Tips for working with distributors


June 20, 2023

Photo: alazur/ iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: alazur/ iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

We asked Pest Management Professional’s columnists and editorial advisory board members share tips for working with distributors. Here are some of the experts’ responses from our June 2023 print edition.

Please take a minute to answer our latest one-question poll on this topic and let us what you’re bring to the new year: Reader poll: What’s a good tip for working with distributors?

PMP’s Editorial Advisory Board and Regular Contributors

Judy Black, BCE: “You can minimize the surprises you give your distributor by forecasting as accurately as possible, and giving your distributor a heads up if you have put in a bid on a big job that is going to require a large materials and supplies, or M&S order. They will realize you may not get the job, but they can review their inventory and decide whether they should stock up.”

Greg Baumann: “Distributor representatives know more than anyone what is trending in the area, such as what’s working and which pests are an issue at the time. Use their intel to your advantage.”

Desiree Straubinger, BCE

Desiree Straubinger, BCE

Paul Hardy: “Our industry has been blessed to have distributors serving as great assistants to pest management professionals. The keys to our success include mentorship and good products, both of which they can offer.”

Desiree Straubinger, BCE: “Many distributors offer classes for continuing education units either in person or virtually. Take advantage of these when planning for your licensing needs. Also, you can lean heavily on a distributor to help choose the right products for your services. Manufacturers work closely with distributors, so they have the most up-to-date information on products.”

Jerry Schappert, ACE: “Realize they are busy, too, and perhaps deal with just as many, if not more customers than we do. A little time and grace in your dealings will go a long way.”

Pete Schopen: “Distributors, in many instances, are the ‘gatekeepers’ between the vendors and pest pros. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your distributor to meet vendor representatives. These vendors, in turn, can supply you with training materials, speakers and samples.”

Doug Foster: “Treat them with respect; value the services they provide; and build that relationship into a partnership. My distributors are critical to the success of my business.”

Kurt Scherzinger: “Use distributors as a resource for opinions on different products. They have all the manufacturers’ products at their fingertips and if something isn’t working for you, they often can tell you what others are using that is producing results.”

Dr. Hamilton Allen

Dr. Hamilton Allen

Dr. Hamilton Allen: The key to having a good relationship is to do good business. Be honest and upfront about your needs. Most distributors are looking for creditable partners. To that end:

  1. Take advantage of training classes and training materials. The return on your investment includes key pieces of information that can enhance your business. 
  2. If you have a primary product, discus potential rebate options. 
  3. Ask questions. Distributors offer more than product sales. Discuss your business needs to determine whether your distributor has a solution specifically for your operation. 

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