Increasing Value Part 2: How Distributors and Suppliers Can Help One Another


Be sure to check out part 1 of this blog series: 6 Easy Ways to Add Value as a Promotional Consultant.

At Promo Kitchen, we always aim to facilitate better connections between Suppliers and Distributors. When both sides have a better understanding of the other’s perspective, we all work more effectively to create great experiences for each other, and for end-user clients. We all play on the same team together to grow business and deliver results!

“Company values are important denominators for a fruitful & respectful partnership - regardless of industries & positions within a supply-chain.” – Kathy Cheng, Redwood Classics

In the interest of growth and improvement, we asked suppliers and distributors to share what they find most valuable in their partnerships and to list ways their industry partners can improve the working relationship.

What Distributors Value from Suppliers:

  • Accurate inventory
  • Free virtual proofs and spec samples
  • Innovative decorating techniques
  • Troubleshooting
  • Great case studies with products in use
  • Prompt response to requests for pricing, inventory checks, and samples
  • When suppliers get in the trenches as a collaborator and assistant account manager to help secure new clients
  • Fast, easy buying process
  • High-quality unique products at fair prices
  • Proactive sales tools
  • Marketing support
  • Eliminating red tape 
  • Being proactive vs reactive
  • Flexible decorations and packaging services
  • Understanding that they are partners and not just vendors
  • Collaborative attitudes
  • Video and end-user friendly images for social media
  • Reps that take time to know my clients
  • Custom packaging and new ways for decoration
  • Having a specific individual that service an account
  • When we know our work is a priority to them
  • Most importantly when things are not perfect,  they are with us to make it right

What Suppliers Value from Distributors:

  • When distributor partners get us involved from the initial creative brief stage
  • Candid and open transparency from distributors makes it easy for us to be relevant and provide as much value as possible
  • Distributor feedback on we have done well, and where we can improve - this helps us know what’s most important to you
  • When distributors are proactive seeking opportunities months in advance
  • Be more open about their business - don’t be afraid to share end user details such as the event date and website, the client's goal, their target audience, and any challenges the distributor is trying to help solve. That allows us to dig in with specific suggestions and use cases to help the distributor create a more relevant, personalized proposal for their prospect. 
  • We don’t want to steal their business nor share their information with others maliciously. When distributors withhold details with us, it is harder to provide the best service we want to provide.
  • Share specific experiences! We love to hear the wins and the losses and it helps us to know where we can expand our services.
  • Include us in your projects at the beginning so that we can help brainstorm the best product(s) for your customers. Many times, the end user thinks they know exactly what they want for an event or a program. Often, they change their mind or add items to their project when they are shown multiple options. We know our lines the best, so give us a chance to help sell it at the beginning. It could lead to a wonderful story!

“To add value, companies need to understand their own core competence and then develop or enhance relationships with other companies, vendors, employees, trade associations and many others that can help them be better. Having true partnerships is what adds value.  No one can do it alone, especially in this industry. Suppliers need distributors and vice-a-versa. The complementary nature of all parties working together in harmony adds value to the end-buyer. The partnerships between all invested parties within the process ultimately determine the perceived value...what will succeed versus what will fail,” says Tim Brown with Quality Certification Alliance (QCA).