Anyone can be a "good" Field Service Rep, but do you have what it takes to be a "great" one? Here are 10 traits that separate the men from the boys, and the women from the girls.
Anyone can be a "good" Field Service Rep, but do you have what it takes to be a "great" one? Here are 10 traits that separate the men from the boys, and the women from the girls.
In this digital age, we have come to depend on technology to handle more of the store's functions with little to no interaction with human beings, the latest developments, of course, being self check-out lines, or the ability to complain about bad service via social media. But while technology can serve as an invaluable source of help, Field Service Managers and Representatives may also lose sight of how important the human touch remains on a day-to-day basis.
Robert Gerace, on Dec 29, 2015 11:00:00 AM
Let's face it. When your workforce is mostly in the field, you have less control over their interactions with clients. Many organizations today are using creative apps to track employees by location or other criteria through their smartphone, tablet, or GPS device. These apps are essential for setting targets and improving performance, and don't forget, they also help add a human touch to field force management.
Here's how setting targets and creating performance benchmarks can improve your field force management.
Robert Gerace, on Dec 29, 2015 9:11:54 AM
Manufacturers, it goes without saying that in order to maximize sell-thru somebody needs to merchandise your products. Retail customers need to be able to find your products with ease, and you ultimately want to make your products stand out from those of your competitors.
But you can have the best product placement possible and it won't mean jack if your shelves are a mess, your products are in the wrong locations, or (even worse not in distribution!), the shelves haven't been re-stocked, you have terrible consumer interaction, and some of your products aren't on display at all!
Robert Gerace, on Dec 28, 2015 8:17:41 PM
Thinking about investing in a mobile merchandising software platform? If you answered "yes," then you may be about to make a smart decision that could improve everything from operations, communications, scheduling, and expense tracking to management and, of course, in-store execution. However, it's also a big decision that can have a potentially huge impact on the day-to-day lives of many of your employees -- and you don't want to make a mistake when it comes to them. So, how do you decide without risking a huge mistake?
Robert Gerace, on Dec 28, 2015 11:00:00 AM
When it comes to managing a large field force and keeping clients happy, communication is key. Finding the right software plays an integral role in maintaining that open line of communication. With no shortage of available options, it's essential that you know what things to look for in a field force software solution.
You know how they'd make a big deal when you were in school about always double-checking your work? Well, the same thing applies to real life, and it is just as important to double-check yourself in the workplace as it is for that final essay. Here are three tips to help Force Field Representatives find just what it is they should be looking for -- and fixing -- before confirming that their job is, in fact, complete.
Robert Gerace, on Dec 26, 2015 3:00:00 PM
The third and final post in this series provides you with even more tips on how to be the most effective Field Force Leader you can possibly be.
We hope you're able to spend time with loved ones today, and if you're out working stores be comforted knowing that there are people who truly need help today and you being out there helping them is a very good deed on this special day.
Robert Gerace, on Dec 24, 2015 3:00:00 PM
Robert Gerace, on Dec 23, 2015 10:00:00 AM
Even the most effective field force leader could benefit from a daily reminder of what it takes to be the best. Here are a list of seven mantras to pump you up each workday before the daily grind. Don't be afraid to print out this list and tape it up next to your bedroom mirror so that you can be reminded of it each day as you get dressed and ready to take on the world.
Guest Post, on Dec 22, 2015 4:39:46 PM
Marisa is Founder and Head Brainiac at The Whole Brain Group. Over the last decade, she has grown her business into a thriving inbound marketing firm with a first-rate team focused on delighting clients with a results-driven approach.
James Earl Jones. Julia Child. Ella Fitzgerald. Elmo.
Some people have an unforgettable voice. It’s as smooth as velvet or as bubbly as soda pop. There’s no mistaking that voice, and it always evokes a certain emotional response — trust or laughter or longing.
Your company has a voice, too. Like an archetype, your voice communicates who you are in an unforgettable way. In fact, your voice is informed by your archetype to emulate your company’s unique personality.
All of your content should “sound” unmistakably like your brand. Smart companies know exactly how to craft the voice of their content to connect with their customers in an emotional way that no one else can. For example:
Is your voice unforgettable? If you’re not sure what your brand’s voice is or how to use it, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.
But first, let’s understand the difference between voice and tone.
Chances are, information is burying your field force. Of course, it's not your fault. Social media, personal emails, the barrage of advertisements, and new information all compete for precious time. Information overload is part of life now. However, the employer's job is to ensure work communication is effective and never part of the information tidal wave.
Powerful leadership is difficult enough when a manager is sitting in the same building as employees, but add the fact that employees are spread out geographically, and the difficulty factor rises significantly. How is it possible for leaders to effectively lead employees in the field?
You're working in retail stores all day, every day, but what do you really understand about them? At the end of the day, one of your key objectives is to build relationships with store managers. The most successful relationships will belong to those who help retailers achieve consistent outcomes that the latter desire.
But what is it that they desire?
