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Prepare to Take a Supplier On A Sales Call - 4 Tips

While there’s no set way to run the presentation, it’s imperative that the distributor and supplier work together as members of the same team and use their allotted time wisely. Preparation puts both parties on the same page.

1. Lean on Your Supplier
Don’t let your supplier’s expertise go to waste. Stackable Sensations (asi/332999) President Shari Verrone, who brings suppliers on about 80% of her calls, provides details on the client’s industry, promotional need and product wish list, and then lets the supplier pick out appropriate items from their lineup. Make sure the supplier keeps you in the loop, and always ask them to bring spec samples, says Verrone.

2. Don’t Overdo It
A deluge of products and technical details drains the end-buyer of “eye juice,” says Larry Cohen of Axis Promotions (asi/128263). “There’s a right number of items to show for them to make a decision,” he adds. “Decide on good, better and best options. Everyone has budgets, but if you educate them on the differences, money can magically appear.”

3. Nix the Script
Your established relationships with suppliers means the energy and synergies will come naturally. “If you prepare and you know the supplier well enough,” says Verrone, “the presentation will flow really well.”

4. Plan Price Discussions
It’s critical to hammer this out beforehand. Suppliers may talk cost, knowing that the client will negotiate with the distributor afterwards, says Casey Silseth of HALO Branded Solutions (asi/356000). Or there may be special pricing for particular clients. It also might not be on the agenda at all. However the distributor and supplier choose to proceed, make sure they are established well ahead of time.