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8 Reasons To Fire Your Principal

dan-2Sometimes a rep has to do what a rep has do to.

Okay, so now it’s your turn. We have talked enough about making sure that you as a rep make yourself invaluable to your principal. We have gone on ad nausea about the various ways that reps disappoint the companies they represent. So now we are going to switch gears and put that proverbial shoe on the proverbial other foot and talk about when it’s time for you to check out; when it’s time for you to tell your principal that enough is enough and bade him a very pleasant adios amigo.

Sometimes you can pick these things up when you are going through the interview “getting to know you” phase of the relationship. If this is the case. If at any time in the initial stages of the relationship you even come within smelling distance of any of these problems, then get out, do not sign on the line that is dotted, just go away before anything becomes formal.

But as sometimes happens everything is great at the beginning of the relationship but begins to sour along the way don’t be afraid to call it a day.

Here are seven indications that the relationship with your principal is going bad and that you should get out before it gets rotten.

  1. No communications: When the principal, despite your best efforts stops communicating with you it’s time to start wondering what’s going on. This is especially true if at one time you had a great relationship with her. Try to find out what’s going on. Be suspicious, there must have been some sort of change at the company. Try to find out if you did something to offend the principal or if there is just something you don’t know about and should.
  2. Poor service: this is the worst of all things a principal can do to hurt you. When you start seeing Quality issues, late deliveries and worst of all a sort of malaise sets in where the principal really doesn’t seem to care that you are out there dodging bullets while he is back in his shop doing nothing about it, it’s time to start thinking about buying your exit ticket because often especially if the principal will not even listen to you when you try to tell her that things are going to hell in a handbasket, it’s time to exit stage left. Look you are supposed to be spending your time selling not apologizing. Do not hang around with a vendor who is not performing, it’s not worth your time an effort and it’s certainly not worth risking your good name, your reputation by hanging around with a loser.
  3. Losing customers: related to item two, when you start losing customers get out. If you are a multi-line rep, you cannot afford to lose a customer when you are selling other technologies of the same product to those customers. Get out and get out fast.
  4. Know when to fold them: This is a tricky one. Often reps are held hostage because they brought in a big account and are now in danger of losing a commission stream if they leave too soon. There isn’t much you can do about this. When you find yourself in this situation you obviously don’t have the latitude to leave right away if you ever want to see those commissions so all you can do is lay low, do the best you can and quietly make arrangements to leave. If this is a multi-year contract, then try to make the best of a bad thing. This is the one time you can try to reason with the principal. Try to help him get better. Point out to him that he stands to lose the big account you brought in if he doesn’t fix his company. If he listens to you and starts trying to make things better fine. If not, then start finding another company wo can take over your large account because eventually that poor performance is going to affect that account as well and you will lose it. Protect your reputation at all costs. This is not a good time to go down with the ship.
  5. You are being phased out: you can tell when this is happening, you’ll feel a sudden chill in the air. Your contact at the principal will no longer be that nice. You start hearing a lot of “what have you done for me lately”. If these things start to occur and you know you have been doing a good job then start looking for a rat to match with that smell because here is what is happening; either the principal has a new accountant who is pointing out that you are making “too much money”, or they have figured out that one of the customers you brought in is growing like crazy and they want you out of the picture before they start paying you a “small fortune”. Whether you like it or not you are going to be let go contract terminated a victim of your own success. First, remember this scenario when signing a contract because this is why you need to find for a longer termination clause. The second thing you can do is go to the owner of the company and negotiate a fair termination that will give you some kind of parting gift or if all else fails call your lawyer. Sorry there is no good and satisfying end to this situation, this is why you need to choose your principals carefully…very carefully
  6. You’re in shackles: the principal thinks that his company can do everything, every technology, every service every kind of printed circuit boards that money can buy (and he cannot) so that he will not let you have any other lines. Do not ever sign a contract that dictates that you cannot have any other lines of similar but non-competing products, you have to have the latitude to have other non-competing lines that offer different technologies services. Or if you already are in an agreement with a company and they invest in a new technology and now they want you to dump your other line in the same technology, don’t do it. That’s why you have a contract. You should stick to your guns and say you already have someone building that new technology and you are not going to change.
  7. Non-Payment: when the commission checks stop coming be careful. Call the company immediately and find out what is going on. If you get a reasonable answer from the people you have had a long-time relationship with then maybe you can cut them some slack for s little while. But if you get the sense that the ship is sinking then get out, cut your loses you are now officially working for nothing and you cannot afford to do that. Remember you are an unsecured creditor and if that companies goes under you will get next to nothing if anything at all.
  8. And yes, one more always under promise and over deliver; most of these issues can be resolved if you have maintained a close relationship with your principals. Try to keep close to the owner. Make sure you have a great working relationship at all times. One more bit of advice you might consider adding a single clause to the contract that demands that before any termination by either part occurs both parties must meet face to face and have a discussion about the issues on the table. I had a contact like this once and it really worked. We sat down, had a talk, and resolved our differences.

