Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Taking ShareDavid Gordon

For many distributors, the perceived “easy” way to take market share is to compete based upon price.  This is under the belief that customers, who are challenged for business themselves, solely desire financial concessions. Customers, recognizing the opportunity, learn to shop their business to more distributors, knowing that increased competition lowers prices and that distributors become “desperate” for the business.  An ever-decreasing spiral effect is put into place.

With real growth in every market nominal (unless you’re in an area with something unique to that area), taking share, and keeping it, is the only way to grow. 

Taking Share

Here are 10 ideas for taking share.

1. Reconnect to your customers. Customer communication is critical. What are your customers’ needs? Their customers’ needs? How has their business changed? What are they seeing from your competition, and from theirs? Insights gained enable you to better forecast as well as develop new services to meet a changing market.

And existing customers represent your best opportunities for expansion. Are you getting all of the business they have? (Truly? Do you know how to estimate their potential?) Which product categories are you not selling, or not selling them enough?

Reconnecting to the market can also include research to determine the viability, and strategies, of your competitors to help you target where to gain market share. Or consider conducting voice of customer research to better understand customer needs for specific issues. In the words of the English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon, “information is power.”

2. Identify growth niches. In every economy there are segments that grow faster than the overall market. Research your customer base and focus resources on where they are growing. Or consider tangential customer groups. The industrial and institutional sales process are comparable. Residential contractors may do service work.  The niche needs to be large enough to impact your business. What else does your customer buy that complements your current capabilities?

3. Expand your contacts. Many companies only know whom they accept the order from or whom they send the invoice to. By extending your communications reach you can influence, and capture, more business.  Do you know all of the estimators, project managers and foremen for your contractor customers? What about the engineers and maintenance personnel in the plant? Or how about the architects and engineers who are designing the building? What about safety and training personnel? Each of these audiences may either have business or can influence business. How can you influence the purchasing decision at the architect, engineer (specifier) or developer level? In the words of Jerry Maguire … “show (follow) me the money.”  This is where selling gets done and product selection happens.

4. Marketing matters. Ramp up marketing and consider promotional initiatives that are based upon incremental customer performance (but make sure someone controls pricing). Customers have discretion in where they place their business and we live in a world of WIIFM (and remember, contractors pass on the price to their customers and only need you to be competitive while giving them a compelling reason to buy from you.)

5. Promote your unique selling proposition. Do your salespeople understand why customers should buy from you? Do they sell your points of differentiation (or do you hope they do?). Have you given them the tools? Have you trained them? Your brand is important. Define it. Communicate it. Train others on it. Sell it. Consider how you can use metrics and case studies to support your positioning. Be specific.

6. SPAs grow share. SPAs can be a powerful sniper rifle to earn business. A distributor stated to us “getting additional business from existing customers means we have to adjust prices. We are engaging our manufacturers in order to use additional SPA’s.” Effective SPAs are targeted at specific customers or market segments that are critical to your success. Which customers could you target for new, or incremental, business through usage of SPAs? And remember to put the administrative system in place to ensure you claim all that you are owed!

7. Review your pricing strategy. With many companies using price as their market share strategy, you need to ensure that your prices are updated on a timely manner, that your price matrix is accurate and that you are using, and managing, pricing strategically. Many companies also err by allowing sales unrestricted access to pricing and price decision making. Also consider opportunities for ideas such as “loss leaders,” packaged pricing, cross-selling and bundling (with companion products). And remember, the purpose of pricing is to generate a sustainable profit.

8. Being there is half the battle. Many industrials and large contractors cannot afford to manage electrical material inventory. Inventory carrying costs and personnel costs make this prohibitive. But if you have inventory management expertise, offering it to your customers makes you their in-house distributor. Consider it a satellite location. Storeroom solutions is a growth area. Being an insider provides unique opportunities. Offer “free” onsite warehouse services, charge for material used as well as restocking charges for returns, and negotiate a minimum purchase volume agreement. A steady flow of business will ensue.

9. Sell services & value. Do you, and your customers, know all of the services that you offer? That your key suppliers offer? Do you know what your customers value? Conduct an exercise to identify both, then measure your performance on your services, train your sales staff on how to sell the value of them and market them repeatedly to prospects and customers. One company used this approach, talked to customers, and recognized that product availability and delivery were essential to capturing business. They launched a service where they guaranteed product availability and delivery times within defined radial areas. They then used their delivery schedule commitment as a marketing tool to prospective customers within those areas. 

