|Posted on July 20, 2010 at 9:44 AM|
You all know the drill: the manufacturer’s rep comes around to have The Talk (which is only slightly less awkward than “the talk” your dad tried to have with you. Mine took place in a hot tub in Bakersfield, California. Other than it was near sunset and it was just my dad and I, I have repressed the rest. Since Lauryn, came along, I'm guessing I got the gist of it...). Invariably, it goes something like this:
“Hey, I’ve been looking over your numbers for the year and, oh boy. Well, to be honest, they’re down quite a bit. Actually to here (pointing to a number on a spreadsheet that is barely hovering above the bottom of a page.)
“Now we’d really like to see you more up here” (pointing to a fictional spot near the top of the page that could either by the GDP of a European country or the answer to some Hawking-esque theoretical equation).
You are forced to just stand there going, “Um-hmm, yeah, business has been slow. You know, we’re in a downturn, and we’re just doing our best to hang on and send you all the business we can. Blah, blah, blah.”
Then, in a great magnanimous display of teamwork, the rep offers, “You know, I really don’t want to look at signing on any new accounts. I don’t. So, what can we do to help your business?”
If you own a CI firm, you’ve lived this. And if you enjoy these little repartees, then you probably also love the rush of getting a Brazilian wax or that special, left arm tingle at the outset of a massive heart attack. For most of us, these talks just suck, and aren’t really productive in the least. And while many companies make the rounds and say they want to help, not many of them actually do anything about it. Just because you want us to sell more doesn’t mean that is going to just magically happen. Want to know how you can help my numbers? Make a better product. Make it available only to me (ie limited distribution and no online). And then offer my customer a killer incentive to buy it.
I had a great experience with Runco recently that hit all of these points....
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