Twenty-five years ago I invited two sales reps to my wedding. I didn’t know them before I was working at Toy House. I didn’t know them from outside Toy House. Our relationship in life happened purely through our relationship at the store.
Yes, I’ve been thinking a lot about sales reps. My new job at HABA USA is to help the sales reps do their jobs.
I help them help you help your customers.
Can I ask a favor of you?
Can I ask you to help your reps, too?
Here’s the funny thing … I’ve actually been asking this of you for several years. I did a quick search of my blog and found several posts pertaining to sales reps. They all talk about the same thing—the relationship between you and your reps. Most of them focus on you training your reps to work best for you.
Back in 2011 I wrote, Are Your Reps Coming to You for Training? I had a sales rep who, whenever he picked up a new line that we were carrying, knew to visit us first because he would learn about the line from a retailer’s perspective that would help him sell to other retailers.
A year later I wrote, How Good are Your Sales Reps? Mine were incredibly good for the most part. But we also cultivated the relationship and trained them how we wanted the relationship to go. There are some good tips in here of things you can do to help your reps help you.
Then in 2013 I doubled down with, Sales Reps are People, Too. Do you consider your reps to be employees of your business? Do you you send them thank you cards or gifts at Christmas? This post talks about why you should.
Later that year I posted a pretty good To-Do list in, Treat Your Sales Reps as Partners. I got that title from one of my favorite quotes …
“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.” – Jimmy Stewart
Also buried in that post is the link to this article by Tim Miles … Are Sales Reps Partners? He shows a distinct difference between order-takers and true partners. If you are a sales rep, this is a really good read.
Lastly, I wrote this post last year … Surprise and Delight for Sales Reps showing you ways they can surprise and delight you and ways you can surprise and delight them.
Your sales reps are your partners in your business. They should be bringing you value. If they aren’t bringing you value, the first place to look is at yourself. Have you shown them how they can bring value in the way you want it?
When you build the kind of relationship/partnership you should with your sales reps, you’ll be inviting them to your wedding, too.
PS In my twenty-four years we only “fired” three reps. One of them was so offensive we banned him from ever coming into the store again. The other two barely even wanted to be order-takers and didn’t last long as reps. Mostly, our reps were incredibly hard-working people who spent most of the time on the road and the rest of it on the phone. They want you to be successful because the better you do, the better they do. Show them how to help you and they will.