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10 Questions for Every Distributor Interview

By: Greg Seminara, Export Solutions
Topics: 10 Questions for Every Distributor Interview

1. Company History  How long have you been in business ? Who are the owners ?
How many direct, "payrolled" employees do you have? Approximate annual sales volume ?

2.   Company Brand Portfolio  What are your top 10 companies/brands represented ? For which channels do you represent each brand ? How long have you represented each  brand ? Can you provide senior level references at each "brand owner" ?

3. Key Account Buyers Who is the buyer for our category at the largest retailers in your market ? What other brands do you sell to our buyer ? How frequently do you visit with the customer ?

4. New Product Launch Success Story Provide a recent example of a new brand launch success story. Key retailer acceptance ? Cost of entry ? How long did it take ? Key elements of the success strategy?

5. Creative Selling Provide an example where you took an assigned marketing/brand support budget and created a successful local program. How do you measure success ?

6. Retail Servicing How many full time employees do you have visiting retail stores ? Are they located countrywide or just in the capital city ? How do you measure a "good store" in terms of brand presence versus a "bad store" ? Describe your retail reporting system .

7. People Who would be our point of first contact ? Would our contact also “Sell” our brands to major accounts? What other brands is our contact responsible for ?
How do we insure that we get our fair share of attention from your sales force ?

8. Business Planning Model What would your action plan be if we made an agreement to start with your company ? First steps ? 90 Day Plan  ? Reporting ?

9. Cost to Serve How do you model your distributor margin ? Range of margin for our brands ? Are you open to promotional spending split( 50/50 ?)

10. Enthusiasm for our Company Why is our brand a good match for your company ?
Why are you the best partner in the market for our brand ?
What commitment are you willing to make ?