December 2011

LeAnne Velona

Strictly for Students| by LeAnne Velona


Building Retail Relationships with All Involved

You are the person in your beauty business who is responsible to order products at the best prices at the right time and in the right quantity to cover the demand of your guests.

It is the distributors' job to serve you, and building relationships with distributors is a very important part of running a successful beauty school, salon or business.

Relationships with your customers, employees, suppliers and distributors are what your business thrives on, so it is important to maintain healthy relationships with all of the above.

The distributor is responsible for fulfilling that order. Add money and profit to the mix and things become more complex, but without profits, your business cannot flourish.

To protect and grow your relationships and work toward positive business growth, take the time to develop your relationships with your distributors. It will make a positive impact on your business in the end and is well worth the investment.

Now that you know why it is important to build a solid relationship with your distributor, here are the best tips for making your buyer / distributor relationships run smoothly and effectively.

Face-to-Face Interaction. The relationship with your distributor is an important one, so take the time to nurture it. Meet with your distributors face-to-face as this sends a message to them they are important to you and your business. Emailing and speaking on the phone, while effective, should supplement in-person meetings and not replace them.

You can show your support by attending distributor events. This is a great way to network also and you may even build new business relationships. Although in-person meetings can be time-consuming, they will pay off in the long run and are an essential part of the having a solid and beneficial relationship with your distributor.

Think Team. Working together makes a difference. Help your rep help you. As with any relationship, take care of those that support you. If you are honest, helpful, thoughtful and attentive, your distributor will work hard for you, get you the best pricing and keep you updated with deals. Distributor sales consultants often work on commission and they want your business. By working together, you can achieve your goal of making money, and you both get what you need out of the relationship to be successful. Treat your distributor with respect, and you will get back the same treatment in return. Go team.

Keep an Eye on Pricing. It is important for operators to watch the pricing market and understand costs. This is an important part of your job. Make sure you know what you are doing when ordering and managing your products. Know your prices from order to order and use an order guide every time. Be sure to have in place an inventory control system, watch your invoices and know how to read it. It is important to stay organized and keep great track of your invoices. Most importantly, know when your product prices are taking a dip or rising. This will not only help you build a better relationship with your distributor, but it will also make your job easier and will save you money.

Be Timely and Make Decisions. Settle all of your accounts on time. If you foresee a delay, let your distributor know ahead of time. Be considerate of your distributor and avoid submitting orders at the last minute. If you receive any damaged goods, alert your distributor, and submit a claim promptly and with evidence. It is also important to know when to make a decision. If the deal is right on both sides, for the distributor and the buyer, you cannot afford to wait. As a buyer, one should be equipped with the financial sophistication and the ability to make a decision. If the buyer does not have that ability, then they need to be empowered to do so.

"Building relationships with your distributors should be primary on your list in order for them to help you build your business", notes Doreen Guarneri, owner of American Culture, and The Look Salon in Greenlawn, New York. "Reason being, you need to be a good customer in order to gain and earn rewards through your distributors such as exclusives, sampling, discounts and, above all, the best service! The squeaky wheel gets the oil. If you're a small business, this is of particular importance. Everything that a distributor can do to help grow your business will allow you more time behind the chair. Relationships are the key to success for everyone involved."

The key to solid, lasting relationships with your distributors is knowing how to interact with your salesperson. Of course, it is not as easy as it looks. As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts to keep on top of, but keep working on your relationships and it will pay off in the end.

LeAnne Velona, director of esthetics and massage therapy education for Marinello Schools of Beauty, has been a certified licensed esthetician for over 18 years and is also a licensed holistic health practitioner. Marinello Schools of Beauty offer cosmetology and esthetics programs at campuses in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Utah. For more information, visit