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Reps Explore Best Practices

Nearly 100 manufacturer’s representatives and manufacturers gathered for the annual IPRO (Independent Professional Representatives Organization) Conference on October 12-13 in Dallas.

Nearly 100 manufacturer’s representatives and manufacturers gathered for the annual IPRO (Independent Professional Representatives Organization) Conference on October 12-13 in Dallas.

IPRO Board of Directors (l-r): Eric Bodley, Future Ready Solutions; Mike Pawlowski, Atlantic Integrated; Mike Pecar, Mike Pecar Sales; Ray Wright, IPRO; Doug Cuneo, CET & Associates; (front) Frank Culotta, Symco; Robert Scowcroft, Scowcroft & Associates; Dave Humphries, Atlantic Integrated and CEDIA Board Member; Barry Evans, Evans Sales & Marketing; Bill Zidek, Tandem Marketing (not pictured: Buzz Delano)

This year’s conference was titled, “Maximizing Sales and Profits Through People, Process and Relationships.” Because the event was held just prior to the start of the show, it allowed representative principals to attend as well as their sales staff, availing more current market information and valuable input to attendees, noted IPRO Conference chairman Eric Bodley.

“It is so important that reps and manufacturers get together to discuss best practices and how to continually improve our working relationships,” Bodley said.

IPRO’s executive director Ray Wright noted that the conference is the most important benefit offered to IPRO members. “When you have that many smart and experienced people sitting in workshops and roundtable discussions, something wonderful happens, members always comment that these ideas and planning sessions are instrumental in improving the performance and profitability of their companies. CEDIA has made an extensive commitment to IPRO and both industries help to strengthen each other.”

Manufacturers representatives and manufacturers gather at the IPRO Conference in Dallas to further improve relationships and the bottom line for themselves and dealers.

The IPRO annual conference has long been heralded for offering open, no holds-barred discussions in an environment of mutual respect where manufacturers, representatives, and dealers can gain a better understanding of how they can help each other. Discussions such as,” Creating the Process for Higher Sales and Profits” and “How Manufacturers and Representatives Will Meet the Challenge of Today’s Sales Environment,” help attendees get definitive answers on how to reach greater profitability.

Richard Glikes, president of Azione Buying Group, led a spirited discussion on, “Creating the Relationships That Create Higher Sales.” Glikes is an expert at these matters as he has successfully guided Azione to currently having 130 dealers and 42 vendors within four years.

Glikes said that dealers and manufacturers pay IPRO members because they “know what they don’t know.”

Richard Glikes, president of Azione Buying Group

“You have to constantly keep your manufacturers in the loop and be engaged in their brand,” Glikes said to reps in the room. “Your business acumen must be constantly evolving, and you have to stay engaged. Products change and what’s hot now won’t be next year. Your vendors rely on you to give them feedback from the field on what is working and what isn’t. You have to keep your fingers on the pulse for both your dealer/integrators and your manufacturers.”

Some of the key points offered by Glikes were to always do a 30-minute webinar on training a week after the in-facility training. He said that ordering products through a rep’s web site should be as easy as possible and their web site needs to be constantly updated; no blogs from three-years ago. He also suggested offering rewards cards and programs, hosting vendor product events (for example, all of your dealers should be demanding Atmos for their stores), and developing listening skills (get rid of distractions and don’t think about what you are going to say next; always try to ask the right questions.)

Steve Zaboji, Balaton Marketing Inc., checks out the latest fiber optic cable from Tinifiber with Steven Stark from Tinifiber.

Another highlight of the conference was CEDIA’s new CEO Vin Bruno address to the attendees. Bruno���s rally cry was, “We are in the greatest industry, with the greatest people, and CEDIA and IPRO are both integral to the growth and health of our industry. Our ties will only strengthen.”

Dave Humphries, IPRO and CEDIA board of directors member, pointed out that Bruno is committed to working with other organizations and that the IPRO board wanted to maximize attendance by co-locating in Dallas. He was pleased with the results.

“The ongoing CEDIA commitment to build representative growth was evidenced in CEDIA participation in the large IPRO reception Thursday evening that was held at the Omni Hotel…this is an ongoing evolutionary experience of growth,” he said.