Have you ever thought about teaming up with a supplier who can provide the missing piece needed to complete a sale? Most distributors call on suppliers to provide printing expertise for clients that need technical details, but what about working with suppliers in advance of a sale?
Think about the different types of products you sell. If you have suppliers in these product groups you work with frequently, you may have in-vested the time necessary to probe a particular product in depth. In return, you might explain your sales process to help the supplier understand your concerns.
Now take the process a step further. Initiate an extended "give-and-take" session with a supplier. Expose some of the problems you face on a daily basis. Learn what the supplier needs to make products more attractive. Make the effort to lear each other's business goals. Are there ways to better handle your transactions? Is there a new product the supplier could provide given a guaranteed quantity? Is there an opportunity for mutual investment in a joint venture?
If this proposal interests you, think about opportunity. If you plan to attend the industry show in Las Vegas, why not arrange to arrive a day early to conduct a meeting? That way you can minimize your time out of office.
At the very least, you will come out of this process with a new evaluation of your relationship with one of your suppliers. At best, you will find new opportunities to work together for a better bottom line.