Dealer selection

Dealer selection is the first task in the process of dealer management. It is obvious that a firm has to be very careful in selecting its dealers. It has to ensure that those selected for dealership possess certain essential qualifications. Some of these qualifications are common ones, irrespective of the product lines involved; others are product specific. Financial strength, business capacity, creditworthiness and salesmanship form part of the common qualifications.

Attributes to be looked for:

The criteria can be modified appropriately, depending on the product characteristics, the marketing environment and the objectives of the firm.

In practice, it is difficult for any firm to locate dealers possessing all the qualifications and attributes enumerated under ideal conditions. Obviously, one has to compromise. Out of the available candidates, the firm has to select those who have the potential to be a good dealer. Then, it should build them into effective and strong dealers through a sustained process of development.

Firms which are well established in the market and those that which possess certain unique strengths in terms of product, brand, service, etc., will enjoy a wider choice when they set out to appoint dealers. Their reputation and brand equity will pull in a large number of applicants who are above average in the required attributes.

In contrast, for firms yet to be established, the choice base will be small. Such firms may have to initially accept those who are prepared to take up the dealership and build a good network over a period of time.

The net must be cast intelligently for dealer selection and recruitment:

Effective dealer recruitment depends in the first place on the firm’s ability to attract applications from the right candidates. Advertisements will no doubt be of help in this regard. But they must be developed carefully. The companies and ad agencies must have the expertise needed for developing effective dealer recruitment ads.

‘Dealer wanted’ Ads:

The first test of a good ‘dealer wanted’ ad is no doubt its ‘attention grabbing’ strength among the prospects. The second test is the ad’s ability to coax the stronger ones among them to respond to the proposition being made.

In the present times, with more brands crowding the marketplace, the premium on dealers’ shelf space is increasing exponentially. It needs a well thought out and well-written dealer ad to bring in the right response. The communication must put across the proposition forcefully. While many companies give ‘dealer wanted’ ads, only a few do a good job of it.