While there’s always been a lot of industry chatter about the need for NEMRA reps to position themselves as consultants who are the go-to information sources in their local markets for technical and application information for the lines they carry, it seems like the issue of consultative selling is coming up more than ever.
As the lighting market moves slowly but surely toward app-enabled installations and connected lighting and IoT-enabled electrical devices of all sorts become more common, there’s no question that the job of the independent manufacturers’ rep is getting a whole lot more complicated.
The National Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Association (NEMRA) used its recent annual conference in San Diego to enlighten its members about some of the selling and management skills they will need to survive and thrive in this brave new world of technology. The conference offered educational sessions on sales contracts, compensation programs and succession planning. It also featured the first NEMMY Awards, part of NEMRA’s launch over the past year of the innovative Power Pact program.
Developed with the Alexander Group, Scottsdale, AZ, Power Pact helps independent manufacturers’ reps and their manufacturers work together in the areas of sales enablement, contracts and compensation and C-suite engagement. Part of the Power Pact is recognizing reps and manufacturers who over the last year have used the Power Pact to drive sales and profits with the NEMMY Awards.
Synergy Electrical Sales Inc., Fairless Hills, PA, and Lutron Electronics won the first Power Pact Partnership of the Year Award; United Electrical Sales, Orlando, FL, got the Manufacturer’s Choice Award; and Arlington Industries won the Rep’s Choice Award.
As part of its focus on helping its members become more strategic sellers, the association also launched the new NEMRA Conceptual Selling Program with the Miller Heiman Group. The online course is intended to help NEMRA reps rethink their sales approach to focus on the buying process the customer goes through and servicing those informational needs, and not only concentrating on the selling process.
Electrical Marketing had the chance to chat with Ned Camuti at the conference about training salespeople to utilize consultative selling strategies, which has always been one of his true passions during his electrical career. For the past two years, Camuti has been helping clients hone their consultative selling skills through his consulting company, EFC & Associates, Naples, FL.
One of the conference seminars touched on what turned out to be a particularly hot topic at this meeting — succession planning. EM had conversations with several reps at the conference who were either embarking on or in the middle of a succession plan. In his session, “How to Value and Sell a Rep Firm,” Charley Cohon, president of the Manufacturers Agents National Association (MANA), gave reps some pointers on the succession planning process. Cohon, who sold his Illinois-based rep firm Prime Devices several years ago to Eric Anderson, urged attendees to start early in their succession planning because the process can easily take five years to complete.
One of the big news stories at this year’s NEMRA conference was the announcement that electrical industry veteran and former rep Matt Scarborough of Trade Tech Solutions had acquired NEMRA’s technology products and services. According to an announcement on Trade Tech’s website, “Effective Feb. 1, 2018, all NEMRA technology services supported by the NEMRA Service Corp. (NSC), in Chappaqua, NY, will be transferred to TradeTech, a New England-based company.
“The combination of our resources will provide a greater depth of personnel, expanded technology offerings and continued dedication to quality work and customer service,” the release said. “TradeTech will acquire all of NEMRA’s technology offerings to include IRIS software and support, DMS (data management services) and the NEMRA-Network (CRM).”
In other news at NEMRA this year, Joe Tumlin of Coresential, Tampa, FL, took over the NEMRA chairmanship from Ed Gardner, A.A. MacPherson Co., Inc., Canton, MA. The 2019 NEMRA Conference will be held Feb. 5–9, the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX.