Adding value and supporting your resellers in the musical instrument and pro audio business
Last week we discussed using the sales funnel, and if all goes well, you’ve received a purchase order from your retail partner. As a sales rep, if you think this is where your obligation ends, you are sadly mistaken. This is really where your job begins—to be certain that future orders and satisfied customers are the order of the day.
Double-check pricing, terms and conditions before you send an order to a manufacturer or distributor. This will avoid delays in processing and not drain the resources of your vendors. It’s well worth the time to scrutinize every P.O. to be certain that this part of the process is streamlined.
Order Confirmation and Delivery Updates
The most basic questions a dealer receives are “how much does it cost, and when can I get it?” I worked for a company once that put new products on the NAMM show floor with no pricing or delivery info. It was a colossal fail, irritated buyers at the booth, and a few months later, the selling had to occur again. Quality information in a timely fashion is paramount here, along with providing proper order and ship confirmations via email.
Merchandising and Display
Whether it’s physical store displays or the product page on an e-commerce site, properly merchandising your gear is essential. If your supplier makes the effort to develop P.O.P. displays, be sure that they are being used. On the internet side, the item page itself should be as pleasing to the customer as possible, with accurate and enticing descriptions and all available images and videos in place.
Training and Product Support
Back up your promise to M.I. and pro audio manufacturers by providing product training. My friend Steve Coscia often quipped “know your stuff” and was spot-on with that sentiment. Also be sure to leverage company-supplied specialists for in-store and contact center training, in addition to clinics and workshops.
Promotion and Marketing
Hopefully, manufacturers are stimulating demand, but there’s the additional component of working with your retail partners. Coordinate co-op marketing, shared partner advertising initiatives and innovative events at retail stores. Go beyond being the liaison between reseller and supplier, and get personally involved.
Reviewing sell-through reports, turnover and profitability is all part and parcel of your responsibility as a musical instrument account manager. Examine national trends that your supplier can provide, and see how that compares to your customer’s results. Address areas where sales are lagging, and make efforts to stimulate sales using the above methods. Don’t shy away from a problem, thinking it will go away by itself. At this point, you should now be prepared to exit the bottom of the “hourglass” and start the funnel process again. This is truly the “circle of sales life,” and doing this well will distinguish you in the eyes of your customers and suppliers.