Robert Gerace, on Dec 20, 2015 8:56:40 PM
When companies (manufacturers and retailers) hire third party merchandising service organizations (MSO's) to execute in-store programs, they are faced with certain trade offs. One of those trade offs is that people who work directly for their own company (and exclusively for their own company) are likely to be great Brand Ambassadors for their brand and products. Sadly, one point often cited in the argument against hiring a service provider is that MSO reps tend to not be very enthusiastic about the brands and products they handle.
While there are are a great number of benefits to hiring a third party merchandising company, such as coverage, cost, ability to grow or shrink based on market conditions and budget -- much of that (in some cases all of that) is outweighed by lack of enthusiasm for the brand.
But what if your merchandising service organization could offer the best of both worlds? Quite simply, it can. If you can get excited about the products you handle; and if your company can train and motivate all of your peers to also get excited about the products and brands, there is no stopping you or your company. Follow this guide to become unstoppable.
Robert Gerace, on Dec 20, 2015 6:34:09 PM
Have you heard the term "syndicated data" bantered about in retail cycles, but don't really know what it means? We've had a few private messages in our FB account regarding this very issue. So, in answer to those requests, we present this short tutorial that will answer the question: "What is Syndicated Retail Sales Data?"
Robert Gerace, on Dec 20, 2015 1:00:00 PM
In a perfect world, fraud would not exist. In the real world, however, fraud is a $3.7 trillion problem, according to a recent study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).
Robert Gerace, on Dec 19, 2015 1:00:00 PM
Businesses that use field representatives struggle every day with three essential issues that drain resources:
Robert Gerace, on Dec 18, 2015 1:00:00 PM
Clarity and accountability are the two linchpins of a successful pairing of HQ managers and their field reps. HQ managers who clearly define what is expected of each field rep and field reps who accept accountability for those expectations find that efficiency and profitability soon follow.
Earlier this week, we linked an article about 45 Retail Terms You Need to Know. Today we want to blow that up and flat-out help you to become a giant in the industry when it comes to knowledge of the business you depend on to put food on your table for yourself and your family.
It's never enough to shuffle from one store to the next, barely doing the minimum. If you want to Achieve Merchandising Greatness then you need to work at it. But you can work smart, not hard. In this post we're going to share a huge secret of how to gain the most industry knowledge in the shortest amount of time. Read on to be inspired!
Robert Gerace, on Dec 17, 2015 8:43:23 AM
Sometimes you can love your job but hate your boss. As a Field Representative you have the added joy of having many bosses, namely store managers in addition to your field supervisors up the chain. While technically not your boss, they sure do act like they are. For example, have you ever been asked to "pitch in," and go collect shopping carts from the parking lot? We write volumes on this blog about building relationships with store management, and going the extra mile to do so. But sometimes store managers can be downright unreasonable. For when they are, here are some tips on how best to cope when you feel a store manager is being less than fair.
Robert Gerace, on Dec 15, 2015 10:39:25 AM
In this fascinating article, The Retail Profit accurately points out that the online shopping experience is a literal explosion of information, videos, reviews, social proof, and buyer-comfort generating selling machine. They contrast that with the 'digital desert' that is the retail store. We believe they are 'dead on' when they claim that the future of retail will bring more than just token, and useless, videos to store shelves. Store shelves are going to explode with interactive computers. So think about this. Who's going to take advantage of installing technology on every store shelf within 100 miles of them. You? If you start now, and follow the 5 tips below, the answer can be YES!
Robert Gerace, on Dec 14, 2015 10:00:25 PM
Do you want to be truly great at retail? Of course, because you read this blog. Well, hold on to your hat because we've got something really special for you!
Our readers are not just going through the motions, but rather people who want to excel as retail merchandisers. To that end, we've been asked several times to do a post that defines common retail terms -- but not in a way that just has dry business terminology, in a way that really helps people to be their best. Turns out, we didn't need to write this post... it's already been written.
Robert Gerace, on Dec 14, 2015 2:28:29 PM
Holiday shopping is never easy. Even with the heavy Thanksgiving and Christmas specials, many customers eschew the specific sales and high-discount pricing in favor of procrastination. They wait until two weeks, one week, or even one day before Christmas in order to purchase for everyone who is on their Christmas gift list. What does this mean for businesses? Busyness. You need to learn how to prepare for the last minute holiday shopping surge.
Robert Gerace, on Dec 14, 2015 11:00:00 AM
Performing an audit is like putting your finger on a store’s pulse. Audits are an important way of measuring how one particular store, or group of stores, is performing. Of course, as with anything else, it pays to be prepared in advance before conducting an audit, so here are some quick pointers on what you need to do to get ready.
Robert Gerace, on Dec 13, 2015 4:00:00 PM
One of the most important traits you want in a field force representative is charisma. You want reps that can move mountains with their presence and move product with their smiles. You want a low-maintenance, hard-working, self-motivated sales machine that you can wind up, turn loose, and count the change at the end of the day — or provide that solution to your customers.
