No, you’re not seeing double– Danny Gonzales joined Danny Gonzales in the studio today for a special Father’s Day episode! Father and son sat down to discuss some of the major challenges faced by independent sales reps for B2B manufacturers.
You see, our show’s host (Danny Gonzales Jr.) has a father (Danny Gonzales Sr.) who just so happens to be president of DMG Architectural Specialists, LLC. He and his company act as independent sales reps for around fifteen to eighteen different industrial B2B companies at any given time.
1. THE TOP CHALLENGES FACED BY INDEPENDENT SALES REPS
Danny Sr. shared his story with us about how he worked his way up through many positions in manufacturing, from production to customer service to sales. By the time he started his own business, he had seen all sides of the custom manufacturing industry. As a result, he made sure that DMG Architectural Specialists, LLC would work differently than other companies in that field.
Danny’s company is a go-between, finding the right resources and materials for diverse projects in a broad range of markets. But, they still run into some common hurdles.
“One of the things that presents itself as a challenge is working with manufacturing companies who will give you a hundred reasons as to why they can’t perform on a project or why they can’t produce a particular custom piece. So my typical mantra is, ‘Look. You’ve given me a hundred reasons why you can’t. Give me one reason how we can.’ ”
The custom manufacturing industry is slightly different from others, because every job is unique. But that doesn’t stop Danny from choosing his customers carefully, to make sure that each commission is actually viable and not just full of empty promises.
DMG’s overarching goal is to give their clients solutions, and not just products.
It’s tempting for sales reps to accept any job just to make a buck…but if the job isn’t a good fit for them, then under-delivering may destroy their chance at another commission from the same benefactor.
“The manufacturer really wants the project, so they begin to over-commit. That is a big no-no in our industry. You have to be able to back up what you say. If you promise this in 6-8 weeks, you’d better deliver in 6-8 weeks. We’re only as good as our last job.”
• NOT VALUING PEOPLE
Companies need to value not just their staff, but also their customers and prospects. Danny’s run into many manufacturers that are so focused on profits that they trample valuable future business.
Salespeople shouldn’t look solely to their product inventory when they’re trying to help their customers.
It’s vital that selling not be about selling. It needs to be about finding the best way to solve someone’s problem…even if that solution doesn’t make you as much money.
“You can have the best marketing materials, you can have the shiniest new car out there, but if you don’t understand your client and are not listening to their needs, then how can you bring them the solutions that they’re looking for?”
2. WHAT’S THE BEST SUPPORT TO GIVE THEM?
Since DMG focuses specifically on serving higher-end private manufacturers, one element that Danny looks for is the owner’s involvement with the company. Danny’s niche market means, wherever possible, working one-on-one with an owner who’s deeply invested in the project.
If something goes wrong, the last thing he wants is for his important request for a decision to get sent to voicemail. Companies with owners in the Bahamas six months of the year are not his cup of tea.
“I can only be as good in the field as the support I’m getting from our manufacturing companies.”
DMG requires close interaction with their manufacturers because DMG is required to provide that same attention and service to their own clients.
B2B companies need to be as attentive to their sales reps as they want those reps to be with their customers.
In fact, an average of 30-40% of Danny’s time is spent entertaining his clients. What are their families like? What are their hobbies?
“DMG was created to give a client that incredible experience that they cannot get anywhere else. The value that we bring to them is greater than their expectations. We want our clients to look great in front of their clients. Their clients don’t need to know who DMG is.”
Relationships, even business relationships, still require a human touch. If cultivated properly, they many times result in repeat business.
You can’t undervalue people…be they your clients, your sales reps, or your own staff.
3. DO BUCKETS OF SALES COLLATERAL REALLY HELP?
In custom manufacturing, marketing collateral is fairly scarce (in comparison to other industrial markets). However, Danny and his company still run into commissions with brochures and other content available for his team. But to him, those materials aren’t as important as understanding the project.
A single independent sales rep trying to represent eighteen different companies would be overloaded if they had to carry around samples from every benefactor.
An average person who are educated and excited about your product will do a far better job of selling it than a salesmen with three suitcases of demo kits.
Manufacturers who invest in training their distributors and independent sales reps will set themselves head and shoulders above the rest.
Best of all, Danny and his team also know how to give clients what they want– both in materials and in budget. A client might request marble or leather, but that may be too expensive. DMG can actually process other materials, like wood, to match that aesthetic for them.
“It’s not work. We’re just having fun. We don’t sell anything; we’re just helping them to visualize their dream.”
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