Behind every great home theater company is a great sales rep making his job just a little bit easier.
I work very closely with a sales rep from J & G Audio, named Gary Cullen. Not only is Gary one of my top supporters, but he has aided me and my business from the beginning. When I was trying to make the transition from distribution to going direct, Gary gave me the opportunity to sell very reputable brands when everyone else was declining me.
I was lucky find a rep that is reliable and trustworthy. I can call him any time, with any product need, and he will do everything he can to make it happen for me. He provides me with a level of customer service that allows me to, in turn, reciprocate that level of service to my customers.
When indecisive clients continuously change their product needs while you are trying to work with a deadline, wouldn’t you want to have someone in your corner that you could count on to immediately make that change for you without long hold times and a million phone transfers? I know I do. In one phone call am confident that the changes are made and the product is on its way.
The author works very closely with a sales rep from J & G Audio, named Gary Cullen (pictured, right). Not only is Gary one of his top supporters, but he has aided him and his business from the beginning.
Besides allowing you to effortlessly put out fires with customers, reps serve many other purposes. Reps are usually the first to find out about the newest product lines and are always willing to set up trainings for you and your teams. Pick their brains, because can be pools of knowledge. They not only work with all of the product lines, but other installers as well. They can provide you with positive and negative feedback from other installers to help guide you to the best decisions for your jobs. It’s like troubleshooting without having to make your own mistakes. In some cases reps will even accompany you on jobs to speak on behalf of product lines and help you seal the deal with a potential new client. Not all reps sell all the products, of course, but a great rep will make you WANT to sell the products that his company offers. And, visa versa, a bad rep can turn you off, forcing you to work with another product line.
What qualities make a good rep? The great reps treat everyone equally. No one’s business is more important than another (even though we want them to make us feel like ours is.) The best reps also answer calls or return messages quickly. Like I said before, my favorite rep makes life so much easier by being reachable. The time spent waiting for a call back could be the time wasted and a job lost.
The best reps follow our businesses and fight for our success. Some brands put caps on how many companies can offer their brand, but the best reps put in a good word if they believe we can do it. It feels good when a rep remembers our individual jobs and passes on encouragement or suggestions. This shows that they care about our business on a personal level and strengthens the relationship and our loyalty to them.
With the economy hitting a downward spiral the way that it has been, companies are cutting positions to save money and, unfortunately, reps are often on the chopping block. But why, I ask, would you want to cut the strongest tie that you have with your clients? Cutting one rep position could end a working relationship with at least 20 different firms. Losing your reps would change the whole dynamic of the business.
I know, from my personal experience, that my rep makes me feel like I am the only account he has (even though I know that is not the case), and he recognizes my loyalty is to him.
As integrators (and manufacturers) need to realize just how valuable these men/women are to not only our businesses, but to our industry as a whole.
Todd Anthony Puma is president of The Source Home Theater Installation in New York City. To read about one of his recent projects for a Wall St. broker client, click here.