Azione Unlimited Rep/Dealer Relationship Case Study Generates Overwhelming Rep Response

Last week, the widely reported Azione Unlimited press release, YouTube video, and survey about developing an initiative to strengthen Rep/Dealer relationships from dealers ignited passionate responses from 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.

The response from reps was overwhelming. 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 A/V prior to appt 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.

Azione Unlimited Open Discussion Video:
Does the Rep Model Work?

“What suggestions do you have to make meetings with the dealers more productive”

  • Turn off cell phones
  • Ensure proper coverage for meeting attendees so that undivided attention may be given.
  • Show up at scheduled times
  • Invite the right people to the meetings
  • Provide reps with goal list and any issues dealers want covered in advance of the meeting so that concerns/solutions can be researched and answers provided at the meeting instead of after
  • Stay on topic
  • State what you want and need from the meeting
  • Have accurate and factual information regarding sales, issues, damages, problems, concerns, claims, refusals, etc
  • Have job quotes available
  • Know and share timing of future jobs
  • Focus on incremental improvement
  • Confirm needs for meeting (A/V, electrical, etc)
  • Reconfirm meeting two days prior and mention any additional or cancellations to the guest list

“When thinking about your favorite dealer account, what makes them stand out in your mind?”

  • Respectful of rep’s time
  • They ask informative questions without being condescending
  • Gives reasonable objections
  • Pay bills on time
  • Organized
  • They want to be successful
  • Manage their time well
  • They realize we are on the same team, striving for the same goals
  • They treat me with respect
  • Open-minded
  • Flexible
  • Honest
  • Well versed in the products they sell
  • Open line of communication
  • Doesn’t solely care about price, understands intrinsic values when making product decisions
  • Remain loyal to brands
  • Plan ahead, proactive
  • Allow time for/seek out training
  • Not over assorted
  • Express appreciation for good support and service
  • Lives up to commitments

“What is the biggest value you bring to your dealers?”

  • I have extensive product knowledge and am prepared to deliver that knowledge
  • Shorten the path of “resistance” between manufacturer and Dealer
  • Helping them order and sell products with the least amount of time and aggravation, and the highest level of profitability
  • There when they need my assistance, and always are working to make their business more effective
  • Never their wasting their time
  • Always take their needs as a priority
  • The ability to counsel sales, training, marketing and personnel issues from experience, being their advocate with manufacturers
  • Ideas that are working in other accounts and markets
  • Sales knowledge on the sales process which most dealers seem to have forgotten
  • I see what hundreds of dealers are doing right and wrong. I can be a resource for them
  • Industry experience and a desire to grow their business
  • We are their first resort for in field support, and problem resolution
  • Smooth professional handling of orders, questions, RMA’s when needed and willingness to advocate for dealer when manufacturer has erred.
  • Provide problem solving for dealers and end users so they have a great experience with their product
  • Market and product knowledge, as well as “sales” education and promotional ideas

Richard Glikes, President of Azione Unlimited, commented. “This exercise has been illuminating. 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.”

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