This content is sponsored by Agna Brakes.
With 25 years of industry experience, Catalin Zota shares his vision and experience with us by explaining how he sees the role of a sales representative in 2020.
Catalin Zota studied hydroelectric technology at a young age but quickly realized that it was not for him. “Greatly interested in mechanics,” Zota’s first job was at a family business that manufactured brake pads in Anjou.
For Zota, it was the first step into an industry which became a passion. Interesting, that his first job made him understand the nature, function and purpose of the composition of brake parts. For him, knowing the product and its applications is the key to a representative’s success.
In his opinion, “it is difficult for a manufacturer’s agent to serve its customers well if it has about ten distinct ranges of products.”
Zota believes that successful representatives should have full product knowledge. “If we want to add value to our work, we need to be able to explain the full applications to the client. But more importantly, we need to assure our clients that although we might suggest a more expensive part, it is the most suitable and appropriate for their needs.
He states that the entire automotive aftermarket’s reputation would improve if garages listened to the representatives and to the real needs of their clients. If garages propose the correct maintenance work with quality parts, their clients will recognize their professionalism.
Knowing How to Listen
“Each representative has his own approach. One thing is certain, I believe that with the complexity of the vehicles that our technicians have to repair, our role is to inform and explain the applications to customers—how to do it the correct way! My business relations are based on listening and sharing information. I don’t argue over prices, I prefer to explain the greater value of our products. To become a good representative, I think it takes solid product knowledge, a firm interest in understanding the client’s needs, and patience.
AGNA Brakes representatives arrange multiple clinics at wholesalers, but also hold and direct workshops in addition to being present at distributors’ sales shows. I’m there to explain to them that there is room for quality products in the aftermarket and that you have to know how to recommend them to the client.”
Zota also makes it no secret that a representative must be readily available. Making a sale is one thing, repeating it over several years is another.
“People are inclined to buy online because there’s no one telling them about the products in person. When they have questions, a problem or even a complaint, you need to answer—it makes a huge difference. On top of all that, being a representative also means being diplomatic!”
Last February, Catalin Zota was recognized by Groupe Del Vasto as Manufacturing Representative of the Year.