In order to be the most successful Field Manager that you can possibly be, you'll need to have a system in place on which you can rely. It turns out, Patrick Lencioni wrote a book to help us out: The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive. We'll cover the four main topics as they relate to field management in this post.
Robert Gerace, on Dec 11, 2015 9:49:32 AM
It's not just an old adage -- appearance definitely is everything, particularly in a professional environment. Merchandising is physical work, and you'll need to dress appropriately for the work. However, that does not excuse the need to represent your company in the best light possible. So here are four tips that can help you make the best possible first impression as a Field Force Representative before you ever even utter a word.
Robert Gerace, on Dec 10, 2015 4:42:51 PM
The most genuine leader is the one who practices what s/he preaches both in and outside of the workplace. That's why it's important to practice greatness as a way of life, not just as a behavior to be exhibited in front of your field merchandising team (though, that's certainly important, too).
Field Executives and managers, has it been a while since you threw your last case or fronted and faced your last shelf? We thought it might be helpful to remind you what your hard-working field reps do every day, and compare and contrast the differences between the old school, stack-of-papers way of doing things and today's modern world of smartphones and tablets.
In order to truly understand what a field rep needs, you should try to imagine the normal work day for them. For this reason, let's follow a day in the life of a field rep.
Have you ever noticed that we judge situations not by what happened, but by how they compare to what we expected to happen? We can use this to advantage during store calls by asking for expectations, setting expectations, and then exceeding those expectations during every visit.
Robert Gerace, on Dec 4, 2015 9:00:00 AM
In any business, the cost to redo defective work is incredibly high. In our industry, however, the cost is much higher. In addition to disappointing customers, lost sales at the shelf, and abandoned shopping carts, sending you back to the store to redo your work more than doubles the cost of the initial visit. So why do so many revisits seem to happen?
Field sales and service professionals: With the exception of closing old stores, every task you perform has the ultimate goal of selling products to consumers. Whether you were sent into the store to dust the shelves, do a re-set, front and face, or build a display -- if there are shoppers in the store you'll only be doing your best job if you help them to buy, especially during the holiday season!
To ensure that you help all supply chain stakeholders enjoy the most successful of holiday seasons, you will definitely want to adhere to these Retail Holiday Rules:
Your field force is an integral part of your company. They are the people who are representing you in the field and for the most part, they are on their own, spread out in different stores. This is why it is so important to make sure that they have everything they need. Here are five easy steps on how to give your field force the support they need.
ESP Note: This is a very exciting guest post that speaks to the heart of the field service matter: Getting a return on your field force payroll! This article is a must read!
Every month, whether or not you’ve made your numbers, you have to cut checks. I’m sure you've all heard the term ROI, return on investment, but what about Return on Payroll? If payroll is your greatest investment, shouldn’t you have a strategy in place to increase your return? How can you be sure you have the best team in place and that they are working to their fullest potential?
Guest Post, on Dec 3, 2015 12:03:50 PM
ESP Note: While you're in the field, communication matters. That's why we're posting this guest blog on better communication by understanding personality styles.
It is important to have a clear picture of the needs of each persons personality style. This will enable you to adapt your communications more to the needs of the person you are interacting with. There are 4 main styles. Each style has specific needs that must be addressed in order to make that person feel convertible and for you to close a sale or make an appointment.
Content marketing is certainly going to help you get more qualified visitors to your website, but what are these visitors going to see when they view your website on their smartphone or tablet?
Guest Post, on Dec 2, 2015 8:36:41 AM
During my sales training seminars, I often talk about power words and, more often than not, someone pops up and asks:” What the heck are power words?” Probably someone among you guys, knows the answer. Reading a US white paper on a survey from a well known American university, involving somehow 2.800 salesmen from “Fortune 500” companies: all those salesmen had a detail in common: they were extremely successful, earning an average of $200,000 Usd per annum.
This article is about the effect of Power Words on sales results.
When you walk into a store, you know in an instant whether or not its employees take pride in their jobs. Are the shelves adequately stocked? Is there merchandise scattered around the store in boxes that clog the aisles? Do the floors look like they haven’t been vacuumed in over a week?
But what about people who don't do this every week like you do? While you know that as a customer, your overall impression of this store from the second you walked through the door will be negative, they may not. So this holiday season, here's a thought: Each one, teach one.
When you're in the stores and and meet a seasonal worker, take a moment to let them know that the proper presentation of merchandise is crucial. Not only will poor presentation affect the supply chain's profits, but it can also affect the store's reputation. All the store needs is one lazy or disgruntled associate to fall down on the job, and word-of-mouth will spread like wildfire that the store is one to avoid.
Robert Gerace, on Dec 1, 2015 4:00:00 PM
Business has certainly changed over the past couple decades. Remember when there was no email or internet, and people either used a pager or stopped at a telephone booth to call the office?
Communication today is instantaneous, and if you have anything less, you're being left in the dust.