Several weeks ago I spent almost two days with a group of men and women that simply amaze me. They are a breed of people who have been around since production of products began and stores needed merchandise. Most of their life is in a car. They are in and out of cities, towns, and your local shopping centers. This group gets a bad rap from everyone. Manufactures think they don't work hard enough for their money (a positive way of stating that they are lazy), many retail stores often fail to give them credit when they do a good job and then blame them for most of the mistakes made. They collectively get this wrap from the small portion within them that actually don't work and look for the next gravy train from the retailers/manufactures.
We see our independent sales representatives a little differently. We see them as the face of our organization. They are vital to the sustainability of our company. The retailers they call on are some of the first to buy Logo Chair products. The local bookstores, mom & pops, sports stores, and specialty retailers that are serviced by our independent sales force are the foundation we built our business upon. So to say that our outside sales forces is important to our entire Logo crew is a huge understatement. They speak for us, they represent us, they sell our products, our vision, our customer service, and last but not least our brand. They also help us grow and learn. If you haven't noticed the executive team for Logo is a bunch of “boys” (this is our nickname given by a much wiser, elder member of our board). We learn from the experience and wisdom our sales reps speak into our business and lives through our daily business interactions. They are critical to my growth as a man and business owner.
These “guys” are all my friends. Some of the first people I would call for advice in life let alone a business decision. They have attended Logo staff weddings, always been there when someone within the Logo circle is suffering, called just to see how our families (kids) are doing, helped us with the hardest decisions, and countless times made an impact on my life without them even knowing or intending to do so... They care and are always there with selfless motives. Great people.
As I stood before them in this meeting it dawned on me this group of people are very special to me and I don't tell them enough. I feel like we work hard together to make our company one of the best out there. They don't just sell our products, they love our products. They don't just represent us, they are a part of us. As many companies make broad changes to go in house with phone calls and emails from 100’s of miles away to service their customers, I shake my head. I cant imagine our business without these “guys”. I also don't ever want some of our first customers to think we care less about them or that we are changing our business philosophy. I truly believe that Logo needs the reps as much as the reps need Logo. We (together) have built a great business.
The point of this blog is to confess that I am not thankful enough for the sales crew we have collected over the years. It could be worse. Much worse. I could be spanning through the audience of this sales meeting seeing faces in which I didn't respect. I could be working with a group of sales people that cared more about their commission check than the customer. Our sales team could be a group that looked out for number one instead of the whole team. However this is NOT the case. We are a team that spent two days contemplating on how to make better products for our customers, how to help our retailers see what we offer to make both of our businesses stronger, where we can improve customer service, delivery, programs, coverage, reporting, all so we can make a difference in the businesses we call “ours”...
This is step one of communicating how we (I) feel about our sales team. I love you guys. We need you guys. Let’s have a great 2013.