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Giving Thanks Where Thanks Is Due

Manufacturer-sponsored distributor recognition programs.

In the business world, giving thanks to partners is something that too often gets brushed to the side. Often people are so concerned about moving on to the next big thing that they can forget who made the last one possible. Many of the Supplier/Associate members of MHEDA realize that this is a problem and have gone out of their way to ensure that those distributors who are directly responsible for the success of their businesses are recognized. These programs involve everything from everything from plaques and press to trips to some very exotic locales. MHEDA Edge sat down with four supplier members in an effort to find out more about their distributor recognition programs.

All parties involved agreed on one thing, their businesses would not be where they are today without their dedicated network of distributors. Bill Hawthorne, VP of marketing for Hytrol Conveyor Company, whose Top Six distributors this year were all MHEDA members, sums it up by saying, “We think you have to put your focus on the distributor. Really they’re the ones getting the job done and bringing in the business.” That is why Hytrol recognized its Top Six distributors during an award reception in Palm Springs, CA.

Program Benefits
Trips or other perks are central to many distributor recognition programs. For instance, Jungheinrich’s Top 5 dealers were recognized during a trip to Milan, Italy, last year that included a tour of some of the company’s Italian branch locations. The trip was a mixture of business and pleasure, as Jungheinrich Marketing Director Kay Devlin describes. “We try to keep the trip somewhat business-oriented, so we spend some time visiting branches and long-time customers, and then afterwards we encourage them to explore the country with their spouses,” Devlin says.

These programs also provide winners with an additional benefit that lasts all year long—prestige. Mike Leach, aftermarket operations manager at Yale Materials Handling, explained how this works, “We make sure our people know who our Dealers of Excellence are. We give them plaques to display in their facilities and recognition in national industry publications as well as additional promotional materials.”

Bo Maslanyk, director of sales/marketing for Clark Material Handling Company, wants to make sure distributors know that it doesn’t necessarily take a huge dealership to become a Dealer of Excellence. “We base our criteria on mutually agreedupon business plans designed specifically for each dealer,” he says. Winners are selected based on how they do in relation to their specific plan, not just overall sales volume. Clark also recognizes key non-principal people in dealerships such as the sales manager, service manager, parts manager, sales coordinator and rental manager.

Become a Winner
So what can a distributor do to win one of these awards? The answer is simpler than it seems: Sell! Sell! Sell! The key to success is the same for any dealer or manufacturer—open communication and solid partnerships between the two parties. By nurturing this relationship, and by working harder than ever before, these prestigious honors are yours for the taking.

Of course, the ultimate reward for sales success is turning a profit and making money for your business and yourself. But as these four manufacturers prove, those who go above and beyond do not go unnoticed.

Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association

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