As a distributor sales rep with the Winnipeg division of Pratts Wholesale Ltd., Greg Purpur is tasked with keeping convenience customers in almost two full territories – southern Manitoba and northwest Ontario – happy and competitive.
It’s a lot of customers, and a lot of travel, but Purpur has come to not only understand the challenges facing these retailers, but also the motivation behind their business decisions. And, through frequent communication, his customers recognize the value in this relationship, trusting Purpur’s advice for bettering their businesses.
Greg’s top tips
1. Really get to know each other. “Being a sales rep is more than just going and selling product to a customer, I think it’s understanding what their family is about, what their company is about, and what they want to get out of that company.”
2. Bring retailers together. “We try to get some of our key customers together to get them talking, so they understand they’re not the only ones who have problems in their stores, and the solutions can come from lots of brains out there.”
3. Tailor your solutions. “I look for a lot of new and innovative ideas for the stores, because if I can give them some advice with a little meat on it, they’re going to look to me as an expert. I’m walking in with something that’s going to make their store a bit more profitable, a bit more attractive.”
4. Stay in touch. “The biggest communicator is the OPTICON online ordering system, but you absolutely have to stay in touch in person. I can also talk to some customers on the phone 10 times a week, and they know they can phone me at any time, be it on weekends or at night.”