With the changing shape of card publishers’ sales forces, fewer agents and a spate of changing distribution arrangements, Pete Hall of Halls of Llandaff, Cardiff shares his views on how he is feeling about the level of service he received from publishers and what would be on his wish-list for improvements.
How does the service level stack up from publishers?
“Generally I would say that the service we receive from the publishers with whom we deal is excellent. If I have to chase anything up directly with the publishers they are invariably very helpful and are all great listeners, especially the women!
However I wish I could say the same about all the reps and agents out there. We love the reps and agents that do their jobs well, who listen, are efficient and follow through what they say they are going to do. Unfortunately a lot of treat the job (and it’s an important job) merely as an order taker. Some just seem to pitch up expecting to get an order and not do any of the inevitable sales ‘donkey work’.”
How do you see the service from salesteams changing?
“The sales technique is changing and with the introduction of fantastic websites from the publishers and lovely catalogues I am fearful that the days of the traditional rep could be numbered.
I now only agree to see a handful of reps and agents. But these are all experienced people who offer impartial advice, honest observations on the product, don’t over sell, offer returns and discounts. They generally work for us and with us.”
What’s on your wishlist for improvements on the service front from publishers?
“The future for us is that the publishers we support with orders every month or every 8 weeks is that in return for doing most of the orders ourselves, and merchandising our stock, that we receive a discount.
I am not the sharpest tool in the box when it comes to computers, but if I can ‘log-on’ and do an order on websites anyone can do it, and it should save me money.”
*Pete’s shop, Halls of Llandaff appeared as part of The Greeting Card Project from Blue Eyed Sun last month. Blue Eyed Sun’s md Jeremy Corner visited the store to focus on buying retirement cards. The video also includes heart warming recipient footage from David Pursley from Australia distributor Waterlyn and paper stalwart Sarah Glennie (previously of Fenner Paper and GF Smith).