Like everything else if you maintain a good working relationship with your principals, if you stay in touch with them, if your talk frequently these kinds of situations are much less likely to occur. Its only common sense.

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Sales People: Get With Social Media

dan21Sorry, but you cannot keep ignoring marketing or even social media

Remember when we thought it was funny for one of our fellow sales people to say something like,” no I don’t know how to “twit” or “tweet” or “twitter”, or whatever these kids are doing these days.” Or something like, “What is the point of this Linkedin thing anyway? What is that MyPage for business people?” And “I don’t have time for stuff like that, that’s just for the kids. That’s a fad anyway, it will be just a memory next year at this time, I’m not going to waste my time with that.” And then, we would all laugh, agree with the speaker, and order another beer. Remember those days? Well guess what? That kind of prideful ignorance is no longer cool, and if you want to succeed as a sales person today, and in the future, you’d better catch on to these “newfangled notions”. You’d better figure out exactly what Linkedin is, especially Linkedin, and learn how to effectively use it.

More people than ever, like say millions and millions of people, are using Linkedin for all facets of their business, from developing leads, to finding key people, to connecting with the right people, those they need to be doing business with. Linkedin has become the single most powerful sales tool available today on the market today.

And Twitter, that’s right it’s called Twitter, and what you do is Tweet, is almost as powerful. Go ahead and try it, send out something like” # (your company name) is the best metal backed fabricator in the industry” and watch what happens. Actually, probably not much, since you just learned how to say Twitter. But go to your IT guy or someone younger than you, which is just about anyone else in the company, I’m sure, someone who has been Tweeting long enough to have developed a strong following and have them Tweet that same thing, and you’ll see what can happen with the right Tweet to the right audience.

Which leads me to another, not unrelated, subject which is content development and distribution. The best companies are doing it, the smart companies are doing it. And now it’s up to you to get on the content bandwagon. You must start writing articles, columns, blogs, technical bulletins, even books and Micro-books about your company, especially its’ expertise. You should be doing everything you can to get your name out into the market, and the best way to do that is to write some informative valuable, content highlighting what your company does best.

By the way, you do not have the luxury of saying you and the rest of your management team are not writers, Nope, that will not fly. You must find a way to get your company on a regular content producing course and that content out to your marketplace. Find a way to do this. Hire a writer to help you with content-carrying media. Develop a regular content-producing schedule for your company. It’s not that difficult and here’s why…the neat thing about content is that you can re-purpose it for all your needs.

Let’s say your company has been fabricating large memory cards for many years, chances are this make you and your company experts on memory card technology. Now, develop a monthly column where each month you will write a new column of a different fact of the memory card business. Here are some examples of column subjects: What to look for in a Memory card fabricatorTen fundamentals that each memory card designer needs to know. Or, The future of memory card technology. You get the idea; and then publish these columns every single month in a trade magazine such as this one, and you will soon be considered an expert in this field.

Now, here’s the good part; you take each one of these columns and post it on Linkedin thus widening the circulation. To make sure that as many people as possible see it, write three related tweets each time a new column comes out driving more people to read the column. Condense the column into shorter blogs and distribute those with your Word Press blog. And if you get even more ambitious put out a newsletter every month featuring your column and other information about your company, always positioning your company as the expert in large memory cards. Before you know it that single monthly column has become a message carrier carrying your company’s message to hundreds if not thousands of interested potential customers.

And that’s not all…wait there’s more, your SEO people will then take all this content and blast it all over the internet making sure you get the coveted high Google ranking, showing up on the first page on any Google search looking for large memory boards.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. “What the heck is SEO? Well I think we’ve had enough for one day. We’ll talk about that next week. Stay tuned. It’s only common sense

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Stories From The PCB Sales Frontlines

Dan - booksDid you ever live through something that was so insane, and so stupid that you couldn’t believe it was happening right before your very eyes? I have, and many times. But I’m no different from anyone who has sold PCBs, or anyone who’s spent years in our industry, for that matter.

