THE EVOLUTION OF A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT AND PRO AUDIO REP FIRM
As we approach the mid-year mark, quarterly results and company progress are naturally on my mind. I am writing this post on Father’s Day, a quiet Sunday morning that like most inevitably starts with a hot cup of coffee and some time poring over sales forecasts and goals for the coming months. For a moment, my mind drifted back to this time in 2018, as my conversation with Reflex Marketing founder Bob Brennan had not yet started; owning a manufacturer’s rep firm was not even on my “short list” of things I imagined doing for my next adventure. It dawned on me just now how fortunate I am, first and foremost for my wonderfully supportive family and the awesome celebratory dinner that will occur later today, but for so many other reasons.
An Attitude of Gratitude
My career in the musical instrument and pro audio industry started in 1980, so I’ve had the opportunity over the years to observe how many sales reps worked (and some that didn’t). I tried to emulate the ones who showed up, were focused on adding value, and generally made the effort to develop a personal relationship. One of the standouts was Bob, who I met while working at Medley Music “back in the day.” The idea of carrying on the Reflex Marketing tradition after 35 years of success was both an honor and frankly a bit daunting. Bob had built a fine reputation for the company, and a great foundation for me to start. Little did I know what was in store for us, as two weeks after signing the agreement to acquire Reflex, I was diagnosed with advanced bladder cancer. 2019 was a gut punch like nothing I could have imagined, but Bob stood by me and kept the business moving while I went through chemo, radical surgery, and a very long and difficult recovery. I am eternally grateful for this demonstration of friendship, vowing that I would make a comeback and take the company to the next level.
Developing Alignment with all Collaborators
I have come to the realization that success in no small part has to do with alignment of purpose. A wise industry participant told me the best I should hope for is getting everyone in our group to be “rowing in the same direction.” That certainly is a start, but therein lies the opportunity to do more, possibly much more. As our firm develops it has become clear that this alignment must extend to our suppliers, the retailers we support and the cohorts we interact with. Our mutual vision is a satisfied end user, one who shares their happiness with a product or service with their friends and musical associates. This “natural networking” will come back in the way of enhanced reputation, improved brand awareness, and ultimately increased sales. Job One is to embrace the concept, adjusting our methods, communication, and activities so we arrive with the same purposeful mindset.
Grab Your Shades, the Future Looks Bright
I am pleased to report that through all the turmoil since stepping into this exciting role, we have managed to prosper. The Reflex selling platform has developed, we have extended our reach geographically, and many fine vendors have chosen us for representation. This in turn has allowed the company to add more team members, and each leg up convinces me that the future looks quite good. Ups and downs? Sure, they are to be expected. Setbacks? Been there, done that. The key here is to stick together as friends, colleagues, industry professionals and fellow human beings, as doing so will make the ride that much more enjoyable.