Utilizing the sales funnel in the musical instrument and pro audio business
Any student of our craft has likely heard of or implemented a “sales funnel” during their career. It’s a tried-and-true method that defines the steps from prospective account identification to the delivery of an opening order. There are tools available to automate this process, but fundamentally it’s best to understand the logical steps as we endeavor to develop a vibrant and effective dealer network.
Above the funnel
With internet browsers, sourcing of prospective resellers in any given vertical or geographical area has never been easier. Whether traditional retail shop, bricks & clicks hybrid accounts or pure e-commerce, this task is much simpler than “back in the day.” Try using a variety of search queries, and then conduct due diligence as you begin to cull the herd and qualify your target list. Carefully assess the viability of any reseller as it relates to your organization and the vendors you may represent as a multiline distributor or independent rep firm operator.
Upper and mid-funnel
Next is reaching out to ink an appointment for a personal visit, or possibly a web meeting if that makes sense based on geography and the need to avoid delays. Be certain that you are speaking with a decision maker; I learned this years ago by conducting an exhaustive synthesizer demo to a warehouse worker who just happened to be passing through the keyboard room. A quality presentation of your offerings and the problems they solve should be accompanied by a thoughtfully crafted sales proposal. Develop a product mix that meets the dealer’s profile, and you’re well on your way to the last step.
Adjust and finalize
In the musical instrument and pro audio business, terms and conditions, quantities, freight programs, finance incentives and more will be discussed as you put the finishing touches on a purchase order. Here’s where fully understanding vendor guidelines and flexibility come into play. In many cases, a smart move is to review special considerations in advance with your supplier, obtaining pre-approval before you begin negotiating. And let’s be clear about something — this is not the end of the process, but the beginning of the next phase, where you support what you sell, provide training and assistance, and, in general, prove yourself to be a value-added partner. Look for part 2 of this article, where we’ll review these steps — in reality, it’s an hourglass and not a funnel!
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