Then, late at night when PCB sales teams get together with just enough brews to lubricate their tongues, they begin to tell their stories, these tales of terror they experienced over their years on the circuit board trails. So, let’s reach into the vault and pull out a few of these gems.

Are you ready? Remember, these are all true stories.

I once worked with a company whose management did not believe in shipping on time. They made an almost justifiable argument that the customers did not really care of if they got their boards today or tomorrow. They claimed that on-time delivery was well over-rated and that they got along just fine without the bother of being on time. One of the managers was even emboldened to say, “Look, no one is calling us about it, so the customers must be OK, right?” That company went from $9 million in revenue to $4 million to $ 2 million and then, poof! Just like that, they were gone. They were right about one thing: no one was calling them anymore.

Then there was the company that decided to “re-engineer” their entire organization. Certainly an admirable endeavor, that. The only problem was that they shut down their entire operation and spent their days with all of their key people in a conference room, debating about where to put the semicolon in the mission statement. Meanwhile, the phones rang and rang, their customers could not get their boards quoted, built, or delivered. They went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy and then straight to Chapter 7 and died and very quick and sudden death. But I think they might have got that mission statement done, though.

Then there is the board shop owner whose motto was, “We’re not worse than anyone else.” I am not kidding.

Then there was the director of engineering who grew tired of hearing the sales team complain about the company’s poor quality and delivery. He stood up and yelled, “Why don’t you guys just shut up and go sell boards that we can build here?”

To which some smart ass director of sales (who shall remain nameless) responded, “Oh, like overpriced, poor quality boards that are always late?”

You can’t make this stuff up.

Oh, and let’s not forget that company president who was having a hard time booking enough business, so he decided he needed to have a lay-off. He let his entire sales team go. Actually, more than one company can lay claim to this story

Or, did you hear the one about the company that hated its customers so much that they got together every day to have a bitching session about them? They even went so far as holding an election to vote for the absolute worst customer. Have you heard that one?

Just one more, I promise. This is getting to be sadistic, I know. There was a company that insisted that those four-layer boards they were quoting were really $1,200 each, even though the last time they built them the price had been $80, because the new system was spewing a new price of $1,200 each!

Yes, I promise you these are all true stories. Some of them I have heard from other people, while others I have lived through myself. Ah, the good old days.

But there is a glimmer of hope: Not one of these stories is more recent than 15 years ago. Most of them occurred in the late ‘90s. I am happy to report that times have changed, and we are all getting a little bit better. Most board shops of today are better-run than the ones cited in these horror stories, and most board shops try to be the best they can be at all times. Most board shops try to provide their customers with everything they need to be successful. They try to service their customers to the best of their ability…at all times.

But then again, when I say most board shops today, I mean the fewer than 200 that are left in the US. Over 1,000 US board shops have gone out of business. Could the aforementioned bad actors bear some responsibility for that turn of events? Hmmm…I wonder.

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Think Different

dan-7Remember when Steve Jobs came back to save Apple from the brink of disaster, and the first thing he did was launch an ad campaign that featured people who changed the world by thinking differently? He featured famous people from Bob Dylan to Albert Einstein to John Lennon and many others all of them bright, passionate, creative, and most importantly fearless when it came to pioneering a new way of approaching things.

Remember the quote? “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holds.

The ones who see things differently. They are not fond of rules. And they have no respect for status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy”

What did you think when you heard this for the first time? Do you remember what it felt like to see some of your long-time heroes like Gandhi and Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Ted Turner, Maria Callas, Mohandas Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Martha Graham, Jim Henson (with Kermit the Frog), Frank Lloyd Wright and others, all of them people who left their mark not only in their own profession but in the world as well?

So, what about those of us in sales? What can we do to think different? What can we do to go where no other sales person has ever gone before? Doing things that no other sales person has dared to do before. Yes, what about us? Why are we stuck in the same old rut when we could think different and fly higher than anyone before us ever has?

What is stopping us from daring to dream? From wanting to be the best there ever was?

Nothing, that’s what, nothing is stopping us, in fact most of us are in a position to exceed anything we have ever done before; and exceed what anyone else has ever done before. There is no better time to soar, there is no better time to be the best that you can be.