10. Feet on the street wins. Consider reallocating personnel resources to revenue producing staff from non-revenue producing areas. More feet on the street enables you to cover more customers, be nimbler while also reducing the number of talented people for competitors to recruit! Consider that you’re playing war… the larger the army, the greater the chance of winning.

Taking market share is about capturing dollars and units. Measuring your business both ways enables you to truly understand business changes and to share this information with your manufacturers. They need to move units to ensure profitable factories, you need to move units to generate profitable sales growth. Together market share can be taken, but it requires commitment, resources and focus.

David Gordon is President of Channel Marketing Group.  Channel Marketing Group develops market share and growth strategies for manufacturers and distributors and develops market research. CMG’s specialty is the electrical industry.  He can be reached at  919.488.8635 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

More in CEW by David Gordon:

Innovation Takes Culture, Not Only Books: Part 1

Innovation Takes Culture, Not Only Books: Part 2

The Amazon Supply Threat

Selling Lighting or Selling Data?

Are You Uncomfortable? Good.

Is it Time to Hit the Reset Button?

Boosting Performance at Your Webstore

Amazon Upgrades from Supply to Business

Evolving the Role of Marketing Within Your Distributorship

Strategies in Light Observations: Distributor LED Opportunities

Are You Ready To Sell LEDs Differently?

16 Distribution Industry Trends for 2016

Lighting the Way to Demand Creation

Sales Making Excuses?

Converting Emails Into Sales Through Thoughtful Communications

Learning from Amazon and Generating Ideas

Turning Your Staff into a Competitive Advantage

Internet is Impersonal

Sales and Marketing - How Can Joint Sales Calls Become More Effective

Creating Demand to Drive Profitable Growth

Is Your Company a Kool-Aid Drinker?

What Manufacturers (and Their Reps) Don't Know About Distributor Joint Sales Calls

What is Marketing's ROI?

Not All Is Meant for Online

Point of Sale… Profits Lost?



Swati Vora-PatelBy Swati Vora-Patel

The electrical market is at the helm of innovation — from robotics and automation products that support advanced manufacturing to smart technology in homes and businesses, our industry leads innovation and competitiveness in Canada.

With advanced electrical and automation products shaping how we work, live and play, our industry is continually at the forefront of designing technologies that meet the needs of Canadians today.



Read More




David GordonBy David Gordon

Many talk about digitizing the channel and the emerging / present digitalization of the industry and then wonder why eCommerce as a percentage of distributor sales is not higher. One major reason is for many distributors their key customer is a contractor.

Much is being invested into the space. Everything from product content to website development / eCommerce platforms (and CMG is involved in some of this in supporting clients as well as involved with ETIM North America).


Read More


Investment in Building Construction - March 2021Total investment in building construction increased 5.9% to $18.6 billion in March, led by the residential sector. On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction was up 5.2% to $14.3 billion in March.

Residential investment continues to set records

Residential construction investment increased for the eleventh consecutive month, up 7.6% to $14.0 billion in March.



Read More


Michelle BraniganBy Michelle Branigan

A career seeker looking for a job. An HR manager looking to hire. Both are looking to fill a need quickly, effectively and as cost efficiently as possible. The career seeker needs to pay their rent or mortgage, and the HR manager knows the cost to the business of the wrong hire.

This is where the need for a well-written job description comes in. All too often job descriptions are outdated, listing requirements that are no longer valid, or failing to accurately portray a clear description of the role and employer expectations.

Read More



Carolina GalloBy Line Goyette

Among the recipients of the 2021 Clean50 Awards announced last month is Carolina Gallo, Vice President Government and Institutional Relations Canada, for Hitachi ABB Power Grids Canada. CEW reached out to Gallo, about the experience. But first, a little about the Clean50 Awards.

These annual awards recognize Canadian leaders in sustainability for their contributions over the prior two years. 



Read More


Changing Scene

  • Prev
Liteline has announced the promotion of Evan Sadofsky to Regional Sales Manager for Eastern Canada, ...
Electric Mobility Canada (EMC) and Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) have announced a new ...
Frank Dunnigan, CEO of Techspan Industries Inc., is pleased to announce the appointment of Sean ...
Deschenes Group Inc. (DGI) proudly announces the acquisition of Marcel Baril Ltée (Marcel Baril) ...
Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) represents electrical and automation manufacturers, distributors ...
LEDVANCE LLC, the maker of SYLVANIA general lighting in the US and Canada, announced Charlie Harte ...
Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) once again held its Annual General Meeting virtually this year on ...
It is with great emotion that after 40 years of combined service and leadership of Ideal Supply, ...
Managing change requires a set of soft skills that enables you to harness a growth mindset and the ...
Liteline has announced they will be establishing a Western Canada Regional Office and Distribution ...


