Our Serve: Demand More From Your Reps
In our March issue, we ran a “Retailing” tip on how manufacturers’ sales reps should be one of the best resources for tennis retailers. The tip, written by the TIA’s retailing consultants, described some of the things manufacturer reps can provide to tennis shops to help build sales with consumers, including helping stores with merchandise and budget planning, conducting clinics on products they sell to you, working with your staff to understand product features, and much more.
But it occurs to me, how many sales reps actually do all they can to help a retail store’s sales? Their success depends on your success. Yes, we hear about a lot of excellent sales reps out there — in fact, every year we have a number of great reps to choose from in picking our Sales Rep of the Year award winner. But we also hear a lot of complaints about sales reps, too.
Are your sales reps truly serving you the way you think they should? We want to hear about it — the good, the bad, the ugly. Tell us what you think of your sales reps. What do they do that you like? What do they not do? Do you get the feeling that they care about your business? Do they come up with creative ways to help your business? And if you feel your sales rep hasn’t been working up to par, what have you done about it? Let us know, at email@example.com.
Now, let’s go a step further: Are your sales reps helping not just your store, but do they go beyond and help this sport? Do they care about tennis overall? Are they involved in their USTA section or district? Do they get involved in the community? A good friend who managed a tennis and sports retail shop for many years and who now works in the tennis industry says the best sales reps he ever had were those who were committed to and passionate about the sport beyond simply pushing product.
I realize manufacturers are in business to sell product, and that their sales reps make a living depending on how much product they sell. But sales reps — just like teaching pros, retailers and facility managers — are in key positions to truly make an impact on tennis in the U.S. They, like the rest of us, need to think beyond being a sales force for one company or organization; effective sales reps need to be a “sales force for tennis.”
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.