In 2001 Jamie Hudson took the plunge into the promotional products industry and became a multi-line rep after many years as a sales rep and district manager for Energizer Battery Company. He owes the decision to the recommendation of his good friend and fellow multi-line rep Bill McDonald, principal of the McDonald Terry Group in Athens, Georgia. McDonald was right; the industry has been a great fit for Hudson, who enjoys representing several lines with different products and working with multiple suppliers.
Among the lines Hudson represents is supplier LarLu. In the three years he’s repped the company, it has shown significant sales growth, a trend his nominator Joe Durand, LarLu senior vice president of sales, attributes in part to Hudson’s hard work. “I believe his best asset is in the number of sales calls he makes,” says Durand. “He is always in some city within his region making calls. This is a tough business because each distributor salesperson is like an individual company; being face-to-face within distributor offices is key to for multi-line reps for being in the right place at the right time.”
Durand also praises Hudson’s quick follow-up on emails and phone calls—a key to winning the business—and his natural ability for putting others at ease. “He always has a way of making people feel comfortable around him,” adds Durand. “He is very approachable for distributor salespeople and always shows respect.”
One On One With Jamie Hudson
On the difficulties multi-line reps face: We have no control over how long we represent a line—even if our sales are up they sometime make a change.
On how reps can remain relevant: We have to be able to adjust as this business changes year to year. Reps are very important because distributors need to see the quality of the product and new ideas that are coming into the market. Also, if a distributor has an issue, multi-line reps can help them out. It is all about relationships.
On how distributors can help him serve them better: They should always send us artwork for virtual and/or spec samples. Those two things really help them close the deal. Also, they should try to give multi-line reps their full attention during presentations so they don’t miss any new ideas or products.