I believe that the most important person in your business life, bar none, is your wholesaler. Customers are a close second, but you will have fewer of them if you are not in tune with your wholesaler. So does your wholesaler make you feel wanted?

Every wholesaler within range wants your business. The best of them read you well, meeting your requirements to boost your bottom line and theirs. The majority of you will know your wholesaler by the depot manager of your selected cash and carry and if he does not make you feel wanted, it could well be your fault.

There is an enormous range of opinion and attitude in the wholesaler community. One size does not fit all. Take a recent example, when a research company reported that consumers, surprisingly, were willing to pay an average premium of 14% for the privilege of shopping at convenient local stores.

One wholesaler said he hoped his retailers would follow and push their prices up. But another confided that he hoped his customers would be too busy and miss that report in case they were tempted to do just that. Most believe there is no 'average convenience premium' it's a figure totally defined by location and customer profile.

One reader says he is discouraged from asking his depot manager for help because there is no dialogue. He does not feel wanted. But the fault could lie with the reader, who must speak up depot managers just can't read every customer's mind.

One manager recounted recently how a retailer went out of business suddenly, but in the run up to closure the now ex-customer never said a word about any difficulties. Extraordinary.

Your wholesaler should know as much about your business as you do if he is to help. It takes two to tango.

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