Selecting a Distribution Strategy that Works (Part III)

Last week, Marka and the FEI tribe discussed the advantages of retail and wholesale distribution methods. This week, they talk about why businesses should consider selling their products through online channels as well. Remember, fire = print.

Marka, Numo, Org and Lucy found Zoot standing outside the Coliseum, trying to sell matches to people in line for tonight’s “Thor” concert.

“I admire your entrepreneurial verve, Zoot,” Org said, “but why these people?”

“We did talk about selling on line, right?” Zoot asked.

“Ugh!” Marka exclaimed.

“Worst joke ever,” Numo agreed.

The ever-focused Lucy directed the conversation back to the topic of O-line distribution. “Distribution success starts with ensuring that FEI’s products are available wherever potential buyers are looking for them,” she pointed out. “And for many Olympians, the O-web is the first place they look when searching for many goods and services. Chariot race tickets, wine, imported grapes from Sicily…”

“Custom togas,” Zoot added. “It’s all available O-line.”

“Not every FEI product is a fit to sell O-line,” Org objected. “With our more complicated products, direct attention from a sales or customer service person will often be needed to answer the prospect’s questions, reassure them and nudge them toward a sale.”

“Take our fire-lighting service for factories,” Zoot interjected. “A factory owner buying a multifaceted service like this wants to know exactly what he’s getting, how it will be implemented, any potential risks involved, etc. Many of these owners will need to be walked through the buying process before they feel comfortable pulling the trigger.”

“On the other hand, most Olympians will be comfortable buying some of our products—matches, for example—over the O-web,” Marka said. “Matches are a simple, straightforward product; what you see is essentially what you get. The customer usually won’t require as much explanation or salesperson hand-holding. In these cases, the O-web can provide our customers with an expedient, convenient way to obtain the fire products they need.”

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or tj@tjtedesco.com.
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