I can tell you from personal, hands on experience that you do not have to worry about your management, your company owners, and presidents, and sales managers standing in your way. In fact these people are dying to see their salespeople do something extraordinary. They would love to see their sales people come up with new, creative, and innovative ways to win more business. They would give their eye teeth to have even one of their sales people fired up enough to set sales records this year. They would be enthralled to have even one member of their sales team break through that self-created ceiling of “doing everything the way it has always been done” and do something new.

I know, because in my job I work with company leaders, and the biggest complaint of frustration I hear from all of them is that their sales people are just not excited about what they are doing. Instead of coming up with ways to think differently and finding new ways to gain new customers and increase their territory sales most sales are caught up in a quagmire of excuses of why they cannot make their numbers. most of the time they focus on what the company can do for them so that they could make their numbers rather than any creative ideas they could come up with on the road to success.

The sales managers I talk to are pulling their hair out at the lack of originality, creativity, and outright ambition many (not all mind you) but many of their sales people exemplify.

There is no good reason for this. So, what if we have been in the business for a long time? So, what if we feel we have tried everything and nothing has worked? So, what if the competition is unfair and our customers only want to buy on price? These are only a bunch of excuses. A great sales person will always find a way. A great sales person will look at the cards she has been dealt and find a way to transform them into a winning hand.

I want to challenge every sales person reading this column today to start thinking differently. To start looking at the world differently. I challenge you to start spending at least 30 minutes a day just sitting quietly, thinking up ways to do things better than anyone else is doing them.

Do I hear you say you need some stimulation? That’s easy, there is plenty to go around. Read a sales book. Watch a sales video on YouTube. Watch some videos of Steve Jobs, or Tom Peters, or Seth Godin and get inspired to greatness. There is only one person who can make you a great sales person and it’s that person that you see in the bathroom mirror every morning. Have a talk with that person tomorrow morning and convince him or her to think different. Its only common sense.

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8 Ways To Prospect For New Accounts

dan-2We all know that companies must grow or they will die. The same thing applies to rep firms. You must keep growing your business, adding new customers, and increasing your sales, or you too will die. Too many times reps will find three or four major customers and then rely on them for their income going forward. Not only is this a very bad move, but it also drives their principals crazy. I can’t count the number of times my clients have told me that they can’t get their reps to find new business any more. They say something like, “sure they have brought us a couple of good accounts and we are all making money on those, but now I can’t get them to find me some new accounts. They have not brought in a new account in two years!” This is an extremely bad scenario but unfortunately one that is often true. If you are a rep and you find yourself in this example you’d better do something about it because this is the number one reason that rep firms are terminated from long-time contracts. The principals, growing increasingly impatient with the lack of activity on the part of their reps end up cutting them lose. Don’t let this happen to you.

Being a sales representative means that you are always out there selling. You’re a sales repafter all

To help you out a little, here are seven ways to prospect for new accounts;

  1. Who are you looking for: You have to know what you are looking for in a customer. This should not be that hard, examine who your principals are what they sell and that will tell you the kind of companies and technologies to target.
  2. Create an ideal customer profile: Once you have determined what type of companies you service and what their technology requirements are, develop an ideal customer profile. This profile will include be made up of customer characteristics such as: Technology, service, market, value for your services, ease of doing business with, and a number of others. (I can send you a complete ideal customer profile development form if you would like on, just email me at danbbeaulieu@aol.com).
  3. If you are a smart rep you’ll have a portfolio of a number of non-competing lines selling different technologies of the same basic product, this is a good thing because it allows you to get more bang for your prospecting buck. One potential customer could need more products from more than just one of your lines. A company that buys PCBs for example could have a need to everything from Military rigid PCBs to Flex and Rigid Flex boards to Heavy copper boards. Which means that you can sell them a complete PCB solution using two or three of your lines.
  4. The approach: One you have decided which type of customers you are going to target the next step is match those types with real companies. By going online, with surprisingly little effort you can find the companies you want to target by matching their needs with the ideal customer profile template you have developed. By doing this you will develop your list of target accounts
  5. Warming up a cold call: the next step is to approach these targets. You could call them directly but I recommend doing a little more prep work before you do that. Develop an e-mail newsletter specifically focused on those companies you have targeted. Send two or three of these over a month-long period. After a while you’ll pick up a trend of who is opening these e-mails and reading them and from that list you can send a very specific e-mail newsletter outlining how you can help them fill their specific PCB needs, this is what we call warming up the cold call.
  6. The cold call: or in your case the nicely warmed up call. By now they know your name, they know who your and have a good idea what you have to offer. This is the time to call and set up your live meeting. You will be pleasantly surprised how much easier this will be now that you did all your prep work.
  7. The big meeting: yes that first appointment. Once again preparation is key. Research the company and find out everything you can about them so that you are fully prepared when you make that first sales call. Make a call plan and write down what you want to get out of this sales call. In many cases all you’re going to do is establish rapport with the person you are meeting; and your goals should be to learn about his company and their needs. Try to ask more questions than you answer in other words shut up and listen. For that first meeting to be successful you have to get two things: first what are that target company’s PCB needs and second what do you have to do to win their business and oh yes there is one more, get a commitment for the next step. Once you leave the meeting make a summary of all that you covered including any commitments that the buyer made to you and send this to her in an email.
  8. Follow up in a way that goes beyond the normal follow up that the buyer is expecting. Send her a book or an article about something the she talked about and that pertains to her job or her company. That way you are completing that circle of engagement on two fronts, the first business as usual on a vendor/customer basis, while the second front establishes the engagement on a more equal partnership basis which is the way you want to go and grow all great customer relationships.

