Are your representatives helping your customers grow their business or aren’t they? Otherwise excellent companies can be adversely affected by a salesperson’s laziness. I wonder if lackluster sales representatives aren’t getting the training, guidelines, oversight or proper incentive to be ambitious. Maybe they aren’t lazy at all, but misguided by a manager who doesn’t recognize the importance of using their sales force to help their customers succeed.

Maybe they are encouraged to devote more time to finding new clients than to servicing existing ones. They spend their days with your dealers’ competitors, plying them with incentives to switch brands, instead of helping your loyal customers increase purchases.

Of course, the effort to use new technology may also be taking manufacturer representatives out of the loop.

Some companies are substituting electronic customer support for traditional customer service. They don’t use their sales force to restock literature, update display samples, support marketing, service the end consumer or provide year-to-date purchase information. Their salespeople aren’t charged with notifying customers of product change, discontinuations, price increases or discounts. They aren’t responsible for teaching dealers the features and benefits of new product offerings, expediting orders or solving problems in the field.

Instead, these companies strictly depend on email blasts, newsletters and PDF files available on the dealer extranet. I can assure those companies the Internet and extranet can be beneficial, but cannot replace an industrious salesperson.

The hardworking salesperson maintains customers in ways that increase the bottom line for all concerned. The salesperson’s success is predicated upon the dealers’ success and, not coincidently, also improves the employers’ bottom line.

Perhaps the greatest asset of a company is its customer list. Past customers are the only ones who can give repeat business, testimonials, references, referrals and performance feedbackHow a manufacturer’s sales representative interacts now with dealers and the end consumer will increase or decrease future revenue.

Still, I am amazed by the inconsistency of attendance shown by salespeople employed to represent a company to customers. Every sales representative should be indispensable to customers in an economic climate that continues to be competitive, but too often loyal dealers and end consumers have absentee representation from the manufacturer and its suppliers.

What are your representatives doing today to improve your customers’ business tomorrow?

“Laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him.”

Benjamin Franklin

1 Comment

  1. I could not agree more with all that is written here. A sales staff should not have the reputation of just being brochure boys and nothing else. A salesperson willing to get out in the field and engage the customer with confidence will soon find general or common issues that can be shared or addressed across the whole customer base. The salesperson can be educated by their company, customers, or self education on how to fix problems and then help customers. The salesperson is then seen as a valued asset not an X-Box junky.

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