The speaker who best fit the AIM/R 2017 Conference theme of “Disruptive Leadership” was Colin Puckett, seller marketing lead for Amazon Business, who spoke on “Evolving with Ecommerce.” AIM/R members met Oct. 17-20 in Seattle.

Launched in April 2015, Amazon Business is a B2B company that sells more than 10 million products “with business and quantity prices” to more than 1 million business customers, said Puckett, who works with B2B companies on ecommerce. Its catch phrase is “Amazon Business: Everything you love about Amazon. For work.”

“It’s physically impossible for Amazon to hold all the products it sells,” he noted. “We need to work with third-party sellers who are looking for incremental sales from new customers. More than 85,000 third-party business sellers have been added since 2015.”

With so many third-party sellers involved, Puckett said its challenge is to produce an authoritative B2B catalog.

Amazon Business has designed its customer experience to be a one-stop shop for registered businesses only. It offers “business-relevant deals and payment methods,” Puckett said.

“We all know B2B does not run on credit cards,” he noted.

Amazon Business initially has targeted health care, education and government because it identified a particular need for innovation in procurement in these three vertical markets. Puckett expects, however, Amazon Business’ reach to broaden.

“Consumers are bringing their experiences at home to work and wondering why businesses cannot work better,” he said.

Amazon Business, Puckett noted, falls very much in line with parent company Amazon’s mission: To be the earth’s most customer-centric company where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online based on price, broad selection and convenience.


Brain science for sales

Another speaker in the “Disruptive Leadership” category was Elkay’s Robb Best, who told AIM/R members they can increase sales 40% by using brain research. For example, the brain is capable of binary selection only.

“The brain can only make a decision between this and that. Add another choice and the brain will shut down,” Best said. “It will be, ‘I can’t decide,’ buyer’s remorse or the customer changes his mind. Most people think the more choices we offer, the more we sell. The best salespeople only offer binary selections.

“Good, better and best is the worst way to sell. It always drives the customer to the middle choice.”

He encouraged AIM/R members to utilize as many of the five senses as possible during their sales presentations. While taste and smell can’t do much during a sale, the others are critical.

“If I only talk with you as a customer, you will forget 90% of what I said within three days,” Best said. “If you see it and hear it, you will retain 65%. If you see it, hear it and touch it, 80% will be remembered. On a jobsite, always take a piece of the product to touch and see. Don’t miss the opportunity to use the senses.”


Award winners

AIM/R named two inductees into its hall of fame: Jack Eversoll of Cambridge-Lee Sales in Anaheim, Calif., who served as AIM/R president in 1980-81, and John Clendenning of the J.R. Clendenning agency in Royersford, Pa., who served as AIM/R president in 1991-92.

The recipient of AIM/R’s 2017 Golden Eagle Award is Scott Edwards of Armacell. AIM/R presents the award annually to a manufacturer who demonstrates the highest level of professionalism in interaction with independent manufacturers reps. Pepco Sales & Marketing’s Charlie Parham, AIM/R’s vice president of industry and public relations, presented the awards.