Friday, 11 May 2012

Golden rules for sales reps

If there’s one topic that independent kitchen and bathroom retailers tend to agree on it’s the level of service offered by sales reps in the industry. But instead of lambasting them and decrying their lack of professionalism, we’ve decided to lend a hand to the much-maligned rep.
We’ve created a list of handy hints and tips to help them improve their service. And who better to ask then those on the frontline…kitchen and bathroom retailers, themselves! Here’s what they had to say... but please feel free to add your own comments. We will be featuring our top tips for sales reps in Kitchens & Bathrooms News.

Do what you say you are going to do
This sounds simple but is arguably the easiest guideline to overlook. If you say you’re going to call – call. If you say you’ll email the information over – do it. Peter Hill says: “Its rule no 1; and by the way should apply to politicians as well - actually do what you say you are going to do”. It builds a level of trust with kitchen and bathroom retailers and then should an issue arise, the showrooms know you’ll be able to fix it. Don’t become complacent with the relationship

Call in advance
‘I was just in the area and thought I’d pop in’ is a common bugbear of kitchen and bathroom retailers. They are business people too and can be busy with a customer, on the phone sorting out issues, or even out on site. Call first to arrange a meeting and then they’ll be able to spend time with you.

Be prepared
There’s something in that Boy Scout message. ‘I feel just like they are ticking a customer visit box’ is a frequent complaint. So, plan your visit before you go, with information relevant to that particular retailer – rather than plying them with product brochures. Work smarter.

Know your customer
Which neatly brings us onto – how well do you know your customer? What are their business aims and objectives? Who are they trying to appeal to? Which of your products do they have on display? What displays are working for them and more importantly, which aren’t? All of which will help you better tailor your customer visits and make them feel special to your company.

Provide advice
…And if you know your retailer and what they are trying to achieve, you will be better placed to offer advice. If a similar-style showroom in your area, targeting a similar clientele, has found success with a product, promotion, type of display, then share that information. Help independent kitchen and bathroom retailers develop their business. PHS Bathrooms says: “Bring positive marketing ideas to us, so the big companies can direct the customers to the right showrooms quicker and better”.

Be positive
When times are challenging, no showroom wants to hear ‘it’s tough out there’, particularly if they are doing well. PHS Bathrooms says: “Reps like a bit of negativity, especially after a long car drive. Sometimes they forget they get paid commission if we do well”. So as ELO once sang “Don’t bring me down”.

Take ownership
If there is an issue between showroom and manufacturer – take ownership. Don’t get tied up in delivery order numbers Remove the burden from retailers and allow them to continue selling in what is a tough market.

But to balance these views, we also want to hear from manufacturers, sales agents, and reps - so we can compile top tips for retailers..

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