When a building service contractor asks me for advice about a current problem he or she is facing, my response often is: “Have you talked to your distributor about this?”

Now, I’m not trying to deflect the question; it’s a genuine answer. Good distributors are willing and able to assist. They offer many helpful services — new employee training, walk-throughs for new account start-ups, industry certification classes and more — that will solve many of these challenges I’m asked about. These extra services are either offered for free as a value-add, or for a small fee.

When I explain this to BSCs they are often surprised to learn they’ve been missing out on some great resources that could really benefit their businesses. They are excited to either go and talk with their current suppliers to find out if they can take advantage of their offerings, or find new distributors who have what they need.

But remember, this is a two-way partnership. In return, the distributor is expecting you to be a good, loyal customer. Pay your bills on time and don’t switch vendors to save a nickel per case of toilet paper. Realize that prices may sometimes be higher with this distributor as a way to offset the costs of these invaluable services.

If you already have an exceptional relationship with your distributor, then please let us know. Sanitary Maintenance, a sister publication to Contracting Profits, is recognizing outstanding distributor sales representatives in its annual Top Sales Leaders program. This award gives some well-deserved attention to the leading distributor sales representatives in the industry. Nominate your deserving distributor rep at www.cleanlink.com/salesleaders by Dec. 2.