Quooker UK | Happy dealers equal happy suppliers

Managing director of Quooker UK Stephen Johnson explains why it pays for suppliers to invest in dealer relationships and the pitfalls that surround businesses that do not.

11 Aug, 22

Managing director of Quooker UK Stephen Johnson explains why it pays for suppliers to invest in dealer relationships and the pitfalls that surround businesses that do not.

Quooker UK |

The relationship between supplier and dealer is and always has been a complex one. There is rarely a time where a supplier or retailer is not under some form of external pressure, be that a financial crisis, Brexit or a global pandemic. Yet it is a relationship that is crucial to get right.

At Quooker we see our dealers not as separate businesses but extensions of our own sales team. After all, they host customers, display our products and drive sales of taps nationwide.

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We expect them to present our products in the best way and sell as many as possible. In return, we offer them a huge amount of support year-round. It is a two-way relationship with loyalty expected from both parties.

Every dealer matters

Since helping launch Quooker UK in 2006, my growth strategy for the business has revolved around driving single tap sales to individual customers whilst delivering a world-class service.

I have always put huge value on our dealer network to help achieve this. Each dealer no matter its size, gets the same level of support and service.

What does that support look like? As everyone’s business is different, so too is each relationship. There is no magic formular, only by understanding each business individually can you deliver a bespoke approach that works for both parties.

Flexibility is king. A practical example of this is POS material for showrooms. We work with each dealer to build bespoke displays that work for them, investing in co-branded material that suits the individual space.

Training and incentives

I make it my mission to be as accessible as possible to dealers and ensure my team do the same.

We regularly pop into showrooms and speak to owners, not to catch anyone out, but to make sure we are doing everything possible for them on the ground.

We also run dealer incentive schemes to reward achievements and to keep motivation high.

We offer training programmes to ensure dealers are fully equipped, and virtual sales assistance should customers want to talk to us directly from showrooms.

I also make a point of personally handling all review sites so I can pick up on any customer dissatisfaction and help dealers address any errors.

We try to make their lives as easy as possible. That’s why we don’t rely on dealerships to promote our products but invest millions of pounds each year into national advertising to educate the consumer before they even get through the showroom door.

Once the product has been sold, we take the hassle off the dealer and employ our own service engineers to sort installation and maintenance.

Throughout lockdown we offered all dealers financial support packages with prolonged debt freezing to help ease pressure.

We invested six-figure sums into organisations like the KBSA to help drive customers back to the high street, whilst offering dealers free regional advertising to help drive showroom footfall.

We also invested industry futureproofing initiatives with the BIKBBI to train up the next generation of fitters.

Looking forward, we have guaranteed dealers price certainty and invested in UK stock to ensure supply.

Understand support levels

Dealers can be quick to complain about manufacturers whilst not realising the levels of support and personal cost involved to be able to offer it. That is why good communication is imperative.

It is a challenging environment to nurture the supplier-retailer relationship. Securing and receiving dealer loyalty takes time.

The reality is you have two businesses competing which makes it tricky. Both must learn to rely on each other for it to work.

Neglect those dealer relationships at your peril. Happy dealers equal happy suppliers.