Maybe I am biased. My sales reps are for the most part pretty good. Maybe it is because I am a big account in this territory. Maybe it is because we just have good reps in our area. Maybe I am just lucky. But I get frustrated when I hear other retailers complaining about their reps.
Sure, there are some bad reps in my industry, probably in your industry, too. But I believe they are only bad because you have not trained them well.
Yes, it is your job to train your sales reps to do exactly what you want them to do. Do you want them to straighten the department? Do an inventory for you? Make suggestions of best sellers? Steer you away from duds? Communicate quickly and efficiently? Accurately place orders and follow up on them? Handle problems with shipments, problems with defects, problems with billing errors?
Let me ask you. Do you…
Explain in detail your expectations of your reps? Reply to every one of their emails even if just to say, “Thanks, I got it.”? Show them how you want inventory or merchandising to be done? Explain your product philosophy in detail so that they know what products will and won’t pass your scrutiny? Keep them informed of how their products are (or are not) selling? Give them details of what you expect once an order is placed (confirmation of order? confirmation of shipping?)? Keep them in the loop when there are problems by cc’ing them all emails to the company? Make sure they get commissions on your show order when they stop in but you would rather drop off the order at the booth to get the special?
I work with rep groups, independent reps, and in-house reps. For the most part I know our reps well. We talk about family and life sometimes more than we talk about business. And even though they may get paid by the vendors, I consider them to be employees of my store. And since I am responsible for training my sales staff to do their job the way I want it done, I am also responsible for training my sales reps to do their job the way I want it done.
If you are not getting the kind of sales representation you want, you have every
right responsibility to train your reps to do it the right way, your way. After all, you are the customer.
PS I challenge you to re-read this blog, only replace “sales reps” with your sales staff and consider “you” to be your customers. Food for thought… Are you doing things the way your customers want it done?