Buyers and sellers

The following letters were received in response to the editorial "Let the buyer beware" (August 1995, page 3), in which the opinions of Larry Johnson of The Light Brigade Inc. on salespeople were quoted. Mr. Johnson`s response follows the letters.

The following letters were received in response to the editorial "Let the buyer beware" (August 1995, page 3), in which the opinions of Larry Johnson of The Light Brigade Inc. on salespeople were quoted. Mr. Johnson`s response follows the letters.

An editorial is usually the place to state opinions. You clearly cross the line when you repeat Larry Johnson`s opinions as if they were fact. To state that "independent sales agents have the lowest level of product knowledge" shows little insight. Maybe Johnson had a bad experience with independent sales reps, but to repeat his words as sanctimonious truth is outrageous.

As a manufacturer`s representative in the premises wiring market, I previously worked for a manufacturer and distributor and can attest that independent sales reps offer their customers--and the manufacturers--a synergy of product lines. For example, if a customer requests a Category 5 cable, we can also offer the connecting hardware, test equipment and racks. A factory-direct salesperson is focused on only one particular product line and therefore does not see the big picture. A distributor salesperson, on the other hand, can offer related products but often will not do so--out of fear of losing an order or lack of product knowledge.

If Johnson and other manufacturers truly believe that independent sales reps are just handing out literature, then they need to spend more time qualifying the agents they hire. They should use the same prerequisites as they would for hiring employees--experience, product and market knowledge, honesty, goal achievements and work ethic.

Lastly, manufacturers should compensate independent sales reps fairly. A more fitting axiom than "Let the buyer beware" would be "You get what you pay for."

Glenn Felton

Data Connect Inc.

West Chester, PA

More in Home