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Eric Miltsch

Eric Miltsch President

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Don't Be The Dreaded Mr. Conference Sales Guy

Here's something for vendors to think about this year and as we prepare for NADA and other late-Winter/early-Spring conferences: Are you the vendor sales guy who makes dealer staff duck and cover? 

We've all experienced this to a varying degree, it doesn't need to be this way. As much as we all love the shiny new tools, the cool new gadgets and next hottest thing that will provide an eternity of well-qualified shoppers, we still don't like to be "sold."

Of course, we like to be challenged, educated & informed - but you know what we really like? We like being talked to first. Personally, I've enjoyed the relationships that have been created. Simple old adage: We buy from (& stay with) those we like. Here's a few of the characteristics & activities I associate with those I've worked with: 

  • Be creative
  • Be helpful
  • Be real
  • Be memorable
  • Be available
  • Be active in the off-line community
  • Be a listener
  • Be a strong communicator

Classic examples: Jeff Kershner, Joe Webb, Dennis Galbraith, Gary May, Alex Schoeneberger and Larry Bruce. (Go ahead, call me crazy) My point is these guys do all this stuff without any effort - it just happens. (I wish we had unlimited resources because I would have already assembled an All-Star cast of vendors & their products.) 

And yes, there are many more who can be mentioned, however this is about helping those who miss this mark and show up to the conference as if they busted into a saloon looking for an old-west gunfight. 

What else do you recommend?

Inspired by past events and reinforced by multiple vendor sales pitches received this morning.

Dennis Galbraith
Great post Eric! I'd also say, don't let the badge fool you. "Allied Industries" generally means the person in front of you is an ally if you treat him or her as such. For example, I'm not sure what kind of badge Joe Webb will be wearing, but it will probably not be a dealer badge; yet he influences the decisions of many dealers. The same could be said for many dozens of consultants, trainers, and vendor executives. Treat these people right and show them the product features and benefits you are so proud of. They will surly sing your praises and may even bring dealers to you. Realistically, the chance of grabbing a dealer who doesn't know you or your company like you would along a carnival midway and selling them something on the spot is fairly remote. The value of influencing the people who are constantly asked, "What should I be looking at here?" is huge and will ultimately ring the sales bell.
Eric Miltsch
Thanks Dennis...there's that influence factor again. (Similar as to what we're experiencing w/consumers & their network of influence w/ratings & reviews impacting decisions)
Joe Webb
Thank you for including me on your list, Eric. Would you like to buy a watch? And Dennis, you including me in your comment sort of proves Eric's point. Anyone who knows me knows that I still consider myself 100% a dealership guy. I don't look at myself as a vendor (because I spend half of my day arguing with them on behalf of my dealer clients :) I am on of them and I came up in the retail side so the "vendor hat" never was given to me. Eric, you are right on that vendors, much like dealers in social media, need to STOP being vendors, and start being friends. A good conversationalist can go a long way as a vendor without every having to push a product. People buy from people they like, respect and learn from. Just like a showroom customer.
Brady Irvine
Well said Joe, whether you are selling a car or selling to a dealership the same principles apply... Desperation and pushiness are annoying.
Ron Henson
Great post Eric! Very well said!

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