Last week, Azione Unlimited issued a YouTube video (embedded below) and survey exploring and developing an initiative to strengthen Rep/Dealer relationships.
According to the Azione, the survey ignited passionate responses from both manufacturers and reps. Many reps expressed the opinion that they did not get a voice in the study. Subsequently, Azione Unlimited constructed a survey for reps to offer suggestions on how dealers and manufacturers could help them perform at a higher level.
Over 75 individuals offered their feedback and insight in a nine-question survey. The results pertaining to the rep-dealer relationship are summarized below. Results of the rep-manufacturer questions as well as the complete 54 page results of the survey will be released next week.
Reps were asked to list five responsibilities dealers have to reps. The responses can be summarized in the following five topics:
· COMMUNICATE. Let reps know about changes in staff (hires and fires), changes in buying habits, return calls/emails within 24 hours, call the rep before calling the manufacturer, be clear on needs so the rep can help you succeed, explain goals and how you plan to get there, tell reps when things are and are not working, advise when adding new lines or of key installations.
· LET US HELP YOU. Accept the training when offered, use manufacturer’s funds, and call immediately with concerns or questions. Dealers have made a huge commitment to a line, allow the rep the time to make sure you can be successful with it.
· BE EFFICIENT. Pay bills on time, submit orders to rep/rep firm directly or if you submit to factory, cc the rep on the order, advise of issues immediately (damages, shortages, etc). The longer dealers wait, the more difficult it may be to solve the problem. Be proactive, not reactive.
· BE RESPECTFUL. A rep’s time is as valuable as a dealer’s time. Keep scheduled appointments, make meetings more productive by arriving on time, leave cell phones off, inviting appropriate people, confirm agendas, set up AV prior to appointment start time, be open minded to new products. Support the reps that support your events and be nice to admin staff.
· BE TRUTHFUL. Follow through on what promises and if it is not possible, tell the rep, offer an honest assessments of sales, forecasts, current business conditions, as well as anticipated business, have facts to back up your problems, know true/accurate numbers, communicate competitive threats to brands, offer honest feedback on what reps can do to help business.
"This exercise has been illuminating," said Richard Glikes, president of Azione. "All parties want the best for one another. I find it rewarding that so many individuals have contributed in such a positive and meaningful way. Our small industry is certainly feisty and not lacking in opinions."