Many companies in Europe work with partners to distribute their products. Sometimes these partners are agents that are not responsible for the delivery and functioning of the product or service, sometimes they are distributors (that have a warehouse, offer repair and delivery services, etc.) sometimes the partner is a licencee that pays for the rights to make his own service or product with your logo or content. Many other forms exist, up to a joint venture, where both partners put money in a company they establish together.
These partnerships offer many advantages, from low cost market entry and low risk to having a local partner that knows the market very well. What makes these partnerships a success? Here are some fundamental and common sense issues to take into consideration:
Does your partner have the same ambitions as you with your product and cooperation? Is he commited? Does he want to make a collection of products to sell and partnerships to brag about, or is he in for the good cooperation with you. Find out!
Are responsibilities well defined and are there targets in place? Who does what in the partnership and what if your partner does not do what he promised? Like selling 20 instead of 2.000 units of your products that he promised to sell in the first year….What if you ship faulty products or bad services and too late?
Be honest with your distribution partner, expect honesty. There may be issues, grab them by the horns to solve them. Make time for solving these issues.
Make sure your partner gets enough attention. Does he have the right product documentation? Is he up to date with recent company news? Does his staff have good product training? Do you give enough marketing support?
Make sure the distribution partner is rewarded well. Don’t consider his income as too much of a cost but more as the result of success achieved together. The more a partner earns, the more he is willing to put in more energy to become more successful.
That is the beginning. Results take time to achieve and some markets may respond different to your offering than others. If you have a good partner, listen carefully to what he has to say.
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