Sales Reps: Help Us Help You! BY ALAN & CHRISTINE BLUMBERG Alan and Christine Blumberg, principals at RBG Sales, on the role that sales representatives play in the toys and games industry today.
There have been more conversations lately about the future of sales representatives, and if they can still add value to our industry. We are here to affirm that sales reps are essential to the continued growth for both retailers and vendors. Having just returned from the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s Marketplace and Academy in August, we have never, in the last 20 years, been as proud to be reps as we are now. Though we have all weathered the unimaginable challenge in 2020, sales reps now face a different kind of threat: a digital replacement. So, we wanted to give you a brief overview of why we think a rep plays an equal role in today’s marketplace. Many buyers and vendors, at all levels of industry, have come to rely on their best sales reps to help them grow their business. But not all retailers and vendors choose to work with reps. There are different reasons that are given, but are they actually missing out and limiting their growth potential? Why are there independent sales representatives? Vendors hire independent sales representatives for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, vendors automatically add 50 to 60 sales reps, while not having to pay overhead costs such as salaries, health insurance, car leases, and more. At the same time, commissions are only paid if the sale has been made and the bill has been paid. A vendor is also taking advantage of the long-standing relationships sales reps have built over the years, which helps get products presented directly to the decision makers. All of this means that the vendor does not have to make thousands of calls every time they want to present their products — instead, the sales reps do it for them. How do sales reps help the retailers? We wouldn’t be able to succeed without our retail partners, and
Alan & Christine Blumberg
many retailers believe they would not succeed without their best sales reps. One of the most important reasons that retailers value their reps is that we save them time. They can contact one rep to handle issues with multiple vendors, instead of having to call 150 vendors individually. The smart retailers allow the reps to handle returns, damages, invoice discrepancies, track orders, and much more. It is like having a free employee they do not have to pay! The best sales reps also have a good understanding of how their retailers curate their stores. When we are attending new product reviews, we immediately think of the stores that would be a great fit, and quickly alert them to the best new products coming to
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