Beauty, Business, Hair Care, That girl in the red coat, writing

Suitable replacement?

Sigh.

 

It happened, again. I lost a fabulous rep. She was lovely. She came every 2 weeks. She emailed me the sales flyers before they went to print so I could preplan monthly specials. She sent complimentary products to use in the Salon. She sent products specifically to me to use, knowing that since I do most of the selling, the more product I use, the more I know and in turn, the more I sell. She sent us complimentary retail bags. She shared her knowledge and her stories. Not only did we have a great professional relationship, over the years we became friends. I received a call over 3 weeks ago from the company that she was no longer with the company and that a “suitable replacement” would be visiting me soon. Lets just say, there are some big boots to fill and by first impressions, my hopes have faded a tad.

10 days ago, the replacement rep. – lets call her the R.R. came by the shop, mid afternoon on a Friday. No call to see what day or time works for me. No appointment made. No email of introduction. Not even a tweet. She introduced herself, I the same, exchanged pleasantries and such. I let her know that my old rep. had a standing biweekly Friday at 10 appointment. I asked if that worked for her. She said yes. We decided on a date for our first official appointment, shook hands and said our goodbyes. Fast forward a week. Yours Truly had the order ready. Special customer orders had been added. Clients and customers had been assured an order was being placed that day and by Tuesday afternoon at the latest, as long as the product was in the warehouse, their beloved product would be in their hands. …or so I thought. Yep. You guessed it. Yours Truly was stood up…and you all know how much that thrills me. 10 a.m. came and went. No call. No email. No text. No fax. No tweet. No Facebook message. No Instagram. Not even a snap. Nada. Nothing. Not a word until this morning after I emailed my order and was told that Friday’s don’t work.

I have said it before and will continue to do so. We are in the business of Beauty. The business. When a rep. doesn’t show up for my order that means that my inventory gets too low or worse, my shelves are empty which in turn hurts my reputation and our revenue. Listen, I have been a rep. on the road. I know that you are told that “color accounts are key”. That they are your money maker. I have some news for you. So are retail accounts. When serviced properly and the value of your retail brands explained, retail can increase your commissions just as much as color can. Something many reps and companies seem to forget, or put on the back burner. I can’t help but wonder if I was a color account, would I have been dismissed so easily? Over the years I have brought over $250000.00 – $350000.00 of retail revenue to our shop…you’d think that everyone would want a piece of that pie. It seems not.

A little bit of advice, for reps. and companies alike – your small accounts could become big accounts, if you show up. Plain and simple.

 

 

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, Uncategorized, Women, writing

REPRESENT!

Today’s tale is about the Sales Rep. As in every industry, the Sales Rep many times, is the unsung hero of the industry they represent. At our shop, I deal with over 10 different companies and their Reps and as in every industry, you get the good and the great. I am quite fortunate that I deal mostly with the latter. The great ones are the reason for today’s tale. I am here today to be the voice of the great ones.

A little back story for those of you who may not realize exactly what the job of a Sales Rep. entails. You are driving, all day long, in rush hour traffic. Like our postal carrier friend’s, come rain, come sleet, come snow, you are out there, driving the roadways and walking the walkways. Most Sales Reps are on straight commission = they don’t sell, they don’t make money. Some companies offer a gas allowance and a cellphone allowance, some do not (yeah, let that sink in for a moment). Sales Reps are given quotas, usually based on their previous years sales. (Sometimes based on the sales of someone else). Sales Reps have to work all the hair shows, they must go to every training session and class, and since most are on commission, you guessed it, usually with no pay. The great ones ( I stress the great ones) do this because they love their job and want to do right by their clients.

As in every industry, you get the not so great Sales Reps, or the good ones, the “order takers” as my dear ol’ Dad calls them. (quite a fitting accolade actually – all they do is show up and ask what I want, I swear I have heard a few of ’em utter “ya want fries with that?”). You know the ones – don’t call, don’t keep their appointments, don’t tell you of the new products – you have to ask, don’t follow up with orders. The most unfortunate thing about these Reps is that the great ones pay the price. Not all, but unfortunately most companies paint all their Reps with the same brush and the great ones end up being punished along with the order takers. Yeah, I said it. All of a sudden new procedures or limitations are created and are placed on the Reps without a true explanation of why and they are supposed to enforce the new rules (without question) with their existing clients/Salons. By the way, it is not the Sales Rep’s fault that a company has “order takers”. The fault, my dear, lies with management. Yeah, I said it. With proper training, you can raise someone up to their true potential, or weed out the ones that really don’t have it in them – another tale for another time.

What the higher ups need to remember is this. Sales and sales relationships are not built on who has the flashiest smile or who has the best parlor trick (the 50’s are over) – these relationships are built on trust. Salon owners and stylists, like all customers, want the truth, the real deal, they need to know the bottom line. How is a Sales Rep supposed to tell a Salon owner where the bottom line is when head office keeps moving it because of “order taker Arnold”. How is a Sales Rep supposed to project trust in a company that they themselves can’t trust?  Business is business. All employee’s, from the cashier at your local grocery store to the Sales Rep who is busting their butt and their car’s mileage to represent the company that employ’s them, need to know that management has their back. All employee’s need to know they have support from management. No one likes to feel like the rug has been pulled out from under them. It’s time for management to get out from behind the desk and get back out on the road, and be sure to bring gas money.