How Not To Be A Manufacturer’s Rep

sales repLast week I was talking with a rep I had just met from another channel. He mentioned that he had been employed with the manufacturer for almost four years now.

These days that makes him a rarity on two counts: working directly for a manufacturer rather than a distributor or agent, and holding the same position for more than a year or two.

That also tells me that my new friend is clearly good at his job.

I’m convinced that the reason so many rep jobs on the manufacturing and distribution side seem like their offices have revolving doors is because many reps just don’t do a very good job.

Their income suffers, and they either quit, or are let go, and the cycle continues.

When I think of all the great reps I’ve done business with in my years on the dealer and retail side they all have a lot in common: They all promptly answered their phone calls or emails, they were always honest with me and they always looked like they genuinely loved their jobs.

Conversely, I’ve known far too many reps at whom I cringe when I think of how poor they were at their job.

Just one example of many: Years ago, the retailer I worked for had a long weekend sale where the focus brand was Sony. A Sonypalooza, if you will.

Our regional accounts Sony representative wasn’t going to be available so he called in a favor of one of the national account reps and asked her to spend the weekend in our store supporting our salespeople.

It wasn’t much of a favor.

See related  Communications and Client Management 

Aside from being grumpy and not all that interested in demonstrating product knowledge, for some reason she felt compelled to tell customers, “This isn’t my account.” I heard her say that at least a dozen times that Saturday.

Newsflash: Customers don’t care whose account the retailer is. You’re there. You work for the brand. The store is selling your brand. Customers are buying your brand. Do your job and support your brand.

I keep that experience in mind on those occasions when I support our national accounts: I support them, I do my best, and I enjoy myself.