6 Traits of Highly Profitable Distributors

6 Traits of Highly Profitable Distributors

6 Traits of Highly Profitable Distributors

Throughout the promotional products industry, there are highly profitable distributors that are rock-solid year after year.  These companies consistently buck downward economic trends and outperform other firms.

What secrets drive these outstanding performers?  Actually, there’s no secret at all. Let us break it down.

Ownership Matters

  • Many profitable distributors are owned by successful former sales reps  
  • A focus on sales drives the organization and creates an environment of success
  • The owner’s promo sales success gives him or her instant credibility with the sales team

Value of Customer Service

  • Management and sales efforts must be focused on providing outstanding customer service and value

Out in The Field

  • Owners and management look for every opportunity to assist the sales team by providing leads, making joint sales calls, and closing deals for the benefit of the sales team

Not Afraid to Make Money

  • Top companies thrive on making margin when a great value benefits their clients and sales reps alike


  • They don’t keep secrets from their team
  • Too many owners blow years of credibility trying to grab a small piece of extra revenue 

Clients Come First

  • The focus of every department is supporting the work of the sales team and over-delivering for clients

Is your business highly profitable? If not, what are you going to do in the short, medium, and long-term to change that?


6 Traits of Top Performing Sales Reps

6 Traits of Top Performing Sales Reps

6 Traits of Top Performing Sales Reps

We all know a few sales reps who are able to grow their business year after year despite any obstacle. They bring in big clients and profitable programs with ease. What leads to their consistently strong performance? All that separates them are these six traits.

Customer Service

Top performers are intensely focused on customer service.  Service is not a trendy catchphrase for this group, it is a way of life. Their extreme dedication to service creates passive referrals from their clients and sets the tone for proactive referral requests.

Order Size

Peak performers’ average order size is often two to three times the industry standard. No, they don’t load clients up with products.  They do look for great values which allow clients to consolidate purchases for multiple locations.

Margin Matters

This group is not afraid to make a great margin as a result of strong client relationships, providing value in every purchase, and intense customer focus. Often top performers exceed industry average margins by 3-5%

Quality Counts

Peak performers don’t cut corners!  They don’t substitute inferior products to make more money. They follow every step needed to deliver quality merchandise from perfect graphics, to precise virtual and production proofs, to on-time delivery.

They Are Problem Solvers

Top promo reps never assign blame.  First, if problems arise, they retrieve the defective merchandise from the client as quickly as possible. Second, they move to supply the right product.  Only later do they sort out the details of what missteps were taken that led to the issue in the first place.

Work Smart

Peak performers are an elite group in the promo industry because they work harder to satisfy clients than the rest of the pack.  The result is customer loyalty, referrals, larger orders, and higher margins than their peers.

To read more on how to evaluate sales reps read our article  “This One Exercise Tells You Everything You Need to Know“.


Promotional Product Commissions

5 Ways To Easily Add 5-10% To Your Commissions


Here are five tips that we’ve used and coached throughout our promotional products careers. When used correctly, these techniques can add 5-10% to the gross profit of any distributor sales reps. Please use these tips wisely and often. Enjoy the extra spending money!

Never Use A Catalog

DO NOT ever give a catalog to your client. Pricing in our industry is 100% relative and based on perceived value. Set the perception and you set the price. If you give your client a catalog you are giving them exactly what they need to start price shopping. Give your client a catalog and you will GUARANTEE yourself a lower margin than you could have earned.

“Read” Your Client

How experienced is your client? Do they purchase promotional products every day or is this their first time? Is this order a very important decision to him? Or does he just want to get it over with and off his checklist?

You need to be able to read your client and the situation. Their experience level will tell you a lot about where to price their project. If they lack experience, walk them through the ordering, production, and delivery process, but don’t forget to pay yourself for the service provided by enhancing your bottom line a bit.

Understand The Value You Bring

We aren’t peddlers of trinkets and trash. We are professional branded merchandise consultants. We source products, negotiate, manage logistics, and protect the brands and businesses of our clients. Never forget that. Don’t minimize your value because that always leads to you minimizing your margin.

Use Trusted Suppliers That Give You The Best Pricing

Not all suppliers are created equal, nor is the pricing they offer. Whenever possible present your clients with products from the suppliers that give you the best pricing. Special pricing is usually available from large industry suppliers. Give your customer a high-quality product and give yourself higher commissions by using trusted, value-driven suppliers.

Add “Closeouts” to your offering

Some reps view closeouts or overstock items as unsellable, obsolete products. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In many cases, adding closeouts to your product mix provides great value to your client, generates higher margins for you, and helps a trusted supplier move merchandise. There are very successful reps who make great livings selling closeouts exclusively. You can usually sell overstock items at a margin of 60%. That makes closeouts something you can’t afford to ignore!