Disposable Sales People
Location: Independence, MO.
Tue Nov 13, 2012 04:46 PM
I have tried over the years to limit my input into these forums unless I feel it necessary to bring up a topic that would be useful to discuss. In this case, it is the disposability and expendability of sales people that has once again got my attention.
I recently found out that long-time sales woman to this industry Etta A. is no longer working in the industry and will probably move on to something totally different. This is unfortunate because she has been around for a very long time (15-20 years) and has served us well during this time.
For those that may remember, I have brought this subject to the forefront in the past. It is hard for me to overstate how important it is for companies to recognize that relationships between sales persons and buyers is essential to maintaining sales- especially in a market where so much of what we buy is effectively a commodity.
There is a silent number of buyers that 'all things being equal' will gravitate to the companies that they have a good relationship with their sales people. When they look up one day and their sales person is gone, they want to know why. They want to know who is going to take care of them 'now'? They want to know what was so absolutely important that their sales person had to be moved around or terminated.
For example, in 1998 or so I sent a letter to a vendor that I will leave unnamed. They told me that my sales person was being moved and we would have a new account rep. I sent a letter to management pleading to keep my old rep- a pleading that fell on deaf ears. The consequence? They totally lost my business and today I place about 2 orders a year with them. Why? Because if a vendor is going to disregard a simple request like that- they obviously don't care about me as a customer. If I care enough to write a letter, that ought to mean something. Obviously it did not. Consequence? They get two faxes a year now. Maybe it's a wrong attitude, but there it is.
I'm not the only one either. I talk to purchasing agents all the time. In fact, I am thinking about writing a book about my near 20 years experience as a purchasing agent. It will definitely deal with this very thing. My sales person is not expendable. Period. If I am sending them orders with their name on it or I call and ask for them then they are important to me. This is one reason why I have favored SCC over the years. They listen. And I say hats-off to them. Just my experience. Everyone has an opinion about it.
So here I am again. Another trusted sales person passed to the wayside. What will I do now? No idea. Haven't decided yet. It gets old though. Just sayin.