If you believe that your distributors want your head at all costs, imposing their sales strategies and not caring about your needs, in this article I will tell you the trick to (re)take control of your sales (…and be pardoned).
But who will this Mastro Titta ever be?
Mastro Titta, nicknamed the Executioner of Rome, known as Giovanni Battista Bugatti, was a famous executor of death sentences of the Papal State.
Even today he is a central figure in the legends of the Eternal City.
In almost seventy years of activity, Mastro Titta takes part in 516 executions!
To make him so famous, in addition to the incredible number of executions, are some quotations of the character and the scenes of the time offered both by Lord Byron and by the English writer Charles Dickens that bring his macabre fame beyond the Italian borders.
It is said that the executioner carried out the death sentences with great expertise, but without involvement.
He is described as a kind man, with a plump and serene face, but this, however, which makes him more different from all others, is his characteristic of offering the convicts a glass of wine or a “pinch” of tobacco before cutting off his head…
But does the gruesome story of the Hangman of Rome have to do with the relationship between you and your retailers?
Let’s first jump a few centuries, and get to the present day.
If you are also in the world of retail distribution, either because you have a company that produces goods and puts them on the market through retailers, or because you work for one of these companies, you almost certainly have two problems to solve.
The first is to find qualified distributors who can effectively sell your products.
The second one is to ensure that your product is properly “pushed” into the stores.
The situation becomes much more complicated if you rely on large-scale organized or specialized distribution.
A nice dilemma, but let’s go step by step.
The choice of the distribution channel for a company that produces consumer goods is always a delicate issue.
On one hand there is the need to use sales channels that allow the company an adequate sales regime in terms of volumes, on the other one the need to sell its products with the programmed margins.
The two requirements are not always fully achievable, since, depending on the case, there are factors that considerably change the balance play.
The choice to use the channels offered by large-scale distribution offers the advantage that, given the complex and advanced organizational structure of the players involved, sales volumes easily reach the desired levels. So at least in theory.
On the other hand, the enormous bargaining power now held by these groups, the vastness of competing references that are present within the store, and the impossibility of having a direct dialogue with consumers, makes this choice a real ordeal for companies.
I well understand the sense of deep frustration that comes from being treated as the last wheel of the wagon, sometimes forced to undergo arbitrary and not agreed contractual conditions.
Instead, opting for a more “controllable” distribution, such as selling through small chains or specialized individuals, highlights other aspects, almost contrary of those mentioned above.
The most significant is certainly the poor ability of the retailer to adopt effective strategies and activities to increase the sale of its products.
However, whatever channel you have chosen, one thing is obvious: your company has no chance of controlling the most important phase of a product cycle, or rather, the sales to the final consumer.
In fact, it does not matter that, direct sales, those to retailers ( sell-in) give good results, if then the product is not purchased by the end customer.
To use an expression of a toy-making client of mine, referring to the fact that he concentrates a lot on the sell-in and very little on the sell-out, “if you think about it this way, you risk getting really bad!”.
However, there are different ways to increase sales within a store, be it a large supermarket, or a small shop.
Notwithstanding the importance of the store layout, the arrangement and rotation of references within the lanes and the presence of specialized professional figures such as category managers, the most powerful and effective tools are those of Visual Merchandising.
In fact, manufacturers have always used this kind of tools, in particular displays for shops, to increase sales and support promotions at their retailers.
I imagine that even in your company you make use of these materials, and if so, you are really on the right track.
But if the intention is commendable in itself, often the real application is really a disaster and instead of improving the situation, it is the cause of enormous problems.
In fact, without going into details of the strategic importance in choosing the most appropriate display (further on you will find the link to watch the video in which I talk about it), often we don’t take into account the fact that this tool will be a “guest” at home of others, that is the stores of your dealers.
For a moment try to imagine what would happen if you sent your son to the home of a school friend of him, badly dressed, dirty and rude.
Obviously I know that it is not so, it is just an example.
Do you think the parents of your child’s friend who would be happy to have him at home? Do you think they will still invite him willingly? Probably yes, but only for other reasons, namely to please their child. But if they would be happy to do it, I don’t think so.
Here, for a retailer, large or small, it’s the same thing.
If you send him materials that crumble after a week, which collapse causing damage and disarray among customers or displays that are impossible to keep clean, bulky to store, heavy to move and difficult to assemble, then don’t be surprised if your distributors are transformed into our “friend” Mastro Titta.
Probably they will keep you the same, to make a few customers happy, as would the parents of your child’s friend. But they really can’t wait to take you out.
Retailers are not ugly and bad, they only do their jobs, and if you facilitate them in their work, they can only welcome you with open arms.
Luckily there is a way to prevent this from happening, and instead of being an uncomfortable presence, it allows you to become a strategic supplier, one of those to have at all costs.
It is the “More Sales with No Hassles” System.
Imagine that you have a company whose products cannot be missing from the stores of your dealers.
And all this happens because your products are of the highest quality and presented in an excellent way.
But above all they do not create problems for the staff or the customers, and moreover they also give value to the rest of the store.
Here is what happened to one of my clients, when he started using the displays of the “More Sales with No Hassles” System:
“Before getting to know Polypro we used wooden or metal displays, but they were very heavy and not very convenient.
The cardboard ones were not strong enough and had to be replaced often, therefore not convenient in therms of costs.
The solution proposed by Polypro proved to be ideal: resistant, innovative and easy to assemble.
Moreover it is very elegant and economically very advantageous.
Retailers who came from a nightmare experience with other displays are now very available and want to showcase our products.”
So if you have decided to help your retailers increase sales of your products, without having to resort to below-cost promotions to get them accepted in their channels, it’s good that you provide them with the best tools to boost sales.
If you care about the growth of your company and of your profession, this little tip will allow you to sleep peacefully and grow your business and sales as you have always wanted.
And if you want to learn more and find out what are the 3 errors you can NO longer commit to retail distribution of your products,then I invite you to watch this video.
You will find the answer to the million dollar question:
“How can I persuade consumers to buy my products instead of those of the competition, without running the risk of wasting my money?”.
Thank you for your time and I wish you a good vision.
Sell & Succeed