It’s only common sense.

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There Is Only One Way To Succeed And That Is To Always Give It Your Best

Dan - another pathOne of my favorite sayings is “when you wake up in the morning if you are not ready to change the world, then don’t bother to get out of bed.” Do you ever think about changing the world? Do you ever think about being the best you can be…the best in the business? This kind of thinking represents the way champions think. People who are destined to greatness. People who don’t wait for luck to hit them in the head, but rather go out and work as hard as they can; and if luck meets up with them along the way, then all the better.

Greatness in everything we do is intentional. Think about the top people in your field, and you’ll notice some distinct characteristics that you will see in all of them. Things that make them stand head and shoulders over the rest of the crowd.

I thought it might be fun and interesting to list some of the most prominent characteristics of the best people in their fields.

  1. Determination: The are determined to be great. The are always focused on being the best in everything they do.
  2. Focus: They can focus on the right things that have to be done. They are never distracted by “ground noise” but rather can always keep their eye on the prize.
  3. They stay in their lane: They don’t care what is going on around them. You will never catch them hanging around the proverbial water cooler whining about this or that that is “keeping them” from doing their job.
  4. They do not believe in excuses. Because they are so good at planning everything that they take into consideration anything that could go wrong. And most importantly if something does go wrong, they take full responsibility for it, solve it, and it move on.
  5. They play their own hand. They play with the cards they have in front of them and never spend time wishing they had been dealt better cards.
  6. They don’t waste time. Everything they do has a purpose. They are extremely efficient with their time making sure that they make every minute count.
  7. They never wing it. The realize the importance of planning. The plan well and then they follow the plan to the letter. They never adlib during a sales call but rather know what they are going to say as well as what they want to get out of that meeting.
  8. They don’t care about outside forces, from weather, to economy to natural disasters, they rise above all these distractions and focus on what needs to be done and most importantly what they can do and what they can control.
  9. They have confidence. They know that if they do everything, right they will win out in the end. They go around with this quiet confidence that all winners seem to have.
  10. They never worry about what people say about them, because they have the confidence of their convictions and will always be sure of themselves.
  11. The are dedicated to their craft and are always studying, reading, learning to improve themselves.
  12. They are not afraid of good old fashioned hard work, because they know if they work hard today the rewards will be great tomorrow.
  13. They are impeccably honest. Always telling the truth not matter how painful it is. They are not afraid to deliver bad news, and suffer the consequences because they know that in the end the customers will appreciate their honesty and truthfulness.
  14. They always take the long view; and are willing to sacrifice today for their reward tomorrow.
  15. They never speak poorly of their competition no matter how tempting it might be. They believe in always taking the high road always.
  16. They treat everyone as they themselves, would want to be treated…no exceptions.
  17. They are always extremely polite, and courteous, with impeccable manners. Making sure that they are remember for their kindness and regard for other people.
  18. They never take shortcuts. Always, instead, doing things the right way. The only way that will help them achieve their goals.
  19. They are always on time, believing that tardiness is the first sign of incompetence.
  20. They always turn in their reports, quotes, forecasts on time, and always perfectly executed.
  21. They are always willing to help others. Sometime even their competitors, if is for a good common cause.

And finally, they are just plain good people, people who are fun to be around. People who make other people feel safe and most importantly well cared for. So how do you rank? Did you see yourself in these characteristics? If you did then congratulation you are well on your way to an exemplary career in sales. If not, well, its not too late to mend your ways. Start doing it today. It’s only common sense.

