In yet another recent conversation centered around the pandemic, I was truly impressed with a Philadelphia-based rep agency and its immediate ability to adapt.
Rich-Tomkins wasted no time making a plan of action when the stay-at-home order first started on March 16.
“We over-communicated with our outside sales team since we couldn’t see them. We had a 4 p.m. meeting every day where we implemented our ‘peer-to-peer’ program. Each day, someone presented on an educational topic, a new product or procedure, which they were assigned the week before,” explains Alan Cohen, vice president of sales.
Cohen says it was clear the employees studied their topics and practiced their presentations, and since ending the peer-to-peer program now that things are opening back up, people have urged the company to bring it back.
Rich-Tomkins truly took the stay-at-home order as an opportunity to sharpen its skillset. In addition to the internal training mentioned above, the company has used this time to make improvements to its CRM, and just “get the things done that needed to be done.”
Another way the agency acted quickly and made good use of downtime was by creating its “Rich-Tomkins Connect” YouTube channel in March, full of Milwaukee Tool video demonstrations. Check out the videos here.
Being in an industry built on relationships, manufacturers’ reps have a challenge ahead. Returning to face-to-face sales calls and events is likely to be a case-by-case basis for the foreseeable future. Outside sales folks are used to traveling and maintaining relationships face-to-face, but now a regular phone call might be the best some can do.
Jessica Sciarabba, an outside sales rep at Rich-Tomkins explains that finding the balance hasn’t been as difficult as you’d think.
“The first question has to be ‘What are you comfortable with? Do you want a video call or do you want me to visit?’ I’m able to reach more people at a time by choosing virtual meetings, but some clients do want to see us, which is nice.”
“The goal is for us to be the most respectful agency around,” adds Cohen.
Looks like they are on the right track.