By February 16, 2017 Read More →

The building blocks to success: Strong relationships with distributors

Relationships are key to building any business, but good relationships are most important in situations where you are relying on someone to raise awareness, inform and sell your product to their customers. In the electricals industry, a distributor is first port of call for installers needing products and advice. Hamilton Litestat tells us why that manufacturer/distributor relationship is so key.

Medlock Harringay’s Trade Counter Manager, Eric Rose, with Hamilton Litestat’s Area Sales Representative Peter Bonnington.

Distributors are in a very powerful position as they act as the face of the brands they stock, so good relationships between an electrical solutions manufacturer and a distributor can help nurture that role into one of a brand advocate.

One company very aware of the importance of these relationships is Hamilton Litestat. Since its inception in the 1960s, Hamilton has focused on building an excellent rapport with its distributors, which it considers an extension of its own sales and support team.

It has a long-standing relationship with Medlock Electrical Distributors and has recently installed a comprehensive product display at the company’s flagship branch in Harringay, London, following this with a trade day where Area Sales Representative Peter Bonnington was on hand to talk through products and installer questions.

“Relationships are hugely important in our line of work,” says Peter. “Supporting our distributors in all their needs, providing a turnkey service and getting good communication lines open and free-flowing is something Hamilton feels very strongly about. When working with an influential distributor such as Medlock Electrical Distributors and its network of 40 branches, this is critical.”

Peter has a long-established relationship with Medlock Electrical Distributors’ Trade Counter Manager Eric Rose and it’s this that has helped result in merchandising the branch in Harringay.

Product training

“Installers need to be trained on products and a presence at the distributor is the first step to achieving this – it’s a great way to raise awareness of products and solutions,” says Eric Rose.

“An installer can spend anywhere between five minutes and a couple of hours in branch. Through this interaction we build excellent relationships with our regular installer customers, but this must be supported by manufacturers. We need to have the latest product information and support to pass on.”

It’s this key support that has helped cement the relationship between Hamilton and Medlock.

“We have a great relationship with Peter as Hamilton’s sales rep. He and Hamilton recognise the value in supplying high quality point of sale materials, including working demonstration units, that help installers to fully understand the products. The new display at Harringay includes consumer units and a working unit promoting wireless switching for external appliances, which is educating our customers on opportunities to develop their services.”

And once a customer has found the right solution in-branch, this needs to be followed up with easy-access technical support. The team at Hamilton Mere are always on hand to answer customer questions, whether that’s direct to customer or via Medlock. “It’s good to know that quality advice is just a phone call away,” explains Rose. “Our installers rely on us for advice and sometimes there are a few questions we need to ask. We know that we can go to Hamilton for this support.”

Flexible approach

Rose also feels that care, consideration and flexibility is extremely important: “I think Hamilton is fantastic because as a UK manufacturer it really cares about the products and – in the same way as Medlock – its staff are prepared to do whatever is necessary to ensure the end customer is completely happy. This sometimes means going that extra mile to bespoke a standard product to meet the customer’s exact requirements, and this is where some manufacturers fall down.”

This understanding of what the client needs and helping to deliver that is very important and is why Hamilton supplies its product in boxes of five rather than 100, allowing distributors like Medlock to stock a sensible quantity of a lot more ranges.

“Hamilton is also particularly considerate of educating our younger installers,” adds Rose.
“They are looking for smarter solutions and need to be kept up to date with product news and information. They’re online savvy but being able to see a demonstration unit in-branch and receive a free training course helps overcome concerns associated with the first-time installation of new products and solutions.”

It’s Hamilton’s quality turnkey solutions, its personal support service and its building of excellent relationships with its distributors that has given Medlock Electrical Distributors the confidence to recommend and endorse Hamilton with its customers.

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