Let’s be honest, finding the right distributor can be one of the most frustrating and time-consuming tasks for a manufacturer. It’s true, there are many excellent distributors out there but at the same time, substandard service exists everywhere and within distribution it is no different.
As a startup, you need to pay close attention to certain factors and take time to choose trusted distributors that will deliver a level of service that will help your business grow in new markets. With this in mind, the right distributor can significantly grow your business in the target market or stall it.
But how can you find the right distributors to get your product out there?
Well, this is where research and experience comes into play.
How to Find the Right Distributor for Your Business
While the steps to finding a distributor are relatively straightforward, every situation is unique and every manufacturer requires a slightly different approach. There are four ways to find the right distributor for a startup or new business:
Attending International Trade Shows
An international trade show is one of the few occasions in which you can literally place your product in the hands of the target market. If you can afford an exhibit booth, this is highly influential and a major opportunity for branding but it’s essential that the trade show is aligned with your niche market.
At the same time, this method is the most costly and time consuming one. If you have no previous experience with the specific show it can turn out to be a complete waste of money and mostly time and resources wasted. Preparing for a show can take up to 3-4 months on average, renting the space, deciding to rent or buy a booth display, brand it to fit your company image and then comes the logistics. Shipping your products to the show and the cost of sending 2-3 sales reps, flight, hotel and food to work the booth for an average of 4-6 days show. Not forgetting that they will only be focused on the show meaning their existing clients will not receive the service they require during this time. On average this all can add up to a cost of 35,000 dollars for a 10-15 meter square booth. The ROI can then only be calculated after all the leads have been followed upon which in reality rarely happens correctly. Most distributors and retailers have already forgotten about your product a week later or they are impossible to reach. Going to trade shows can be great if you have the right skill set to turn all the efforts in successful return on investment.
As you may know, cold calling distributors around the world may seem as the most cost efficient way to reach the right distributor in your target market. Although the success rate is very small, a mere 1-3% on average. Research shows that sales people spend about 75% of their time calling on existing customers.
At the end what may seem as the cheapest way it can cost business greatly when they review the sales reps results at the end of the quarter or even the year. Spending on average 50,000 dollar on sales rep can be though for a small business if the results are missing.
Targeting the Market through Direct Mail Advertising
You will often find that Trade Associations have access to targeted mailing lists to connect you with distributors in specific markets, mostly it’s within the same country, like in the US, list of distributors in different states. If you want to grow your business in international markets you would have to find Trade Associations specifically in those countries. These mailing lists are generally a database collecting distributors name, email address and if lucky a phone number without really qualifying them. Depending on the price it can be interesting for some businesses. Direct email campaigns can be effective but it’s important to have a strategy for this advertising and not simply one email at the ready. That is to say, these campaigns are only worthwhile if you follow them up effectively.
How do you know which Distributor is right for Your business
Establishing the First Point of Contact
When you enter an agreement with any distributor, it’s important to know that you have the right person in front of you. For this reason, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for references and any information which might suggest compatibility or possible conflicts of interest.
For example, if you find a distributor who sells similar products for another manufacturer, it’s usually best to move on elsewhere. As for compatibility, some distributors are better positioned to sell within certain regions or industries and this can significantly improve your chances of success.
Ensuring Trust and Competence
Trust is imperative and one of the founding blocks of any arrangement with distributors. However, competence is also key and unfortunately, nowhere near as common. In some cases, distributors can be inaccurate or unreliable and this is usually obvious when it comes to filling orders. That being said, it’s often too late by the time you realize such incompetence and the only way to avoid this happening is to ensure that you choose a trusted and reliable distributor.
Finding a Trusted Distributor
For many manufacturers, they are simply without the time or experience to research and locate the best distributors. Trust is the most important factor in terms of finding a distributor but the truth is, not every distributor is created equal. What’s more, they might have found a number of distributors but then struggle to validate any of the above. The time and research you put into this process will often determine the quality, reliability and success of your future business.
Finding the Right Distributor for Future Success
At TradesNest we can assist your business to find a trusted distributors in over 80 countries around the world within different industries.
TradesNest offers manufacturers and distributors the right tools to connect with each other in a very time and cost efficient way. Our team of experts have created an environment where it’s easy to communicate with potential partners and quickly take your business relationship to the next level.
