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Rebate Check From Distributor Floors Rep

July 9, 2004
It wasn’t the amount of the check that got the attention of Kevin Weber, Electrical Materials Inc. (EMI), a rep based in Sterling Heights, Mich., but the thought behind the gesture.

It wasn’t the amount of the check that got the attention of Kevin Weber, Electrical Materials Inc. (EMI), a rep based in Sterling Heights, Mich., but the thought behind the gesture.

The unexpected check, less than $100, was accompanied by a note explaining that the distributor had achieved — with the assistance of EMI — sales goals set by the distributor’s marketing group.

“The note explained that the distributor knew the buying group ‘nets down’ the invoice based upon their buying group rebate,” said Weber. “They were well aware that we received a lower commission than we would ordinarily earn. Their thinking was that this wasn’t fair to us, especially since we had done so much to help them earn their rebate. The distributor closed by saying, ‘We appreciate everything you do for us. Here’s a commission check from us covering the commission dollars you lost.’”

The distributor that sent the check has been doing this for reps for several years because he realizes they lose commissions through the rebate process.

“Everyone in our organization agrees that the reps work hard on our behalf, and it’s not fair that they should lose anything,” he said. “The reps are encouraged to work with us to sell more product. They do that successfully, but then the manufacturer decreases their income as a result. We try to figure just what those lost dollars are. Once we do that, we cut a check to them and send a ‘thank you’ note along with it.”

He adds that Weber’s reaction is fairly typical among they reps they work with. “His reaction meant a lot to us because we just started working with him last year. Typically, we will hear back from the reps and they tell us we didn’t have to do anything for them. But this is just our way of recognizing the contribution they make to our success.”

While gratified and surprised, Weber said more important than the money was the positive reinforcement the gesture offered, and that it will make his agency work extra hard for that distributor in the future. “It was really a very classy move on their part,” he said.