• No Words to Explain

    Dec. 1, 2010
    Don Frendberg attempts to come up with a brief definition of a wholesaler distributor

    "Don't wish it were easier; wish you were better. Don't wish for less problems; wish for more skills. Don't wish for less challenges; wish for more wisdom."
    Jim Rohn

    Thanks, Jim. Great advice and, obviously, easy for you to say. However, my wish is a bit more profound and perplexing. Don't laugh, but I wish I could come up with a one- or two-sentence description of a wholesaler distributor and once-and-for-all end the deafening silence and vacant stares from people when they ask what I do. Even worse, is when they just turn and walk away. Whether I'm at a party or get an inquiry from my dentist, shrink or loan officer at the bank, it seems they cannot understand my explanation of the concept or the need for what we do.

    Now, I consider myself (not to be confused with what other people think) a reasonably bright individual who has achieved much more than I deserve and who can reasonably explain basic concepts and ideas and, on occasion, correctly do what my wife tells me to. I also have been fortunate to be involved in wholesale distribution for many years and am fairly knowledgeable about what we do and why we do it. But when I try to give a brief description without the aid of flow charts and PowerPoint, it somehow gets lost in translation.

    Here are a few examples of what I have tried so far:

    "A wholesaler distributor purchases HVACR products from manufacturers, stores them and has them available for local contractors to serve their customers."

    "A wholesaler distributor inventories HVACR equipment so when your furnace dies in the middle of the night, your contractor has a ready source for the replacement parts and equipment."

    "A wholesaler distributor is the most important person in the supply chain because he or she provides a constant source of HVACR products and supplies in our city."

    "Wholesaler distributors have so much money that they buy stuff from manufacturers and then put that stuff in a big building and keep it warm until some HVACR fix-it-type guy happens to come by and throws it in his truck and then takes a long time to pay for it. But that's okay because wholesalers have lots of money."

    "A wholesaler distributor is the primary source of HVACR products and technical knowledge in virtually every market in North America. Manufacturers depend on them to sell their products and have them readily available for contractor customers to install. Contractors not only depend on the wholesaler to have products and parts when they need them, but for technical support, sales and marketing assistance, available credit and delivery services."

    My conversational problems often are further compounded when I say I work for a nonprofit association that represents wholesaler distributors, manufacturers and manufacturers' representatives. But that's a whole other problem we won't deal with now.

    So, what am I doing wrong? Can anyone help me with examples you've used that immediately engage people — causing them to dominate your time asking questions, drawing others into the conversation and buying you drink after drink?

    As you can tell, I'm very passionate about this, so please send your examples to me at [email protected] and I'll publish the best ones in a future article, crediting your contributions.

    Also, for the very best one, I'll award a free registration to next year's HARDI Fall Conference in Maui. It just doesn't get any better than that. Aloha.
    Don Frendberg, Chairman