“What is the difference between dealing with a rep and dealing with the factory?” Let me tell you my story.
When I was a rep I sold industrial timers to a car wash manufacturer.
The customer called to report a defective timer. I secured a Return Material Authorization, and the customer sent the timer back for evaluation.
The timer factory reported that the timer worked perfectly, so they shipped it back to the customer. The customer called me again, reporting a different timer was defective. But when it went back to the factory, it tested out fine.
After a few more times, the timer manufacturer wanted to start charging the customer for testing and return freight. The customer was angry that so many timers were defective. Resolving the problem fell on my shoulders.
Eventually, I tracked down the person who was reporting that the timers were defective. I asked him how he determined that our timers were defective.
“We know that they are defective because our car wash stopped working.” A car wash has hundreds of electrical connections and dozens of parts that could fail. But the customer insisted that whenever the car wash failed it was our timer’s fault.
My principal and my customer had both drawn lines in the sand. Neither would budge. My dad came up with the solution. “Let’s build them a timer tester.”
It was that simple. And because the tester had lights that reminded Dad of 1960s NASA mission control, he labeled the timer “Property of NASA.”
Problem solved. Each time a timer was suspect, the customer tested it. We never had another failure.
Reps are creative problem solvers. That was my story. To share your story, email me at email@example.com.