Allen Simon is hopeful.
As president of Monaca, Pennsylvania- based Datatel Resources Corporation, Simon knows a lot about jumbo rolls and he is willing to assist distributors looking to find their niche in this market. The opportunities certainly exist, but there's just one problem: distributors cannot be timid. A big product requires a big attitude.
"One of the things that we're always trying to get across is that this is a legitimate business opportunity out there. In a professional manner, we just kind of like to get on the highest mountaintop and say, 'We're looking for aggressive distributors,'" Simon said.
By "aggressive" Simon means distributors need to approach a potential sale with confidence. In other words, you're not just as good as your competition—you're better.
However, the idea of going up against a major direct can be rather daunting to some distributors. Size doesn't necessarily matter, according to Simon.
"Surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly, some of our greatest sales successes and some of our largest accounts are very small distributors. They came from a large manufacturer and they have contacts at certain accounts and when the time is right, they'll go after the business with a vengeance and we'll certainly support them in a very aggressive manner," he said. "It seems like there are always reasons not to sell anything, but this is as good of a product as any to sell because it repeats. It's a relationship sell. It's a contractual sell. The business is out there—it's not like it's going away."
End-users who abide by a purchasing philosophy of only working with direct manufacturers are severely limiting their options. Quite simply, the list of available sources has depleted.
"There used to be a whole bunch. Now, there's a small handful and there's a good chance that [the] customer may have had a bad experience with one or two of them," Simon commented. "I'm not saying there aren't any, because there are some who still do [take that position]. But it's not a difficult thing to explain to a customer why they could have a lower cost dealing with the independent channel than dealing with a major direct. I'll take that challenge on every day of the week."