Favorite phone call. A rep just picked up a new line of products. He knows we sell them. He calls me to set up a time to have us show him the line.
He knows he will learn more about how to sell the line to other stores by talking to me than by going to the company. He knows this because he will learn from me why we bought it in the first place. And he knows that the reasons I bought it are the same reasons he will need to use to get other stores to buy it.
Two quick lessons in that paragraph.
First, we can do the same. Ask your best customers why they bought what they bought. The reasoning they use will give you incredible insight into the reasoning you should use to sell your products. Now you are thinking like the customer will think and selling to her needs, not to yours.
Second, are you that important to your sales rep?
My reps are my lifeblood, at least my great reps are. They make sure I get the right products and steer me clear of the wrong ones. They never try to oversell me. They never push me into products they know won't work for me or my market. And I have a lot of great reps!
But I had a hand in making them great reps by cultivating a relationship where they gain as much from it as I do. For many of my reps, we are nowhere near their top account monetarily, but because we bring more than just dollar-value to the table, we get their very best in return.
You can do that, too. Treat your rep like an extension of your family. Make the relationship beneficial to both of you. The return on that investment will often end up in your favor.
PS The principals to building relationships with your sales reps is the same as building relationships with your customers. Treat 'em like your new best friends. Share with them. A quote I use in my Customer Service live presentation is "Your customers will get better when you do." The same applies to your sales reps.