Is it Rep Day??

Paul N

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jun 10, 2005
CT, not far from the LI Sound
One rep called and wanted to drop by (sorry, Thanks, too busy today, maybe another time).

And another dropped by without further (or prior) notice!

Did they declare it "Rep Day" without anyone telling me??
Oh yeah they sure did.

I love how they say "we got some new stuff debuting at the show." Can't show me now..... then don't bother stopping, man, jeez, now I'm resenting the waste of my time before it was just a bother!
Our place runs at approx 10 R.P.M. (Reps per month) and that is drastically reduced from what it used to be. On the framing side NON of the framing reps call by appointment, a couple of the print publishers do. But most of the framing reps I have known for years and if need be they can come into the engine room and update me while I carry on.

On the 'everything else' side most reps call by appointment, some even tell you the date of their next visit before they leave.

We rarely entertain cold callers.
Don't complain, most of my reps never come around.

My Larson rep has it down perfectly. About once a quarter and only when she has something new or a different program I may like.

Others haven't come by since I opened. Won't they be surprised when they do come around to see that Larson has taken up some of their wall real estate.
Out of all our reps there are just two who used to call on us when we worked from home. We have stayed with them even though as we have expanded we have realised that they have some very serious competition!

Even when we opened our first small shop some of that competition looked down their noses at us. One rep - after us chasing his company with our wallets, finally turned up with a few samples and a catalogue and left saying "If you order a fair amount from us I'll see you again - if not I won't'!

The same company has just offerred us a 25% discount across the board to win our custom!

Had they supported us when we were smaller fry we would either be paying full whack or would have earned a discount.
We get about 7 that come by on a regular (quarterly?) basis. Only one or two will call first. It used to bother me when they didn't call but I guess I've mellowed a bit and it really doesn't anymore.

I think some of them are on a circuit, traveling up and down the Puget Sound area and it would be a hassle for them to have to deviate much from their route, such as seeing us on Tuesday and the shop down the street on Friday. Besides, we can usually learn something from them and get free samples of the stuff that we like.

Forgot something else I was going to say.

Yeah Paul, it can be a hassle when you get two in one day. A couple of times we've had one here when another one comes in. That's a hoot.

I think sometime they do travel in packs.
I had one rep in mouthing off about another company, and before I could "suggest" he show me his products not bash the other guys' the rep for company two walked in.

It was fun walking rep one squirm and wiggle! Rep two just winked at me and said he'd wait if I didn't mind.

Rep one hasn't been in since, my "numbers" are too low to warrant a stop. I do get a six month call from an underling. Rep two stops in "just to chat" we talk road life and road food alot, and he has offered to frame during x-mas rushes for me. I think he offered 'cause he knew I wouldn't take him up on it!

btw I repped in the past, hence the road talk alluded to above. (Not frames, different world completely.) You don't have to bash if your product is good. Just show it, answer questions truthfully, and answer your phone when trouble calls! Show me respect and I'll show it to you!
A couple years ago I had my LJ rep in redoing my walks an independent rep of who's products will remain nameless. He started showing me knock offs of LJ mouldings and telling me how much cheaper they were, even suggested selling LJ and ordering brand X.....he had no idea the man behind the counter was from LJ. The brand x rep went to the car for more samples and me and the LJ rep laughed. I begged him to not let on. He excused himself and went for coffee. He said he heard stories of other reps bad mouthing LJ but had never seen it in action.

Then, later in the same afternoon in walks my Studio rep and they knew each other so Studio rep left and came back later to see if any of his samples had been cut in the LJ redo.

Man, was that a long day........
Why do you guys allow these reps to just "drop in"? Your time is valuable (and so is theirs) and, as such, should be respected.

Each of our reps KNOWS to show up only by appointment - don't just "drop in". They respect our time, and they know when they have an appointment we'll respect them, too.

Just our way of doing business....


You can play "tough" and carelessly push those reps appointments for “next week or next time in town” just because you know that in 99% of all cases they are going to show you same stuff in different order and at a slightly different price. If you only knew that you were about to be presented with an exclusive, unique product and service that would give you a distinct edge over your competition, guess what: you'd be thanking those guys for finding you first and, secondly, for dropping by because, let's be honest here, how many times you went home late just for the purpose of finishing your work? Having the chance to be special, save money and rise above your competition is worth half an hour any time, isn't it? But then how many salespeople may convince you in 30 seconds that they are going to be the exception to your stone written “no cold calls” rule? And back we go again.
A little secret note in here: I don't attend trade shows and 90% of my costumers took up my line as result of being approached with cold calls at first. So I must know what I am talking about, right?

the "no cold calls" rule may work if you have a staff. I do not (yet). So, making an appointmnet is simply unfair to the reps. If I have a customer, they come first. Period. The reps understand that. In return, assuming no customers, I will see them as their schedule permits. I think that's fair.

