this is a post from www.giftshopforum.com by www.moodswingsonthenet.com
i thought she made some great points..
Reps should be helpful, curteous, take notes, know where the product is being sold into close to your store and know the top ten selling items in each of their lines and be willing to go the extra mile. These are some of the qualities I find in a rep that is working hard to sell lines in AND keep the line successful. It is one thing for a rep to push a line and then you can't retail it and they say, "oh well, buy more and that will get it moving." There is also nothing worse than a rep who says, "such-and-such down the road re-orders this line daily..." when you are struggling to keep it moving. However, I have had the experience that indeed buying more does work sometimes, when you have a plan. Reps are the sounding boards of the market. They shop your competition daily and typically have ideas about display work. This is what I ask of my reps...1) Please put any catalogs from newly acquired lines in the mail to me within a week. 2)Show me all your lines and don't assume what I will or won't buy. 3)Work quickly, both of our time is money. 4) Email me specials at any time they occur. 5) When I place an order with a company that is new to me and has a very long wait time tell me. (we pre-pay everything, but the money is still ear marked for that vendor) 6) Take care of me and I will take care of you, ensuring that all orders I place are sent to you. In exchange my order will be processed within 24 hours and you will let me know which items are out of stock so I know what to expect for displays. I feel it really helps to establish expectations in advance. If a rep doesn't follow through with my expectations or let me know why they can't, I place orders direct. Placing orders direct doesn't sit well with sales managers and principals of rep groups. Why? Some vendors don't pay a full commission if the order is direct, also the sales managers and principals want to know why that rep isn't meeting the needs of their customers. Working as a sales rep is hard work, and only the best make money and survive, no...thrive. Most reps do not get paid for gas/mileage, and almost all work on 100% commission, which by the way is about 7.50%. The principal of the rep group gets about 7.5% and the rep gets the other 7.5%. So if a rep makes $7.50 for every $100.00 order or $75.00 for every $1,000.00 on average. In order to make a $1,050.00 paycheck gross, they have to sell $14,000.00. (I am speaking in general using general industry percentages) They often pay for hotel expenses out of pocket and meals for sure. Don't expect them to buy your coffee, they have to pay for it. If you are having trouble, "connecting" with your rep and it is a line that you want/need, ask to speak to the principal of the group. (There are several types of reps and the group I am using as an example, rep many independent gift lines)Another note; you should repsect their time when you have an appointment with them. Provide a spot to work where they can show samples and the two of you have room to flip through catalogs. Consider it a business meeting because it is. Value their time and they will value yours. Take notes, be ready to make buys by knowing what your open-to-buy is, and or what type of lines or products you are seeking. Don't answer your phone if possible. I have found early morning appointments before the store opens work well and provides for uninterrupted conversation. Kind of a scattered post but my biggest kudo is to the reps that lead me to lines that sell well and we have both made money from selling. Peace,