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While distributors and manufacturers may have similar goals – to sell product – how they approach that can be very different. If you're not honest with your channel partners about your capabilities and plans, conflict is sure to arise in the relationship, writes Rick Johnson in New Definitions of Partnership.
"Perception becomes reality," Johnson writes. "If all the cards aren't on the table, people tend to envision circumstances that are much different from reality."
Be open to discussing coverage and the markets you operate in – or plan to expand into. Be honest about your approach to selling particular brands in the different markets.
Partnership may be the most overused word in the industry today, says Bob Conti of The Alexander Group and Sales Apex in What Does Partnership Really Mean?, because it means more than two companies doing business together. “A partnership means getting these two objectives working together in a harmonious manner,” Conti says.
And that requires understanding your channel partner's motivations.