We just had a truly horrible experience thanks to a sales rep for one of the product lines we carry. (More on that “experience” in the future.)

In case you don’t know, many vendors/manufacturers hire third party groups to sell their products to retailers like Karalina’s. Most reps and groups that we work with are good people with integrity.

However the issue of money is always there. If the rep doesn’t sell something, they don’t get paid, so there is obviously a big incentive to make sales.

Sometimes this leads to some less than honorable behavior on the part of the rep.

As I found out yesterday, that’s because rep groups view us as marketing terms, instead of living and breathing people.

So to all the marketing rep groups out there, I understand you need to make a living, but so do I.

Don’t justify your behavior by telling me you’re concerned about doing what’s best for the brand. The brand you’re referring to isn’t yours, but the company you’re selling for, and all of us retailers that work hard to get the buying public to know, understand and accept it.

Don’t justify your behavior by telling me that the other store has a different shopping experience. Unless you’re shopping at a chain, we all create different shopping experiences. We all bring our individual personalities into creating our business and so by definition, as people, all of our stores will have different shopping experiences.

What independent retailers need rep groups to understand is that we are people, and that as you make decisions, understand that they greatly affect people.

If you continue to think of retailers in terms of mental creations like brand, share, retail experience, etc. you run the risk of making bad decisions about people.

If you boil the concept of a brand down to its essence, you will find its people. The people that make, sell and buy your thing are the brand. Rep groups are but a small part of the mental construct you call brand.

We all make mistakes.

So rep group, if you make one that affects people, don’t justify it to yourself with esoteric marketing terms, but understand your decisions greatly impact people’s lives.

Admit the mistake, apologize and make amends. Be a part of the human experience.

If you lecture me on the art of building a brand to justify your behavior, be assured I will lecture you on the art of being a person.

Written on Friday, 03 June 2011 10:48 by Terry

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