Account managers in the musical instrument and pro audio business can affect their own destiny
A recent trip down memory lane brought back reflections of days gone by, but has anything really changed? Yes, retail channels have consolidated, and the rise of e-commerce has made an indelible mark on our business. Rather than complaining about the upheaval, how about taking the positive view that we are living in a golden age. The same Internet that appears to be usurping sales from an independent store that’s not evolving is the same tool you can use to dig up fresh opportunities, analyze markets, and find new product lines in growth sectors.
Positive attitudes matter
Years ago, some reps I knew called each other on the phone while driving, ostensibly to hem and haw about how tough we had it. We even had a pet name for this regular chatter, calling it the “misery line”. One day it dawned on me how much time I was wasting with this negativity and decided to try a different approach. At the time I was selling VOX V847 wah-wah pedals, offered with an extra discount if the dealer bought a 10-pack. I made a “hit list” of accounts to call while cruising down the highway and ended up selling $7,000 worth of goods. Turning my back on negativity paid off then and has ever since.
Adversity is your friend
I know salespeople in our business who have taken a sour view concerning the industry’s outlook. That somehow the adversities presented by commercial and technological change are insurmountable. Personally, I don’t buy into that notion. There have always been roadblocks, challenges and problems to deal with. It’s part and parcel of what we do, and the evolving marketplace requires us to adjust as sales professionals. It’s always been about how you deal with adversity, how you bounce back after a rejection or negative situation, and of course what kind of attitude and skill you bring to the table.
Consultative Sales are the new play
The days of popping into a store or purchasing office without an agenda, or otherwise arriving unprepared are over. If we as sales reps are not adding value, making solid suggestions or providing good advice to our accounts, don’t expect anyone to want to see you. Do your homework, evaluate sell-through, inventory levels and market conditions, and only then set up a meeting. Simply put, bring something to the table that helps their business. It’s great to be friends with your old buddies and newfound associates, but that alone is not your role as an account manager. The message is clear – get better at what you do, roll with the punches, and always maintain a positive outlook. This mindset has served me well for nearly 40 years, and with any luck, I’ll be out here for a while longer!