Category 6 Independent or Factory Sales Rep of the Year

by WOHe

Category 6 Independent or Factory Sales Rep of the

First place: Brian J. Clarke and Gary Bell, The Clarke
Connection, New Hartford, CT

Customer Concern, Genuine Commitment Make Rep Duo a Winning

They say talk is cheap, but when you hear the same buzz over and
over again, eventually, you have to stand up and take notice. In
the case of reps Brian J. Clark and Gary Bell, of The Clarke
Connection, in New Hartford, CT, K&BDN couldn’t help but notice
the slew of nomination forms that poured into our offices from
nearly a dozen kitchen and bath dealer, all offering up rave
reviews for this duo of reps. 

It was quickly obvious that the “rep” in Bell and Clarke’s job
title had plenty to do with reputation and that the plethora of
impressive reviews was a good indication that we’d found a pair of
worthy winners for Category Six of K&BDN’s 2001 Industry
Leadership Awards, Independent Factory Sales Rep of the Year.

In addition to praise for their hard work, dedication and
positive attitudes, Clarke and Bell were also repeatedly cited for
their concrete contributions to their customers’ continued

As Debra Reale of Bergeron Kitchen & Bath, Inc. notes, “Gary
is always coming into our showroom to introduce any new products
that have become available. He always takes the time to train and
educate our new employees by having product seminars, after
business hours, to ensure that we are fully knowledgeable in his
product lines. He immediately addresses any problems we have in the
field and proceeds to do whatever it takes to resolve the problem,
finish the project and make sure the customer is happy. And, he has
phenomenal follow up values.”

Grant Scott, of Acorn Kitchens Limited, cites additional
contributions that the pair has made to his business: “[Gary and
Brian] have developed and implemented programs to increase our
market share. They’ve established long-term business relationships.
They serve on Acorn’s Rep Council. They are number one for largest
volume increase in one year, and number one in establishing new
accounts. They train our dealer personnel and motivate our
salespeople. They help in design and ordering displays, as well as
expediting dealer needs and correcting problems.” Finally, and most
importantly, “They maintain the highest level of service for the
customer and myself,” he concludes.

More rave reviews come from Brian Edinger of the Duncanville,
TX-based Quality Cabinets, who says, “Gary and Brian are
continually developing new marketing programs for their customers.
They are always creating custom designed literature and
presentation packages for each specific customer and their builder
needs. And, they are constantly creating marketing tools to aid in
the promotion of our products with customers.”

If there’s one thing that dealers seem to agree on, it’s that
the very best reps are more than just reps; they’re partners in
creating a successful business. As Timothy Holick of the
Middleboro, MA-based Wood Palace Kitchens, Inc. notes, “It is not
common in any trade for a rep to care about his customer as Gary
does most just care about how much product you sell. Gary cares
about how he can help you. This is very unique.”

Peter Genovese of the Cos Cob, CT-based Putnam Kitchens agrees:
“Brian’s bottom line has always been how to improve my business not
just his sales. His creativity and endless optimism are contagious,
and my sales staff feels they have unlimited potential with him
behind them. We feel we no longer have a sales rep calling on us,
but, rather, a business partner.”

2nd place: John McCarty, Tierney & Associates,
Springfield, IL

Rep Goes ‘Above and Beyond’ as True Partner

When talking about the best reps, kitchen and bath dealers
invariably have a story. In the case of John McCarty, of the
Springfield, IL-based Tierney Associates, there are plenty of
stories. And they’re all impressive ones.

As Tony Piazza, of the St. Louis, MO-based RSI Kitchen &
Bath notes, “On one occasion, we had a customer concerned that her
roll-out trays were not functioning smoothly. John voluntarily
visited the customer’s home with a vacuum to clean all eight

Another time, Piazza recalls, “A customer had ordered a set of
Omega Cabinets with a glazed finish, and [when it came in] the
customer felt that the glaze was not dramatic enough. John went to
the home, removed all of the doors, drive them six hours north from
St. Louis to Waterloo, Iowa so they could receive additional
glazing, then had them fedexed to the customer’s home a week later
where John re-installed all the doors.”

Piazza also cites McCarty’s accessibility and commitment,
noting, “John’s home and office are more than two hours away, yet
he visits our showroom three times per week, attends customer site
visits at least once a week, and often helps to expedite an order
or special need through the factory.”

3rd place: Marty Klie, Elm Mfg., Denville,

Rep’s Responsiveness Wins Dealers’ Trust

Factory sales rep Marty Klie of the Denville, NJ-based Elm Mfg.
understands that being responsive is how you win clients’ trust and
their continued business. With this in mind, he’s built a track
record of success, winning clients’ approval with his
responsiveness, approachability, and constant willingness to do
what needs to be done.

According to Thomas Villante, of the Riverdale, NJ-based
CustomCraft Product Co., Inc., Klie’s genuine concern for “doing
things right” is what makes Klie unique. 

In fact, Villante notes, “Of all the factory reps I’ve had in
the past 32 years, none have done, or are doing, the job that Marty
Klie has done.”

In citing his strengths, Villante notes that, “He constantly
stays in touch and keeps us informed. And when something comes up
that needs attention, he is right there with a phone call or in
person.” In short, Villante says, “He is extremely responsive. He
makes it very easy to deal with the factory, which makes it easier
to do business with our clients.”

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