I suspect many framers even with a small staff are in the same situation. Making appointments that stand a good chance of interruption is simply unfair. Therefore, we need to be flexible in fairness.
Our 'no cold calling' rule applies only to reps from companies we do not already deal with, but if we have the time and their product is good/interesting/relative, we can be flexible.
Yeah, I can't imagine setting up appts for my reps. It would be unfair to them when I get interrupted. I can't predict when customers are going to show up. Most reps call ahead and tell me they will be by on a certain day and I always tell them anywhere between open and close is fine and I may be distracted by a customer. The sales people who I don't know and aren't framing related don't get any of my time. Occasionally a moulding rep shows up and i have to tell him I don't have time but it is rare.
Originally posted by RoboFramer:
Our 'no cold calling' rule applies only to reps from companies we do not already deal with, but if we have the time and their product is good/interesting/relative, we can be flexible.
Quite the opposite, RoboFramer, quite the opposite. You can afford to work by appointments only with reps that you already know and are in no rush or danger to lose.
I noticed your post on British Grumbler about your interest in American Choice's product. Man, In numerous occasions I've been suggested to come down there in UK and Ireland area and introduce my product to that market. That's fine, but I assure you that I can't possibly be roaming West Sussex Coast in pure hope to collect next week/month appointments or get to meet only with framers who already know my product. See my point? You never know what you are losing by being rigid in business. Big opportunities don't ask for permission to take place.
I wish moulding reps were like Pharm Reps, They bring lunch!
Or at least a snack.

Larson has it going on! A card to let you know when they are coming, Understand and even help with customers, and at Christmas, because I am a partner, I received cookie tins stacked to look like a tin Soldier, full of cookies. :D

It made me feel appreciated and my business will reflect it.

For those reps who say I don't order enough and they won't waste thier time stopping by, I feel no loyality at all. I can do without them, there are too many out there.

There was one company that had a line of mouldings that was not the best and not my favorite but I would keep them on the wall because my rep was so sweet. I bought some, but not a whole lot. He stopped being so kind and the mouldings came down. :(

He now gets nothing! I beleive some is better then none. Stupid on his part, really!

If I was a moulding rep, Making my customer feel "loyal" would be my first priority. Even if they only bought a few times, if they "all" bought only a few times, think of the combined income.

I think one day I would love to be a moulding rep! I love selling my customers great mouldings, why not to people who really appreiciate the stuff.
Maybe one day.

...................... and then there are reps that you would drop everything for but don't ever think you'll see them.

If cold callers come we have to find out what they have before we can identify them as such; we will know very very quickly if we are interested or not. Usually we are not, usually all these reps DO is cold call and attempt to pressurise; their practised spiel and waffle does not work here.

Your product, Whynot, would fall under the 'Drop everything' category!

PS are you sure that 10% is the best you can do for a plug on The Grumble? :D
Jennifer's post made me think about something I read a few weeks ago.

Did anyone see the reps for pharmaceutical companies lately?? It turns out they're hiring very attractive young women to go to doctor's offices and seduce, sorry, introduce them to new medications..... Those ladies look something from Playboy, according to the article!

If those were to drop by, appointment or none, would any male framers complain??

I know at least one who wouldn't.... :D
Half of our reps call ahead of time and let me know that they’re going to be in the neighborhood on such and such a day. But, half the time I forget to log it into my calendar and the other half I forget to look at the calendar the day they’re supposed to arrive. So even with a call ahead, most of the time it’s a surprise.

The other half of the reps just cold call. I suppose it annoys me a little, but most of the guys I see have a tremendous area to cover. Even if they ask if it’s okay to come on Wednesday, say, but I suggest Thursday, they couldn’t make it ‘cause they’re seeing Bob Doyle in the wilds of Maine that day.

And setting up a time specific is a joke, too. If they get tied up schmoozing with the woman down the street, the rep is not going to blow her off just to make my appointment on time.

I think we’ve gotta be a bit flexible. Sometimes they’ve got some good stuff to show, and, even better, some good gossip to share.
Nope, no staff - but they know the rules. Call first (no "advance" appointments, just a heads up BEFORE they arrive - and they respect this).

Yes, we still get advance word and notice of new stuff, don't get left behind the competition.