Why People Are the Key Differentiator in Wholesale

Why People Are the Key Differentiator in Wholesale

A WiW Guest Blog by Janet Standing

The idea that ‘people buy people’ is fundamental to the success of any kind of business, be it in a B2B or a B2C context.

Wholesalers support small- to medium-sized retailers, on-trade customers and foodservice vendors who are the anchors of their community. And they continue to support them in the face of the myriad challenges threatening the industry today: be it labour costs, a new competitive landscape due to rise of e-commerce, discounters (Lidl), supermarkets investing heavily in their own c-store estates, and the growth of foodservice and QSR chains.

But, for the vast majority of wholesale business and their customers, the differentiating factor is the people experience – and the idea that ‘people buy people’ is more important than ever before in this sector.

Successful business collaboration built on the premise that people buy people has the following in common: A good match of partners, and ongoing nurturing of the relationship.

Focusing on the former, a good match entails: A clear compelling common goal; complementary competence and attributes presented by each party; and, most importantly, a connection in values and beliefs between the people involved.

To find a resonance in values and beliefs, it takes intuition, courage and ongoing effort from business leaders. And what is it that we look for? Authenticity, coherency and transparency. But, ultimately, we are looking for the basis of trust.

When these elements are missing, even a seemingly functioning business relationship can fall apart. A great example of this is the case of FMCG giant Danone, and New Zealand dairy co-operative Fonterra…

Read Janet’s full column in the October issue of Better Wholesaling which is being distributed at the Women in Wholesale conference. Janet is WiW’s keynote speaker, kindly sponsored by FWD. 

Janet Lung Standing, who has more than two decades of international experience in the FMCG sector having worked for Mars and Danone, is director of Janet Standing Consultancy and Vice Chair of the UK chapter of LEAD (Leading Executives Advancing Diversity www.lead-eu.net).


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