Joe G. is back, and he’s got a little something to say about ride-alongs…

Q: I’m a new manufacturer rep, and as part of my training will be doing a ride-along with a distributor. Are there “rules of etiquette” in ride-alongs? I’m hoping to make a good impression.

Derick — Knoxville, Tenn.

A: First off Derick, don’t use the word “etiquette.” Sounds like table manners for a tea party. We’re in the mean, tough business of sales here, sport, and only the strong survive. You follow these rules, you’ve got a chance.


Road Rule No. 1: Talk about price before you meet with the first customer

I know this is like telling the ninth grader to get the nerves to ask the girl he has a crush on for the first dance at Homecoming right, but you’ve got to get a consensus on the sell price before you walk through that door. The last thing the distributor rep wants is for you to get through the list of features and benefits and get the “What’s the price?” question and the two of you end up looking at each other because you didn’t have the price conversation in the car. That is all kinds of awkward, and you’d be lucky to get a ride back to your car, much less continued cooperation in sales ventures.

Road Rule No. 2: Don’t do more than half a day

You think your new-found buddy wants to spend all day with you? Well, he’d probably rather suffer through a half-day of your college stories and reality TV reviews. That’s tolerable, and if things are going well, you can always extend it to a few more stops. But a half day should be enough for you to visit accounts and get your pitches in without cramping his style.

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