Things I Never Expected

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No matter how long you’ve been around, you can still be surprised.

This Christmas season, several of our brands ran Q4 sales contests and promotions for our dealers. There’s nothing unusual about that, lots of brands run promotions for Q4. It’s Christmas, and you have to make the most of what we always hope will be the busiest quarter of the year.

The first week of November, I was reaching out to my dealers. I asked them for their October sell-through reports. To my surprise one responded, “I can’t generate reports.” At first, I interpreted “I can’t generate reports” as “I don’t know how to generate reports.” So, trying to be helpful, I asked which POS (Point of Sale) software they were using.

They told me. I had never heard of it.

Googling, I see it’s cloud-based or whatever. That’s fine. I gently suggested they contact the POS vendor’s support team to learn how to generate reports and export them to Excel.

“It’s not that” they explained, “We’re using the free trial version. You don’t get reporting unless you subscribe.”
They’re. Running. Their. Company. On. Free. Trial. Software.

I can assure you that’s something I’ve never seen before.

Same quarter, different brand, different sales promotion: The brand was going to award cash prizes each month to the top salespeople in the country. One of our dealers agreed to participate, on one condition: If any of their salespeople won we would not be allowed to publicize it on our social media.

That took everyone by surprise.

When asked why the answer was both simple and, in retrospect, obvious: They did not want competitors to learn who their top-performing salespeople are because then they might try to poach them. I have written here before about the staffing challenges dealers have faced in the last couple of years, so I get where they’re coming from.

It also reminds me of what Richard Nixon said, “Just because you’re paranoid that doesn’t mean you don’t have real enemies.”