiencies. Tools and processes for doing business are ever-changing, with new technologies and process efficiencies. Distributors need to be willing and able to continuously evaluate in-house activities for inefficiencies, operational improvements, product/supplier performance and customer feedback. Any overall change in the global economy requires careful assessment and balancing of resources.
  5. Balance Risk with Reward. Balancing risk with reward is a constant challenge for distributors. Judging which and how many products to stock, in order to be most profitable, can be a tricky process, with some inevitable guesswork. One method can be making decisions based upon recent stock turnover, as well as anticipation of known future preordered deliveries. Another method can be making initial determinations based upon supplier recommendations –though, in the case of a new product within a given market, this method may bring more risk than reward.
  6. Have Commitment to Unwavering Ethics/Integrity. A successful electronic components distributor is committed to doing what is right, even when it does not seem to be profitable, expedient, easy, or conventional. As recorded in Proverbs 22:1 of the Bible, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” There have been times when a supplier may refuse to take back product, which a customer has deemed faulty, and a distributor must lose money in the refund, a small price to pay for protecting their good reputation. There are also examples where customers may return product deemed to be faulty, for which analysis revealed customer misuse as the concluded cause of failure. In those instances, successful distributors take the standpoint of “the customer is always right”, and return the product for a refund, though inevitably, the distributor has again lost money –though not its reputation. Typically, few customers abuse such return policies. With unwavering ethics and integrity, a distributor can do what is best for the customer, knowing that in doing so, it has stayed true to its core values – which, ultimately, will form the cornerstone for growth and success.

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