Why national account managers don't care about your product

I knew I had to recalibrate within five minutes of my presentation.

Standing in front of several national account managers for a national distributor, I was asked to present several of our new products from several of our manufacturers. 

Here's why I had to recalibrate. 

These national account managers are responsible for handling end users with a national and international footprint. What does their type of end user care about? It's not our manufacturer's great products. It's not their great delivery.

They care about the program

The program can be anything that gives the end user an incentive to convert from their current product line to your product line. Consider incentives such as "a free soap dispenser for every case of soap refills bought" or "a free cooler with every case of electrolyte drinks purchased" or "rebate programs for total purchases bought over the goal" or "a free set of AED pads with every AED purchased". 

Yes, the product must perform well at the national account end user. It must show a cost savings. It must "remove perceived pain". But the program helps seal the deal.

When working with national account distributor sales people, postpone your features and benefits to the end and develop a program for them to present to their end user. 


CSP graduates "with distinction"

Three of our sales team members, Dan DiPirro, Virginia Brewer, and Matt Gauerke, attended this year's CSP (Certified Sales Professional) course which is coordinated by MRERF (Manufacturers Representative Educational Resource Foundation). All three graduated "with distinction". 

The main theme of the four day CSP course is consultative selling; focusing on the distributor's or end user's needs. Other topics include measuring your return on time invested, strategic territory management, time management. The course concludes with a written and verbal exam. 


State The Obvious

“You’re just gonna’ walk out without leaving me a quote? I need your quote.”

Dennis wasn’t going to do it. Over twelve years of calling on industrial end users, this distributor sales representative had honed a knack for focusing on projects that he knew would result in an order. If the project was going to be a bust, he’d walk away before putting more wasted time in the project.  

The end user wasn’t going to buy from him and he knew it, so he walked away from the project...graciously.

Dennis wasn’t always that way...

In Dennis’ early selling years, he was a pleaser. When an end user asked him for solutions or a price, he was quick to offer one.  

Then Dennis began learning sales skills that eventually took him to become one of our favorite distributor sales agents and he agreed to let us share some of his tactics with you. 

“Slow down for yellow lights.”

Dennis didn’t know it was called “slowing down for yellow lights” but this is a tactic that we learned from Let’s Get Real Or Let’s Not Play by Mahan Khalsa. Here’s an example. Together, we visited a car part manufacturer that Dennis wanted to sell Andersen mats to. The “yellow light” was that this project would go to the end user’s other supplier because of an obvious relationship that couldn’t be broken. Dennis said to the end user, “_____, if I were in your shoes, I’d give this matting project to a supplier I already know and trust, such as your current distributor. Are you heading in that direction?” The end user replied, “Yep, they’ll probably get the project.” Dennis replied, “OK, What would you need to see or experience from us that would influence you to at least make this a tougher choice for you?” Dennis learned more from the customer’s answer and was able to demonstrate key differences and landed the matting job. Dennis wasn’t afraid to state the obvious - tactfully - what he saw and felt. 

Have you ever noticed your customers briefly looking at their smart phone to check emails/texts or glance at their watch? Dennis would “state the obvious”: “I noticed you’re glancing at your iPhone. Are we out of time?” or “I feel like what we’re presenting isn’t interesting to you. Am I off track?” You gotta love a distributor sales rep who isn’t afraid to  slow down for yellow lights and state the obvious. It prevents heart ache down the road. 

In our next Momentum newsletter, we’ll continue with more of Dennis’ effective style of selling. 


Ryan Griffin joins Market Force in Indiana

Market Force is happy to announce that Ryan Griffin has joined our team as our outside sales representative in Indiana. Ryan, a graduate of Indiana University/Purdue University, lives in the Indianapolis area with his wife, Angie, and their two children. 

His territory will be all of Indiana with the exception of the southern portion along the Ohio River, which will be continued to be covered by Virginia Brewer out of Louisville.

Ryan's addition continues our committment toward offering increased penetration and the very best sales coverage for our principals in the Midwestern states. 



How to successfully do a trade show booth

At the recent FDIC (Fire Department Instructor's Conference) in Indianapolis, Pelican showed how to successfully exhibit and launch a new product. We hope you can learn from this at your next trade show or product introduction.







  1. Advertise before the show: Pelican advertised their new #3715 flashlight in several fire journals and asked prospective attendees to bring in the advert for a free drawing.

  2. If you have a free drawing, make more than one winner: What made Pelican's drawing unique was the fact that fifteen free flashlights were going to be given away at 4:00 each day. Instead of only one winner per day, Pelican had fifteen.

  3. Draw a crowd, make some buzz: booth visitors had to be present at 4:00 PM for the free drawing. This large crowd pulled in other curious onlookers to the booth.

  4. Keep it simple: Pelican's booth had ample space and focused on one theme - the new #3715 flashlight. Yes, other lights and Pelican cases were shown but they were off to the side.

  5. Repeat, repeat, repeat: notice the #3715 image is repeated six or seven times on the backdrop. The plastic tower on the right of the booth stacked several hundred #3715 lights and mounted a large version of the light on top. You couldn't miss the message or the focus of the booth.

  6. A trade show booth isn't a grocery store: most trade show booths want to please everyone with every product the company offers. The result is that the show attendees are confused and can't - or won't - focus on anything in the booth. Less is more.

  7. You have three seconds to get my attention: that's all the time you have when someone walks by your booth. Imagine driving by a highway billboard; if you have a simple message, I'll remember it. If you have too many words or images, I'll ignore it.

  8. Make a great product: No explanation needed.