Here is something that I find to be both ironic and true. We all want to be special. More specifically, we want to be made to feel special as customers. We want to be appreciated. And let’s face it, when we are in a jam, we want to be special enough that we can call in a favor.
This is certainly true of distributors in the promo and marketing space.
In our industry model, suppliers sell to distributors. Then distributors sell to the end-user of the branded merchandise. While there are exceptions to this model…the vast majority of companies follow this design. And as a distributor in this space, I can tell you for sure, we all want special treatment when we are in a jam. (To be fair, this usually means the customer is in a jam and we want to serve them).
But here’s the tricky thing. We can’t all be special.
As much as we would love to believe that (as Ron Burgandy would say) we are “kind of a big deal,” we can’t all be. There are just too many customers for everyone to be a top priority. You might not like to hear it…but it’s true. Sorry…this is one of those “life’s not fair” moments.
So if we know that we call can’t get special treatment, it begs a simple question.
What have I done to earn special treatment?
That’s right. What have I done to earn it? How have I stood out in the minds of my suppliers? What have I done to provide them value? Do they even know my name…and more specifically for a GOOD reason? While doing lots of business with a vendor is one way to earn attention, there are plenty of others.
I learned this lesson years ago from an industry veteran salesperson named John Helder. We were together at a trade show and both of us had finished walking the show floor. I was excited to be done and ready to head to the bar. But John wasn’t done. He turned around and was headed back to walk the show again.
I asked him, “What are you doing?”
He told me, “I am going back to walk the floor again and talk to the suppliers.”
When I asked him “why,” he said, “Because someday I am going to need a favor…and I want them to remember my name.”
That statement was so profound that it got me to delay my trip to the bar. I walked around with him…because I wanted them to remember my name too.
We all want to stand out in the minds of our customers. But what about your suppliers? We all want special treatment…but what are you doing to earn it?
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