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Sales Representatives are a Dealer's Best Friends By Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90

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Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e at 90)

Sales representatives are a breed onto themselves. As you know, their mission is to represent manufacturers and distributors anywhere from the Bronx to Bangladesh and from Brooklyn to Beijing and to sell their products to retailers.

Among these men (and these days women) there is a core of professionals that has brought the art of intermediary representation to a new plateau. An art that encompasses knowing the whys of their products; the finesse of their construction; the ins and outs of their competition.. .and your competition... plus thorough familiarity of the retail game in toto. Wow-eel

They are one of the keys to the success of a top retailer's selling mission. Namely, how to find the best values and the best accompanying features of our industry's creations. Notice, I did not add "best prices" because that is a relative, quality factor.

Of course, not every sales representative falls into this sector. I'm talking about a very select group. A group who has made it its business to study their business and our business. They are the deans. You can seek them out by being thoughtful, polite, understanding and never denigrating to get yourself on the inside track of this industry phenomena. By paying attention you can build a relationship of your knowledge plus someone else's years of industry experience that can buttress not only your business style but your manner of business know-how.

The name of the game in retail life is buying and who you are buying from. A sales representative who is 90% loyal to his company and 10% to you, the buyer of the moment, is a no-no. He thinks that his employer is the Almighty and never makes a mistake.   That's a no-way. Neither should you buddy up to a sales rep who votes 100% loyalty for you and zero for his company. That's a no-way, too.

The ideal rep is one who is 60% for his employer, who pays him, and 40% for you the customer, who buys from him. That marks him as being loyal to his company and loyal to you. That's a fair balance and that makes a fair retailer. It's still a very, very small world out there that we all have to live in...side by side.

And, by the way, if a sales rep is willing to give you his home telephone number be sure to accept it. You're going to be in a tight sales fix one night and saving a day in delivery might mean winning a valuable customer. But, if you call him, make sure you are extremely thoughtful and polite to his wife. Don't forget to apologize for annoying her, she may just have done two washes and put a sick child to bed.

And here's a Grandpa Mike-e-e! no-no. Don't ever call a sales rep on a Friday night with a complaint. It's a bad act of timing. When a hardworking rep finishes his last customer or leaves the factory at 5p.m. on Friday he is mentally finished for the week. Don't call him or you'll have two strikes against whatever you're calling about. However, if you have a nice order don't be bashful. Even the sick kid in the crib will take your order on any Sunday, holiday or even New Year's Day morning.

Finally, when a host of "great" things are being offered you to sell but they don't fit your store composition don't ever say "Thank you. But no one ever asked me for one."   How could someone have asked you for one if you never told them that you had it?
Thanks, again, for listening.

Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90

Got a question? Got a comment? Great!! E-mail: grandpamike-e-e!@furninfo.com

About Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e!)

Retailer, author, columnist, lecturer, composer and lyricist.

Came to US with immigrant parents in 1924 at the age of three.

Graduated high school at 16.

Managed a small bedding retail and manufacturing company at 18 in 1939.

Hired as Assistant to the VP of Purchasing (Sweets Corp. of America... approximately 500 employees) in 1940 at 19.

Drafted into US Army Signal Corp - Communications Personnel Div., Fort Monmouth.Tested and selected for Army Specialized Training Program, Rutgers University. Qualified for O.C.S. - Officer Candidate School and graduated as Second Lieutenant, Inventory/ Personnel Division in 1944 at 23.

Married his sweetheart, Anita, and he gives thanks to the Almighty that they are still sweethearts... after 73 years.

Rejoined Sweets Corp as Director of Personnel in 1945 at 24.

Joined his suddenly widowed sister as President of a small retail/ manufacturing company in 1946. Stayed on for 46 years managing the custom designing of over 20,000 childrens rooms and master bedroom beds.

Attended Hofstra University (evening program), and graduated in 1968 at age 47. Two of his kids followed right along at two other college campuses.

Applied for 30 day temporary columnist opening offered by the Reed Business Newspapers in NC and stayed on for 27 years. His retail columns were distributed everywhere from Brooklyn to Bangladesh, to Belgium to Beijing.

Traveled the US and visited with 3rd/ 4th generation retail owners.

He was admitted to the Writers Hall of Fame for, "Conspicuous Excellence In reports and appraisals of the furniture industry."

Retired from retail management at age 70.

BOOKS: (1) At age 72: published first book "Where's The Green Pea?" vegetable character stories including his original music and CD.

Designed programs for primary and pre-K schools and presented them with his Anita. (2) At age 76: Gee! I Wish I Had A Bedroom All My Own," lectured in middle schools (teenage), with tech info for parents, teachers and students in Home

Science. (3) At age 80: Tzedakah - Caring And Sharing classic book with original music CD and illustrations for high school chorales and drama groups.

At 89 -- published Retail Life: How To Get In, Stay Alive a-n-d Love It! in online and printed version for business schools, industry, and entrepreneurs. Includes how-to educational section for "Wise Women Who Love A Challenge" and "Oldtimer Retailers Who've Missed Some Basic Goodies In Business Promotion. Also provides business professors and career students seeking everyday practical trade experiences and business thinking.

Invited to address Levitz Furniture retail salespersons, Furniture Designer Associate members,

IHFRA sales associations, High Point University students and F.I.T. retailer evening sessions. Also accepted as an ASID associate member.

At 90 plus... is a musical playwright, composer and lyricist with original music and thinking for very young and very old America.

Grandpa Mike-e-e

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