Tools of the Trade
Take advantage of resources that can boost business.
What exactly it take to succeed as a print distributor? While there may not be one answer to fit all, one of the main components is the utilization of the right tools—especially in today's business environment, according to Tony Kegowicz, owner of AJOK Business Solutions, Scottsdale, Ariz.
"It's harder to gain new customers in the current economy," said Kegowicz. "Therefore, distributors need to stay ahead of the game by continuing to build their customer base rather than relying on the one they've got."
To do so, Kegowicz suggested making full use of basic bro-chures and literature detailing a distributorship's information, including product categories and services. These tools keep current and prospective clients up to date with a distributorship's position within the marketplace and tend to be very effective when used as personalized direct mail, he added.
"However, getting this information out serves as only a preliminary tool," noted Kegowicz. "The mailing should be followed up by a personal phone call."
It is also key to recognize that clients are trying to keep inventories down and cash flow up. In order to manage this effectively, Kegowicz suggested implementing suitable and affordable document management software. In addition, distributors can simply e-mail customers on a periodic basis to make them aware of where they may stand in terms of stock on various products.
E-mail can also be used to evaluate clients' usage rates and overall ordering history to determine when they are ready for their next orders. Taking advantage of an automatic e-mail notifier, which reminds clients to place new orders with a certain amount of lead time, is also very helpful. "E-mail seems like such a simple tool, yet it is something that may evade even some of the most savvy distributors," said Kegowicz.