Rep education is both sales education and business operations education.
I had to chuckle when our Agency Sales team said that this month’s feature focus was “Rep Education.” I asked them if it would be okay for me to fill the page with the word “MANAfest!”
Reps are great communicators, great relationship builders, great ultra-multi-taskers, great visionaries, and most of all, great salespeople. I’m not so sure, however, that all reps are great business managers. And I’m certain that reps do not invest enough into their own continuing education and professional development, which in my opinion, is their number one weakness.
Rep Education, huh? I know you’re rolling your eyes. In the June 2008 issue of Agency Sales, the lead to my editorial was “Need advice? No thanks. I’m a rep — I already know everything.” I think that in many cases this attitude prevails, and we often hear, “I’ve been doing this (selling) for 30, 40 years…. Why would I need to learn anything new?” Taking a look at the current state of the economy, your industry, and very simply, the overall climate of the rep business, you really have to ask yourself: Am I prepared for the current challenges?
Gerhard Gschwandtner from Selling Power magazine says that “sales is the engine of the economy” in the 21st century. Are you a pacesetter in the racing pace of selling? Are you in the race, in the pits, or are you in the upper level of the stands? My father always says, “Some people make things happen, some people watch things happen, and some people stand there and wonder what happened” — which are you?
Are you up on all the tools of selling and successfully leading the business operations of your rep agency? Just like a carpenter, a plumber, or any tradesman, the tools, materials and techniques are greatly improved from years ago, and as is the case in the rep business, the tools improve every day.
Life-long learning is the key to success.