A "Rant" in Sheep's Clothing: Deep Thoughts from Multi-Line Rep Nowell Wisch
Our job is to look for opportunities to place a product from one of our suppliers into one of the distributor's solution set for a client need. Multiline reps have not "heard it all before" no matter how many years they have done the job. One of my friends who has been a rep for more than 40 years will admit that part of the attraction of the job is that he still gets to think about solutions in a new way every day. While he has a decade or more as a rep on me, he still likes to think about the problem and come up with a new and exciting way to solve it. "Sales incentives, human resources problems, safety programs, I don't care what it is ... I can find something to offer that my clients haven't thought about, and that makes the job fun," he says.
While most of us wandered into this industry from someplace else, we have stayed in this industry because we like what we do and we appreciate the opportunities our customers give us to earn money by solving problems. We like earning a living in this business. So about what or why do we rant? Well, that changes depending upon whom you speak with. Distributors rant about their customer's buying habits changing and the influence of the Internet on business. Suppliers rant about their customers buying direct from Asia or slow pay. Multilines? What do we rant about?
The "rant" part of this is that my clients are becoming too busy, or disinterested to see me very much anymore. My daughter, who is my scheduler and lifeline, works harder than ever for less results getting me into see you and your staff. I used to have three "key" appointments a day, three days a week. These were typically a breakfast meeting, a lunch meeting and an afternoon meeting. Between those, I would do a drop-in at a distributorship on the way to the next call. This worked really well and I saw 12-15 companies a week plus a few more unscheduled stops on either Monday (staging day) or Friday (wrap-up day) for a total company count of around 20.