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Canada to Cuba!


A Check-In with SIA’s Ed Wray, SIA Eastern US & Canada Sales + Marketing Manager (@EdAWray)

One of the best things about traveling thru the east coast is the variety of things that happen on the road.  It’s usually never the same except Boston traffic!  The people are wonderful and still no one uses a turn signal in Rhode Island.  I warned Scott Sorenson about this before he moved east.  A few weeks ago all this happened in one day; saw a bald eagle in Nashua, NH, got rattled by a blast from a nearby quarry in the middle of a meeting, had my computer crap out in a research presentation, then got caught in a torrential rain storm walking back to my hotel.

While everyone knows SIA for the trade show, a lot of my job involves our other products and marketing initiatives: the retail audit (RetailTRAK™ #SIAdata), if you need to know what’s going on in your category, this is the single most important tool you should have.  A database of stores, you know who you currently sell to but who else is out there that I should be working with.  Pretty basic stuff for a sales manager; this will help you and your reps develop a targeted sales plan to jointly grow your business together.

Along with these two things I spend a lot of time helping SIA Member companies better understand the marketplace, many come to me as a consultant to help them with a variety of problems and situations.  To me, helping a company grow or solve a problem is the best part of my job.  It really makes me feel like I made a difference in someone’s business.

What’s next on my agenda…

Retailers and working with them to understand how they can use the internet to their advantage.  It’s not just about selling online; it’s about communicating to their customers.  In today’s crazy rush, rush world most of the consumers out there have very little time to read a newspaper.  How are you going to get your stores message thru to them?  You need to let technology help you.  The first thing a retailer should be doing is build an email list.  Put a binder on your counter; get their emails from your shop work tickets.  Don’t be afraid to ask for their email and to join your newsletter- these are people that already know you and like you, after all they did just come to your shop!

I am just back in the states after a whirlwind trip to Montreal.  I have learned a few things while there.  First off my limited French language got me in no trouble at all…. Secondly I don’t have nearly enough black clothing in my closet.  Thirdly my pants aren’t skinny enough nor are my shoes pointed enough.  Fourthly yes hockey is a religion up there and everything stops when the Canadians are playing.  Fifthly yes no matter where you go mullets still look bad.

That’s all for now, have a great season.  I look forward to getting on the hill later this month.