You want to have a distributor in the U.S., but don’t know which one to pick. You may not even know which ones there are, it is not like there is a high-end audio distributor registry somewhere now is there? What is a poor manufacturer (MFR) to do?
One method some MFRs use is to find other quality product lines and see who distributes those. But this doesn’t always work, obviously, because otherwise we would have had no need to have written the previous post. Bad distributors do sometimes end up distributing what were once good brands.
Another is to try and verify a distributor by talking to the other MFRs that the distributor deals with. But THAT doesn’t always work, because the distributor may be slimy, but the MFR that slimy distributors work with are either clueless [they don’t know the distributor is slimy] or they are slimy themselves [and see nothing wrong with the tactics the distributor is using. Hey, takes all kinds…].
Another is to talk with MFRs that have dropped the distributor, see what they have to say. This MAY work, but there are so many personal grudge matches in this little high-end audio market of ours, that this approach will often be useless [and that earful you get may be the truth or it just may be a ready-for-prime-time personal feud that you kind of stepped in and kind of wish you hadn’t…. if you know what I mean ].
Another way, and maybe the best, is to talk to the distributor’s dealer network. If they have few or no dealers, well, there you go - something to think about. If the dealers carry nothing else but the product of this distributor - then you may have the dealer-for-a-day program going on, where they are fake dealers who get good prices and pump up the sales [because everything is going for so cheap] and size of the dealer network for the distributor to point to - but it is all a chimera. If the dealers carry lots of cheap gear, but this one very expensive thing from this one distributor… well…
Look, from my perspective MFRs want a distributor who carries lots of similar-quality brands and who has a dealer network of long-term reputable dealers. Sure some dealers will be a little strange, post all sorts of stuff on their blog at all hours, stuff like that - but the general impression that you want to make on this side of the pond is going to be up to the distributor, and the dealer network, and customers are going to receive this impression - perhaps subconsciously, but they will receive it - and it is really up to you what you want this to be.
We are happy to help MFRs (and dealers) choose good distributors to work with (and we have). We know a lot of people in the industry. We don’t know everybody but we know people who know everybody - but who no doubt would prefer to remain distanced from such open ended offers like this :-O.
We hope the impression MFRs want to convey is one of a long-term stable excellent brand with great products and one that cares about quality and about their customers.
Well, why not. And then my show reports can be all happy happy like all those others out there.
But somewhat more seriously [or not] …
We Americans do spend money with wild abandon and without a care in the world. Don’t think about whether it makes a heckuva lot of sense or not. We don’t. Unfortunately this trendy spendy attitude has kind of ignored high-end audio quite thoroughly for several decade now.
But that will someday all change, because we are a unpredictable lot and not prone to doing what is expected of us - mostly because we just don’t pay a lot of attention to things [and are extremely uninformed about what is expected of us. Unless we watch Fox News, of course].
So, when that day comes, hopefully sometime within our lifetimes [it’d be nice] do you want to be stuck with back-alley dealers? Or up front on Rodeo Drive?
OK, I see this has devolved into sociopolitical analysis of the buying habits of large herds of credit card bearing consumers roaming the wilds of the U.S. Not much fun there.
Next: Mike & Neli’s Manufacturer / Distributor match making service. We’ll have some 31 point forms for everyone to fill out, and then we will find the perfect distributor for every manufacturer. We guarantee there will be lots of ‘happily ever after’s, and tons of little products popping out every, oh, 9 months or so.
Definitely got to end this post… now.