Rep Hurdles

Manufacturer reps share struggles they face in their jobs

While manufacturer representatives find their jobs very rewarding — as partners in success with the dealers under their care — that doesn’t mean the job comes without challenges.

“The hardest part is running into unexpected issues or delays, whether a vendor-related issue or with shipping and freight on product going to our dealers. We can’t avoid every problem and issue from occurring; however, responding quickly with an equitable resolution is important as a rep and manufacturer.”
Mike Wright
Master Spas, northeast sales manager

“Sometimes I encounter dealers who do not pay attention to industry trends or what other successful dealers are doing to grow their business. Sometimes it’s just a fear of change or dealers are flat-out stuck in their ways. I understand that I do not run a small business like they do. I understand they have a lot more on their plates than just selling spas. However, I do travel across seven states and manage more than 50 hot tub retailers, so I see a lot of what works and what does not work. Take my advice more often. Do not just hear what I say — actually work with me to implement and execute on the ideas I share. But the time I spend on the road away from my wife and children [is the hardest part].”
Adam Patrick
Bullfrog Spas, regional sales manager

“Working with dealers who are not as committed to the success of their business as we are [is the hardest part]. We need more communication, easy ways to schedule meetings and opportunities to train staff. But the biggest thing for me: Embrace change. Making a commitment to understanding and talking about [changes] has real merit.”
Joe Sullivan
Dream Maker Spas, vice president of sales and marketing

“[The hardest part is] being seen as a resource who truly wants everyone — owners and sales staff — to succeed. Yes, I work and report to the head office; however, as a manufacturer, our success is directly related to the fabulous work of the dealers we have.”
Alain Henderson
Arctic Spas, corporate regional sales representative for Ontario/East Coast

“Dealers are very open to the business strategies I bring to them. However, a lot of dealers would benefit from taking advantage of our digital marketing assistance. The internet is obviously the window where consumers find most products they purchase. Search engine optimization is the Yellow Pages of old. Taking time to understand their position and the different opportunities that exist is key to controlling the digital world.”
Jim Ferguson
Bullfrog Spas, southwest regional sales manager

“Variables evolve such as consumer needs, economy and technology. [To help manufacturer reps], dealers need to be aligned with the urgency to provide products that consumers desire, including the right price points, technology and selection. Dealers have to be open to other opportunities that are out there for them.”
Chris Hawley
Cal Spas, northeast regional sales manager

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