If you have any questions or need assistance with this process, get in touch, and we can help you find the right distributor to move your business forward!
Let’s be honest, most business owners are excited by the prospect of attending an international trade show but very few are familiar with the actual benefits involved. It’s true, trade shows are most often fun and vibrant occasions but at the same time, recent studies suggest that most businesses make little preparation for what is usually a significant investment of time, money and resources.
With this in mind, it would seem that most businesses miss out on the true potential of these trade shows and for many more, the return on investment is simply not worth the effort. That being said, every business and circumstance is different and trade shows are still highly relevant for good reason.
Let’s take a closer look what trade shows have to offer and whether the return is worth the investment:
The Fantastic Benefits of Attending International Trade Shows
International trade shows have been around a very long time and the truth is, they continue to offer some very enticing benefits to the right companies. In fact, for large corporations with significant financial power, attending these trade shows is routine and expected throughout the year.
But what’s the attraction of international trade shows?
Well, trade shows enable companies to demonstrate their products in person and gain valuable contacts with influential people in high places. That is to say, many visitors at these shows are those with buying authority and this is precisely the type of people who can make things happen.
On the other hand, international trade shows are great for up-skilling employees, checking out the competition and collecting leads with the intention of following up after the show. As if that’s not enough, having a presence at one of these shows can improve brand recognition and awareness.
But that’s just part of the story…..
Measuring Success – The Problem for Most Businesses at Trade Shows
As already mentioned, most businesses fail to set objectives for these occasions and needless to say, this drastically reduces the return on investment. Similarly, when a business fails to apply any form of measurement after these shows, there is no way for the business to know what was achieved through the experience.
In fact, recent studies have shown how 76% of exhibitors have no specific objective when attending trade shows and what’s more, 80% of these businesses perform zero target-market research prior to the show. That is to say, it’s essential for exhibitors to get into the minds and behaviors of those in attendance but it would seem that most business fail to realize the importance of this research.
Simply put, most people seem to be good at recognizing the importance of international trade shows but then oblivious in terms of how they should prepare or benefit from them. The truth is, it can take several months to prepare for a trade show and whether this relates to the number of leads gathered or gaining traction with certain companies, these objectives need to be known a long time in advance.
Moral of the story: Benefiting from an international trade show requires months of preparation and lack of return can mean that attending these trade show might not be such a good idea.
When Attending International Trade Shows Might Not Make Sense
If it’s true that trade shows are considered an investment, there needs to be an identifiable return for attending one. While there’s sure to be a degree of fun and learning involved, this investment should yield a lot more than tips and tricks or useful contacts in the same industry.
Now, that’s not to say trade shows are to be avoided but rather that depending on the circumstances, it may or may not offer enough return on investment for certain businesses. As you may know, this is also why many business owners opt to meet and interact with distributors on B2B platforms like Tradesnest the process is much faster and a infinitely less expensive!
In case you might be asking yourself, international trade shows are incredibly expensive affairs. You can spend months preparing for the event which requires time and resources but then the actual costs involved are just as significant. For example, renting a display can cost several thousand dollars and this comes before any branding or logistics. What’s more, flights, transport, hotels and staffing all come with a high price tag and when it comes to places like the United States, Germany, China, France and Dubai, the average cost of attending an international trade show is $35,000.
As you know, this is merely some of the “costs” involved but the most important calculation will come afterward. That is to say, you need to gather leads and agreements at an international trade show but then also follow these up in such a way that they provide a financial return for the business.
Attending international trade shows has its benefits and this is certainly true for large companies which have the right skill-set to achieve a sufficient return on investment. However, more than 25% of businesses feel there is no alternative to trade shows other than flying to see distributors face to face. As already mentioned, this is simply not true and while trade shows are certainly better than flying to see distributors, B2B platforms offer a much more affordable way to meet the same distributors.
Finally, there’s a stark contrast between attending an exhibition in the local area and taking time away from the business for an international trade show. After all, if you happen to find a trade show relative to your niche in the local area, it would make perfect sense to attend and see what the event has to offer. On the other hand, if the business is strapped for cash, splashing out on an international trade show is little more than an unnecessary burden.
What trade show did you have in mind? At Tradesnest, we might have a more cost-effective alternative for putting you in touch with the right people!