Q-A/ David: Brokers, Master-Broker, Retail, and Consulting!
WHAT IS A BROKER? SO THEN WHAT IS A “MASTER BROKER?”
A broker provides sales and service in a specific territory for specific accounts. As a master broker Iact in a leadership and management capacity and oversee the brokers and their activities on a coast to coast basis. As master broker, I train, manage, and act as your company’s senior level sales executive. I’m “hands-on.” As master broker, I am very active at all retail accounts, and in all business development activities. I work for YOU.
WHY DO WE NEED BROKERS? CAN’T WE SELL THE ACCOUNTS OURSELVES?
Most retailers prefer to work with brokers they know that live and work in their region, and know the insides and outs of how the specific retailer operates. Each retailer has a lot of politics and intricacies that a local broker knows how to work through. That said, I hardly ever allow a broker to make a major presentation without being accompanied by me and/or a representative from my client-company. In fact, I often to the actual presenting. It is usually not a good idea to handle brokers on your own unless you have a tremendous amount of first hand experience and plenty of time on your hands to deal with many accounts-specific politics and concerns.
WHAT IS THE STANDARD COMMISSION FOR REGIONAL BROKERS?
The industry standard is 5% commission on net sales. As master-broker I earn an over-ride up to 3%. And frankly I am a master-broker that earns it well! I consistently invest a lot of personal funds for travel, broker meetings, senior level trade events, and even trade- advertising to promote my clients and my business, together. It is very effective!
WHY DO WE PAY A RETAINER FEE FOR A MASTER-BROKER?
Hiring me is much like having a “full time” senior level executive with tremendous industry know-how at a fraction of the typical cost for employing someone at my level, “full time.“ Without a retainer fee, I am unable to provide the tremendous amount of time, resources, experience, and the “labor” it will take to put your brand in the best possible situation for success.
Broker-management is extremely complex. Candidly, most brokers prefer to work with a master-broker like me rather than have to go through the excruciating exercise of “training the new client.” (Sorry, but it’s true!)
Please keep in mind that for new lines, brokers will not make ANY commissions for a year or more, and in many cases, not ever. Frankly, brokers loathe the idea of “pioneering” new lines. Truth is, brokers much prefer to take on the easy lines already in distribution. However, with my relationships, and my long history with the brokers, and frankly my “clout,” with them, most of “my” brokers will take on my client’s lines and work hard.
CAN WE HIRE DB “STRICTLY FOR CONSULTING” BUT NOT AS OUR MASTER-BROKER?
Yes! I consult clients in many capacities related to the CPG business. I LOVE consulting and sharing my knowledge, experience, connections, and strategies. Helping CPG companies grow is my passion.
WHAT IF WE ALREADY HAVE BROKERS IN PLACE? WILL DB HELP WITH THE BROKERS WE ALREADY HAVE?
Yes, many of my established clients utilize me for consulting, training, and often as an advisor to the company owners or managers, including their VP’s of Sales /Marketing, while other clients hire me to take over the leadership and management of its existing sales organization. I have accomplished some amazing turn-around’s with existing brokers!
DOES DAVID HELP COMPANIES THAT ALREADY HAVE WELL-ESTABLISHED BRANDS WITH DISTRIBUTION ALREADY IN PLACE?
Absolutely! In our field, the biggest challenges comes after the products get on the shelves. I will strengthen your development in all aspects of national sales and marketing management, consumer and retail marketing, business development, line-extensions, launches, negotiations, brand management, executive training, trade shows planning, reviews, mentoring, and for numerous other critical functions.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TYPICAL COSTS OF DOING BUSINESS AT RETAIL?
Retailers look for slotting allowances, co-op advertising, exit strategies, safe-funding, etc. I will coach you long before you make your first meeting with a retailer at the buyer’s office, or at ECRM, NACDS, etc. I have 30+ years’ experience negotiating with retailers!
WE HAVE TRIED A MASTER-BROKER ONCE BEFORE AND DIDN’T GET GOOD RESULTS.
Some former CPG managers try to be a “master-brokers” but lack current-day connections are too one-dimensional, and lack adequate personal funding. It’s a lot harder than it looks!
DOES DB HAVE HIS OWN NETWORK OF BROKERS THAT HE USES?
For best results, I like to utilize the outstanding pool of brokers I already use on a regular basis. These brokers work very effectively for my clients as associates and partners. They trust me, and know that I will do things the right way. And by using the brokers that I already work with, you will have coverage in every footprint in the U.S.
WILL DAVID HELP MY COMPANY BE READY FOR ECRM, NACDS, GMDC, ETC?
I have such a passion for this!! I have worked in, or backstage, in more than 200 ECRM events, and almost every NACDS Marketplace (Now, Total Store Expo) and GMDC event since the mid 1980’s. I will coach you with every aspect of pre-event planning, pre-selling, your booth or meeting-room layout and planning, and I will share with you my expertise at knowing how to make the very best of every minute at each event with retailers, and then the most effective follow up. You will be much better prepared than the competition!
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR A NEW PRODUCT TO GET ON THE SHELF?
Each product category is reviewed once each year at every retailer. These reviews are called “category reviews” or planogram (POG) reviews. For one example, the oral care category is usually reviewed in the months of August, September, and October. Decisions are made by the retailer in November and December. New items will ship in March or April. So, overall, it’s typically a 6 to 8 month procress from the time we first present the items. Different product categories are reviewed at different times of the year.
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