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7 Ways To Make Your Principals Brag About You

dan-3If you’re a rep the best way to be successful is to have your principals love you. Sad as it may seem I almost never hear principals bragging about having a great rep. In fact, instead, I hear horror story after horror story about how reps aren’t doing anything, they are not bringing in the right stuff, they are hard to find when they are being signed and even harder to find after they are signed. Most of the calls I get from companies looking for reps are by people who are completely dissatisfied with their current reps. Of course, there is another side to this story and We all know that very well, but let’s agree to leave that for another day. For now, let’s focus on what you can do as a rep to become a great rep, a rep your principals love, one that they will be happy to brag about.

Actually, this is an opportunity where if you are ambitious and serious about being a great rep, an outstanding rep, you can really shine. These seven tips I am about to give you are quite straightforward and things you should be doing for yourself anyway. So if you’re doing these things already great, if not, get started today.

  1. Accountability: Always be accountable to your principals as well as to yourself. Plan and measure everything you do. Plan, create milestones and get things done. Do what you say and say what you do. If you promise someone something, then do it. In the end that’s all accountability is.
  2. Reporting: Yes, reporting. I know that some of you chose to be reps to get away from all of that “bureaucracy”, but good solid reporting is important when you are in a business partnership as you are with your principals. And good reporting is also important when you have your own business as well. Your principals have resigned themselves to the fact that reps don’t write reports; so just think how outstanding they’ll think you are if you do in fact write reports. These don’t have to be fancy just simple updates of what is going on with your customers and what you are doing about it. The principals just want to know that you’re out there doing something for them so why not prove it by giving them a written report every couple of weeks?
  3. Communications: It’s all about communication, staying in touch with both you customers and most importantly your principals. As stated above give them a written report. Set up a call with them at least twice and month and then invite them out to your territory to visit your customers and see what is going on for themselves. And don’t forget the Godfather’s number one rule when it comes to communications, “deliver good news quickly; deliver bad news even Immediatly”.
  4. Meetings: I know we all hate meetings but you should have them. If the principal doesn’t set up regular meetings, then you do it. Have at least one formally scheduled phone meeting with each of your principals a month, or even more frequently. Plan on having a face to face annual meeting with the companies you represent. And if they are smart enough to hold an annual sales meeting then make sure you are there.
  5. Ride alongs: Invite your principals into your territory at least twice a year if not more. They need to come in and talk to their customers directly. You need to have time to meet with them on a face to face basis as well. Make sure these territory visits are well planned and full of important meetings. Arrange meal meetings where the customer and his vendor (your principal) get to break bread and know one another better. Make the time you spend with your principals as productive as possible. Plan so there are no cancellations; and create a back-up plan in case there are. And for heaven’s sake don’t get lost on the way to visit a customer with your principal in the car that will do nothing but raise all kinds of doubts in her mind as to how often you actually visit your/their customers.
  6. Prospecting and lead generation. Yes, sorry you have to do that. It’s all part of the game if you want to be in sales you have to always be selling. One of the complaints I hear about reps is that they get one or two big accounts and they stop selling; the stop hunting and start farming. If you want to grow your business you should grow your account base and the only way to do that is through prospecting and lead generation. Develop a good lead generation plan. Use your marketing to “warm up” those cold calls. Make a list of viable target accounts and then develop a plan to go after them. Send them e-mails with follow up phone calls. Perfect your sales pitch. Fill your sales funnel and then work your way to that first quote and then to that first order and take it from there. The more active you are when it comes to lead generation the more delighted your principals will be. And by the way your business will grow exponentially as well.
  7. Forecasting: I know I can hear you groaning all the way from here but spry you do have to forecast it is part of the deal if you’re in sales and it is also part of the deal if you are in sales. It’s not that difficult. List your current customers, figure out what they did the past couple of years and what you think they are going to do next year. Do the same with your target accounts. Figure out how much of your type of business they do in a year and then predict how much you can win. Put this data into a time-lined month to month excel sheet and you have your forecast not only for the year but for each month at well. Personally, I don’t know how anyone can own a rep firm and be in sales and not have a forecast. By the way my, your principals will not only love you…they will adore you if you give them a forecast for the coming year.

And one more, always under promise and over deliver do some marketing for your principals. Apply your marketing ideas to their business as well. Help them to get their names out, their capabilities known in your territory as well. I promise you no matter who your principals are they have never had a rep do something like this for them and yes you’ll have them bragging about you. It’s only common sense

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