Here’s a question for you… are you doing what your wholesale customers expect of you?
One of the best ways to ensure that you are satisfying your wholesale customer’s needs is to keep yourself in line with their expectations.
What exactly do I mean by that?
Specifically for wholesale customers, they have certain expectations and needs that, if they aren’t met, could mean they lose trust or confidence in your company to deliver.
Let’s do a quick exercise:
Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and imagine that you are the one buying some goods at wholesale from a company just like yours.
Wouldn’t you like to know that the company is:
- Still around next the time you want to order?
- Competitive pricing-wise?
- And solid process-wise?
For me, if I was a company that was looking to buy goods at wholesale, these things would be at the forefront of my mind. I would be consciously or unconsciously checking them off before doing business.
So in order for you, the store owner that is selling to wholesale customers to deliver on those expectations, you will need to know exactly what your customers are expecting of you so you can meet those needs.
In this article, I will talk about 6 key expectations that wholesale customers expect out of their wholesale relationship with you.
Of course, your wholesale customers might have more or fewer expectations of you. But these are 6 patterns that I have observed having served the industry for a number of years and watching the best of the best go about their business.
1. Being treated as a high-value client
First and foremost, you need to treat your wholesale clients as high-value to your business.
It doesn’t matter what size they are exactly in relation to your other wholesale clients, what matters is they are different from regular retail customers.
The expectation is that this status comes with certain privileges and the feeling of being highly valued by you and your staff.
2. Respecting their time
Once you’re past the initial getting to know you phase and your wholesale customer is familiar with what you do and how you do it, you’ll want to ensure they can get in, get what they want and get out in an efficient manner.
These are busy business people with their own concerns. They don’t want to be held up for hours just trying to place an order with you.
Ensure you have a quick order form for your store and the process is free from complications.
If you can remove steps such as needless back and forth, do it. You’ll receive more orders more frequently in response just because it will be an unusually painless experience that will separate you from their other suppliers.
3. Straightforward and easy to understand pricing
One common mistake I see companies making in the wholesale space is overcomplicating their pricing models for wholesale.
It’s a temptation that makes for awkward explanations and very little other benefits.
Here are two benefits in favor of simplifying your pricing:
You will save yourself bucket loads of administration and management time
An overly complicated pricing model might seem like it’s necessary but it rarely is.
Putting in place something that is hard to manage means you will need to spend more hours managing it.
It’s simple logic.
The harder it is to set up the more time you’ll have to spend attending to it and managing it in the future.
This time could be better spent recruiting more wholesale customers.
Your customers will understand it better
Here’s the ultimate test: try to explain the pricing model you’re thinking of implementing or have implemented to someone outside of your company.
If they’re having trouble understanding it, you’ve overcomplicated it.
I live by a simple rule: if one person finds something hard to understand, there are probably 10 others who feel the same but just aren’t saying so.
You don’t want your wholesale customers to think there is anything difficult about your relationship.
If your pricing is hard to explain, then you need to change that or you’ll be at risk of losing any new wholesale customers you worked so hard to recruit.
4. Progress and feedback
In any great relationship, communication is key.
Giving your wholesale customers progress reports on their orders, tracking on shipments, a heads up if something is delayed, information about products they might not know and more will give them confidence that you have their best interest and success at heart.
It’s very hard to “over-communicate” when it comes to things like this because your customers are not mind readers.
All they see is your product list and the ordering screen and they’re trusting that when they hit the button and give you their order and their money they’re going to get a certain level of service and their good are going to get there in one piece.
5. Fast support when things go wrong
When something goes wrong, and something will go wrong at some point (Murphy’s Law), you should be prepared to give fast excellent support.
Nothing can sour a relationship as quickly as a bad support experience when something is going wrong.
Here are some steps for you to follow in these situations:
- Admit fault, own the problem and apologize
- Communicate regularly even if it’s just to update them on the situation if it’s not fully solved
- Solve it as quickly as you can
- If you can’t solve it, get the people involved who can solve it as quickly as possible
- Make sure you solve all of their issues
- Ensure they’re happy and apologize again
If you follow this process you’ll be OK.
6. Proactive recommendations and marketing support
Lastly, being proactive with your wholesale customers is a great way to get them to order more. Their success is your success.
Can you give them any recommendations or marketing support around selling your products?
- Give them a listing on your site as an authorized dealer/reseller
- Provide pre-written content
- Physical display stands
- Recommendations about how to display your products effectively
- Training information for their staff
- Product knowledge workshops
- PR help within your network
- Free samples
- Special offers for their particular audience
These are just some ideas that spring to mind. For your particular products, you might have many more ideas about how you could help your wholesale customers with their marketing of your products.
Remember the more that they sell, the more you’ll sell so anything you can do to help that along will be in your interest.