The role of the locksmith distributor has changed greatly in the last 30-plus years, since I entered the locksmith trade in the late 1960s. Back then, most locksmith distributors were mainly interested in doing local and regional business. When I or a local locksmith would call an order in to...
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Drop Shipments ? Will they drop ship from a manufacturer? Many special orders or large orders can be arranged to be drop shipped, getting the order to you quicker.
Returns ? When an item needs to be returned, what are the rules? Most returns are acceptable if they are in re-sellable condition. They must be in the original (unmarked) packaging, in the original condition they were received. Special order and some electrical components may not be returnable or the manufacturer may require a restock charge on a non-stock item. Get the specifics from the locksmith distributor.
Ordering ? When you place an order by phone, is it handled correctly? Does the distributor give an extra discount for faxed orders? If they have an online ordering program, is it easy to use?
Order Variations ? When you order six of an item they appear to have it in stock, but when your order is pulled, they only have four, that?s a variation. Do they call to let you know? Did they offer you an alternate product or shipping location? If there is a shortage or mistake on your order, how is it handled?
Discounts ? Generally, the more you buy, the better discount you get. Does your distributor have you on a buying program? If you promise to give them more business, can you get a better discount? To find out the answers, get in touch with a sales rep.
Freight ? Freight charges usually are tied to sales volume. You might be able to get reduced or free freight with a large order, or get free freight from a local warehouse by meeting the buying level requirements for a given distributor. Speak to your sales rep.
Educational Classes ? Does your distributor offer training seminars and educational classes on a regular basis? Do they offer trade shows to bring you in contact with the newest products and give you a chance to meet and talk to the manufacturer?s representatives? Trade shows are also a great place to get the latest catalogs and brochures from dozens of manufacturers.
Organization Involvement ? Does your distributor show up at to support your local locksmith organization? Do they pay an associate membership fee to belong to the group? Do they donate door prizes and offer to present informative programs?
By doing some research and asking questions, you can find out if your distributor is doing all it can for you. If you have problems with your distributor, communicate the details to them and give them a chance to correct the problems. If you don?t get satisfaction, consider looking elsewhere.
Another way to find a good distributor is to discuss it with your colleagues. Some locksmiths have loyalty to a specific distributor for personal reasons. Other will base their choice strictly on business matters. When you find a good distributor, they should do whatever they can to keep you satisfied and happy. After all, you are their customer. You already know when you have a satisfied customer, they?ll tell others. A distributor works the same way. Happy hunting!
ASP is offering incentives for distributors that stock its most popular items.
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