Wayne Long and Jim BenderIdeal Supply is proud to announce that as of January 1, 2021 they have appointed a new Sales Manager for both the Electrical and Industrial divisions.

Wayne Long (left) will serve as thier Electrical Division Sales Manager. Wayne spent 11 years with Ideal Supply in the early years of his career, and was with Benshaw Canada for 20 years in senior sales management roles in Canada and the USA before re-joining Ideal in 2017, as thier Industrial Division Sales Manager. Long is a seasoned executive and has a proven track record of building strong relationships with customers and suppliers, and as a coach to sales teams to grow businesses.


Read More


OmnicableOmni Cable located in Brampton, ON, is proud to announce it received IMARK’s 2020 Order of the Golden Maple Leaf Award in its first year eligible for the award.

The Order of the Golden Maple Leaf Award is an annual award that is presented to all IMARK suppliers who meet the set requirements, including supporting members and participating in IMARK Canada’s marketing programs.




Read More



POW-R-Line CS Switchboards by EatonThe Solution to Your Switchboard Needs Now and for the Future.

Introducing Eaton’s Pow-R-Line CS switchboard, the most compact, expandable, service entrance and distribution solution in Canada. This versatile design allows for top or bottom service entrance cables, and expansion sections to the main structure to suit any design requirement.

Eaton’s Pow-R-Line CS switchboard provides a space-saving design advantage with a smaller footprint than any comparable switchboard in the market.


Read More


LitelineLiteline has announced they will be establishing a Western Canada Regional Office and Distribution Center. Currently under construction in Langley, British Columbia, the new facility will service British Columbia to Saskatchewan in Canada, as well as the Pacific Northwest and California in the United States.

"As we lightly refer to the facility as “BC/DC”, the new operation will relieve some load for our 160,000 sq ft HQ in Richmond Hill, Ontario, and our other distribution points in Montreal, QC, and Dallas, TX," said the company via press release. 



Read More


Eaton AR AppAdd or remove switchboard structures according to your construction needs, such as the main incoming with or without Canadian metering requirements, distribution loads, and submain sections. Verify your assembly footprint with thermal magnetic devices such as breakers and fusible switches (with or without meter sockets). Check for clearances and cable landing locations.

No need to guess what configuration will best suit your needs or wonder how the Pow-R-Line CS switchboard will fit in your location.



Read More


Peers & Profiles

  • Prev
“The ongoing integration of Rexel Utility into our Canadian business platforms has underscored our ...
Marcos Simard was recently appointed Managing Director of WESCO and Anixter EES Montréal ...
As of February 2021, Martin Stephenson is the new President and CEO of Signify Canada. Given that ...
This past December Jennifer Green was honoured with Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 Award for ...
Rob Dewar is President of AD Canada as of this past January, when AD announced it had made the ...
Electrimat is an independent Quebec-owned company that has specialized for 40 years in the ...
In July, Eaton announced that Vice President, Channel – Electrical Sector, Matt Cleary would be ...
Mission Technical Solutions is a recently established sales agency founded by industry veteran ...
Omid Nadi, Trade Marketing Manager with Ledvance, is a Ryerson University grad coming out of their ...


Marcos SimardBy Line Goyette

Marcos Simard was recently appointed Managing Director of WESCO and Anixter EES Montréal (Electrical & Electronic Solutions). This young manager, a graduate of the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières with a degree in business administration and holder of a post-graduate degree from Laval University in Information Technology Management, does not seem destined for a career without unexpected shifts.

Marcos has been with WESCO since 2015. We remember that in 2020, WESCO proposed a merger with Anixter...

Read More


Jeffrey MoyleBy Line Goyette

“The ongoing integration of Rexel Utility into our Canadian business platforms has underscored our responsibility as an organization to find creative solutions for today’s challenges, as well as to prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities.”

This quote from Jeffrey caught my attention. Vice President, Supplier & Digital Strategy at Rexel Canada Electrical Inc., Jeffrey has extensive experience in the industry and is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a Master’s in Business Administration, focusing on internarial leadership.

Read More


Copper $US Dollar price per pound

Kerrwil Publications Great Place to Work. Certified December 2019 - December 2020

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2021 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil