Message from the president: Do not be that rep – Part 2

By Kimberly Tompkins

Editor’s Note: This President’s Message continues a list from the September issue titled “DO. NOT. BE THAT REP. Part 1”

●  Sells on price, not features and benefits. While price is always a consideration, it’s not always the deciding factor, especially if a client is aware of the benefits of a more expensive product or system.

● Trash talks the competition (product or representative). There’s always a chance the competitor will know what you said before you get back to your car to make your next phone call; they may also be your next employer.

● Expects everyone to take their word. “Because I said so,” doesn’t work at home, nor on the job. Unless you’re a close friend or have a good liability insurance policy, never speak these words—and don’t ever put them in writing.

● Doesn’t respect the process of design or the client’s timeline. Timing is key: too soon and no one will want to hear about your products or systems. Too late and they’ll have already invested time in something else and you’re moved to the addendum stage.

● Shows up late and expects everyone to wait. Once, I arrived five minutes early to settle myself before an important meeting. I worked hard to secure this meeting and was emphatically told I only had 20 minutes. The architect ran late and, when I packed up to leave after 20 minutes, the receptionist was shocked. I informed her that, based on the time I was told I had, I booked another call, and could not be late. Later, I received an email from the architect apologizing and complimenting me on respecting my next appointment’s time.

● Cannot accept ‘no.’ In sales we’re taught ‘no’ is the beginning of negotiations but, sometimes, in sales too, no means no. We’ve all heard the story of the rep who set up shop every Thursday afternoon in an architectural firm’s conference room as the designers and architects would bring projects to him/her. I believe it. There are several reps whom I hold in high regard and have the upmost respect for their accomplishments. Be. That. Rep!

The highest compliment is to receive a call along the lines of: “I trust you to give me the straight goods and to tell me no if needed. Now, let’s go for a beer/coffee/bourbon.” When this happens, know you’ve earned your stripes. You’re in exclusive company.

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