Some office supplies salesman are born with superhero genes

Posted on May 3 2011 - 2:20pm by Peter Millikin


If part of your job role is purchasing office supplies you will know there are many of office supplies companies wanting your business in the current economy. Many suppliers still hit the phones and promise buyers they can save around 20 -30% on supplies before they even know what they currently pay for stuff. Salesman with superhero genes still exist!

The reason many salesman are so confident in being able to save you such a large amount of money is they know the high margins they make from their existing customers (not new business customers as they need to LOOK cheap)

Supplier will want to make around 35-40% profit from as many stationery accounts as possible so who better than to do this with accounts they already have good relationships with. Is your existing supplier making lot’s of profit from you?

With NEW BUSINESS prospects suppliers are fare more generous on discounts so making high margins early on is not so important. But rest assured it won’t be long before your account starts making them money so buyers will have to stay on the ball. Quick profits can be made by replacing branded for non branded products and other product swapping tactics.

Unlike most products we all tend to buy on a daily basis like bread, milk etc many of us don’t know how much stationery products cost. Would you know how much is a lever arch file is? 10p – 50p – £1 -£2 or £3!

What you pay for individual items like lever arch files is neither here nor there really as it comes down to your total stationery or office supplies spend. The supplier’s software helps them work out the profits they need to make from ALL the products you buy from them. If an item you don’t buy many of can be charged at a high price they can make the lever arch file look like it only is costing you 10p. Believe me it’s very complicated until you work with a supplier who is OPEN, HONEST and UPFRONT about the margins they make from you.

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Read about the Author

Peter has received many accreditation's including many from the Times Online. As founder of You Could Save (2005) and What Stationers (2007) Peter regularly helps consumers and national organisation ‘save money’. He believes that the only successful way to bring people together online is to provide an open marketplace where people can all work together in a friendly, unbiased environment. You can contact Peter Millikin either through his Google+ account or via his websites.

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3 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. James Smith May 4, 2011 at 12:13 am -

    “Supplier will want to make around 35-40% profit” Indeed this maybe true of the larger Office Products dealer. This may sound a lot, but you must remember the cost of processing and logistics of low value stationery items is not minimal. I’m sure you would not be willing to work for nothing!

    Would you be willing to pay cost plus 30% or even cost plus 20% for your copier paper, or even your EOS (Ink and Toner cartridge)?

    The stationery industry is one of the most saturated and competitive industries in the UK, to imply that dealers are over charging, even existing customers, quiet simply is wrong. Healthy competition is what drives prices down.

  2. Blogger May 4, 2011 at 10:46 am -

    I agree that suppliers (not just office supplies) need to make a healthy profit if they want to maintain good service and continue trading. The point I was making was the pricing difference between new business deals and existing account prices can be huge whatever industry you’re in.

    One example is my AA automatic renewal this year. As a customer/valued member it was £141.00. As a “new business” the same breakdown cover was £70.00. As a valued member the main difference was I was able to save money on a range of other products including savings on hotels, insurance, maps and UK attractions.

    I was not implying dealers were over charging I was merely suggesting that when your purchasing goods you need to understand the deal in its entirety and then you can see if you’re getting value for money.

  3. James Smith May 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm -

    Yes indeed, reminds me of that building society television advert, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H–tdhf1DPg

    Brand new customers only!

    As you say, this practice appears to becoming the “norm”!

    Great blog, really enjoying your posts.

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