If you’re requesting a discount or terms that the supplier just won’t provide, it’s time to get really creative. There are no guarantees here, but it’s worth a shot.
Try to cut conveniences, such as how often your rep visits the office to sell new products. Ordering over the phone & online is just as easy in today’s connected world. These reps usually cover a territory that spans several hundred miles, so this may motivate them to take a slight hit if they only have to swing by once a year rather than once per month or quarter.
You might also inquire about getting the better discounts/ terms you’re requesting if you unenroll from “loyalty” programs, rebates, etc. Do the long-term math on programs like this and other “free perks” the supplier is currently offering you. Would you rather have “free” shipping once a quarter, or up-front savings that may be 2-4x as large? Don’t fall for psychological gimmicks.
Remember that you are in control here. Suppliers in our industry are a dime a dozen. You can get them to compete aggressively for your business — you only need to harden your resolve and fight for the money that should be yours.
You’re the final point of service and the lifeblood of the entire supply chain. Without you, their business dies. Middlemen have unfairly shifted the profits throughout the supply chain in their favor at the independent ECP’s expense. Keep this in mind as you approach these conversations and fight for what is yours.