A big fish can eat plenty of small fish, but plenty of small fish can devour a big fish. As a small independent dealer of power products (OPE, appliances, hardware, what have you) you are a small fish compared to the big fish, which are Big Box stores. Sorry to break it to you. But fret not, there’s proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Instead of thinking about how you, David, can defeat Goliath, the Big Box store in your area, you should be thinking about how you and the other independent dealers in your area that are like you can band together.
This might have happened to you: a regional salesman representing one of the brands you carry came to you and asked if they could circumvent an agreement you made in your contract and sell to another independent dealer in your area. Your response could have to reject their idea; Big Box is taking a bite out of your profits already, why would you want another competitor to contend with at this juncture? If this scenario sounds familiar, call that salesman up and tell them you changed your mind – they actually were delivering you your saving grace.
Can you see the logic in this argument, yet? If not, let us break it down a bit further before we build it up. You and your direct competitors sell more than just products, you sell an experience. That is what sets you apart and protects you from Big Box. When a customer steps into a Big Box store, they are intrinsically on their own. Staff members may come up to them and offer them help, but almost always they aren’t knowledgeable about the product the customer wants. On the flip-side, when a customer walks into a store like yours, they are greeted by a salesperson who knows exactly what they want and need, and can fix them up with the perfect product. Big Box stores don’t employ product experts; it doesn’t fit into their business model. That’s where cooperating with your competitors fits into the picture.
By allowing your sales representative to sell to another independent dealer in your area, you are taking customers away from Big Box. Furthermore, you are adding to the pool of satisfied customers who went too an independent dealer like your own and will tell their friends about the positive experience they had. Most likely, after, you’ll see sales jump.
All boats rise with the tide. Pull the Moon closer to your hemisphere, by granting brands permission to sell to more independent dealers in your area.