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Expand Channels by Selling What the Customer is Asking For

The blog, Electrical Trends, has been a favorite of Remke for quite some time now.  The authors have been conducting business in the electrical industry for many years, and often address somewhat controversial issues.

Their blog post, “Strained Channel Relationships & Suppliers Expanding Channels to Market”, is worth discussing here.

They shared thoughts and observations on the declining role of the manufacturer/distributor relationship that were originally presented in the newsletter of Egret Consulting, a recruitment firm specializing in the electrical & lighting industries.

There were two areas in the post that caught our attention.

Bob Reynolds, Graybar CEO, recently stated “that wholesale distribution has largely abdicated the process of true ‘sales’ in favor of fulfillment. In short, sell what your customers ask you for.”

Remke agrees with this statement. But we wonder, along with Electrical Trends and Mr. Reynolds, what happens if your customers don’t know anything about a certain product or market like solar energy?

On this point Mr. Reynolds said “what if they {the customer} do know about those technologies but also know that their regular distributor doesn’t have the technical acumen to professionally advise them on which manufacturer is better, or how to qualify for rebates or tax incentives to support the decision?”

We all know that customers will find the answers wherever they can.  So those distributors who really only sell what customers ask for – what do they do?  And for manufacturers like Remke who are looking to distributors to help sell our products into new markets – what do we do?  Punt?

“What’s the future for an electrical industry that is swimming in electronic solutions?”

Egret Consulting answered “Channel Expansion” and then they referenced something we at Remke know very well – the Solar Energy market.

They stated that “We regularly talk to solar installers, who buy some of their material from electrical distributors, but more and more buy their electrical material from solar integrators; who buy wire/cable, connectors, panels, inverters, etc. and package them together into a contractor-friendly system that can be easily priced and installed. They buy all of those electrical supplies from varying sources; distributors, direct from manufacturers and from value-added resellers……..Inevitably, solar is moving to new channels of distribution.”

Remke Energy

Remke Industries established a sister company, Remke Energy, to specifically address the renewable energy market.

Solar energy & wind power integrators, contractors and distributors are the target market for Remke Energy and the 15,000 electrical products that are in stock.

The renewable energy marketplace has a lot of potential and for the most part is served by a different channel of distribution.  It is our hope that more electrical distributors will embrace this market and Remke Energy as a trusted supplier…….but what about those who just “sell what customers ask you for”?

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