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Good agents stand out from the show crowd

Richard Kottler

Yet again the selling season is upon us.

Yet again the selling season is upon us.

The major theme at UK trade shows Pure London and Moda was the need to squeeze every last drop out of the selling process - to see every possible buyer, find new ways of supporting the retailer, provide exciting PoS material, introduce new brands and have painless administrative support. This is where sales agents really show their mettle.

In my last Drapers column, I wrote about the scarcity of ‘good’ UK sales agents in the footwear sector. There has been an enormous response to that article.

The agents that responded have all been at pains to demonstrate that they have created professional organisations, often with showrooms, a sub-agent structure and in most cases genuine national coverage. Most of them have a full portfolio of brands but are always keen to see that extra winning and under-represented label.

The investment many have made in both infrastructure support and show stands is impressive. The best of them know the key link between selling and marketing and can advise brand owners accordingly.

It was obvious the ‘good’ agents understood this at the shows and it was evident that their stands were attracting attention. Equally, some are clearly underfunded and not committed: a few could not be seen because they were on holiday - in the peak selling season!

As a result of the positive reaction to my article, the British Footwear Association (BFA) will continue to compile a library of agents (and distributors) with

their brand coverage. This will not be made available to any other body. The intention is to help BFA member companies to match their requirements with appropriate agents or distributors.

Richard Kottler is chief executive of the British Footwear Association

Readers' comments (2)

  • Drapers are keen to recognise and reward retailers and buyers through Drapers Awards....why do you not have a 'Best Agent/Agency' category?

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  • Dear George, thank you for your comment. We will certainly take this on board and investigate. When we have visited this as a potential category in the past we haven't had a huge amount of interest from the industry. What do our readers think? And what would potentially be a good way to measure success if we did have a category for agents and agencies and distributors... We would welcome your thoughts...
    Jessica Brown

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