Distributors always have those customers who’ve been around since the days when they were a fledgling upstart. At one point, those old-time customers may even have been a key staple. Yet, for some reason, the situation has changed.

While the numbers might not quite add up, it would seem in such a scenario the rules should be bent in favor of the loyal customers. But that’s not the case. A conversation to explain to the loyal customer why things have changed can be helpful. Bein suggests something along the lines of saying “You’ve been a good customer, but now we have a new model. Our inside sales guy will be more available to you."

Loyalty on both sides does not hold the same weight it once did.

“Loyalty used to have more impact than today,” says Pancero. “Now, it’s related to what you have done recently to keep them happy, and if they find a distributor that is easier or better to work with, they disappear.”

Therefore, loyalty has to be continually earned.

A new model is taking shape that might also make the situation described above more palatable. Sales teams including members from all levels of the triad are taking shape and dealing with one client. With this approach, a senior rep can lead a team and offload some of the workload.

“There’s no longer the lone ranger form of sales,” says Pancero. “It’s now teams.”

Determining the best and right type of salesperson for a client can be challenging for a jan/san distributor. The decision however needs to be made through a clear and sober process, and a recognition that the level of profitability (and the potential of) must be a key factor. Whatever the level of sales service a distributor offers clients, professionals who focus on their clients and try to make their lives easier will be successful. Clients will be content and have long standing relationships with their jan/san distributor.

Larry Bernstein is a freelance writer based in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.

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Servicing A Client With Inside Reps