Never waste jealousy on a real man: it is the imaginary man that supplants us all in the long run. ~George Bernard Shaw
As of late, I have run into a tremendous amount of distrust amongst distributors. Since I am no longer a distributor, I have really been seeing it through different eyes. Perhaps naively, I put together a company that wasn't too closely linked to just one distributor, but instead diversified among a handful of superior companies. I assumed that when it came to the issue of reps seeing me on the streets with their competitors, it wouldn't be a big deal. In some cases I was right, but in many cases I was wrong. Without really getting into the gory details, I'll just say that as I am having increased success, my distributors are wondering which distributor my priorities are with. The reality is, my priority is with my winery clients. But I definitely give attention to the companies that reply to emails and phone calls. There's plenty of me to go around, just utilize me! I don't prefer one distributor over another. They are all my partners, and I sincerely want them all to succeed.
This all may speak to a deeper issue. One that isn't discussed very often. The real competitiveness of many distributors. As times have gotten tougher, I see distributors fighting each other more and more. I see maneuvering, and dirty tricks more than ever. Maybe I'm a "great society" type that says that if distributors put together great portfolios, strong training, are honest and help accountable, then attrition will take care of everything. This is all of a sudden, a very cutthroat industry at an equally cutthroat time. Everyone just needs to chill out a bit. The reality check should be that you aren't competing for just one placement. Buyers will stock their stores with as many items that a) make sense b) you give great presentations to c) fit what they need at that price. Notice how those 3 factors do not include your competitors. The truth is, you are the biggest variable, you can't worry about your competitor if you're not taking care of your other business. It's like being competitive with the weather.