Independent Rep Debate: ‘20% Should Be Shot’
Manufacturers and integrators at the recent Azione Unlimited dealer conference debate the value of independent reps, with one supplier noting that a certain percentage of reps "should be shot."
What is the value of independent reps? It’s a subject that is front and center among many manufacturers and integrators. The continuing trend is for manufacturers to drop reps, instead opting to sell directly to consumers or use in-house sales teams.
At the recent Azione Unlimited buying group dealer conference in Houston, president and chief creative officer Richard Glikes led a lively discussion on the matter. In this 8-minute video, both dealers and suppliers, including Access Networks, Sonance, Digital Projection, PerfectPath and Salamander, chime in.
Among the comments are:
Reps are in essence “too old” for lack of a better description because it has been so long since they were integrators that they do not understand how CE pros run their businesses anymore. This problem is ongoing because dealers are no longer matriculating from the field to become reps.
A minority of reps “should be shot” for their lack of organizational and sales skills, which unfortunately forces manufacturers to drop their entire rep organization. Several manufacturers mention that they cannot support a rep business model if the entire team is not productive. One supplier estimates only 20 percent of his reps “are doing a great job.”
Manufacturers should insist on written agendas from their reps to help keep them organized.
Because the industry has matured, reps are no longer needed to introduce new technologies to dealers. Most integrators know about all the product categories, but instead need help learning the nuances that separate brands from one another.
Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]
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