Don’t Let Success Breed Failure!

How is it possible for the top salesperson to hold back the growth of an established distributor?

It is important to gases and welding manufacturers that distributors drive hard to penetrate the entire account and always act as a pioneer in the market.. Good distributors are the key to success in the industrial market for many manufacturers. Distributors offer what manufacturers can not, bundled products, face to face relationships, and local service.

While manufacturers’ success may lie in distributors’ hands, so may failure, if products are not given their day in the sun or we rest on our laurels. The other guy’s success may be at your peril if you stop practicing factors for continued success.

Below are five key factors for continued success.

Always Work to Expand the “Trap Line”
It is human nature to find a path to success and continue to walk that path. The successful salesperson continues to expand his/her trap line beyond his pet accounts and to greater depths within his key accounts. How often do you call on an account without knowing what the business across or down the street might have to offer?

Never Stay in your Comfort Zone
One of the greatest attributes in American business is our mobility and ability to easily cross state lines to conduct business. For this reason, key people are always changing. The only way to protect your territory within an account is to acknowledge that every person within an account is a potential influence on the sale, from the receptionist to the receiving clerk.

Remember, Product Demonstrations Sell Products
It is very easy to stop selling to our friends and turn visits into discussions about the latest game or family business. Even our best known customers want to physically see the latest and greatest. When recently asking a salesperson, “To what do you owe your success in selling our new product?” He said, “I take the product with me, I show its features, and everyone wants to buy it.” It is difficult to beat a good product demonstration.

Continue to Solve Customer Problems
If we stop seeking out and solving our customers’ problems, our competitors will. How do we seek out the problems? If we solve problems before they occur, we are ahead of the curve. For example, OSHA says, “Aisles and passageways shall be kept clear and in good repair, with no obstruction across or in aisles that could create a hazard.”

According to OSHA statistics, slips, trips and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents. They cause 15percent of all accidental deaths and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities. The OSHA standards for walking and working surfaces apply to all permanent places of employment, except where only domestic, mining, or agricultural work is performed. (

Our primary job is to help the customer, make their job easier, and protect their interests. Customers always have time to be helped if we offer real solutions.

Never Leave a Crack in the Door for your Competitor’s Foot
Often times, we get satisfied with the business we have and overlook the rest. How often have we worked a new account with the “old foot in the door” approach? Any opening we leave may be the foot in the door for our competitor. Some small products may be the easiest sale a distributor salesperson can make. Many salespeople concentrate on big-ticket items that often have a long sales cycle and require much service after the sale. The best service you can offer your customer may be on the gases and welding products that are not thought of daily.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
65a_larkinrex Meet the Author
Rex H. Larkin is marketing manager for Reelcraft Industries Inc. in Columbia City, Indiana.