Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - 22


PEPCO

idential subdivision, if there's only one
entrance and exit, then it's mandated by
the state to have a fire suppression system," Hammer maintains. "Residential
fire sprinklers are growing and definitely
are a factor in the near future."

RAPID CHANGE
Products are changing rapidly, becoming
more complicated, technical and computer-controlled at a faster rate. "You're
looking at plumbing systems that now
double as fire protection systems, and
products that require a higher level of
technical expertise from a rep or a sales
force that is going to go out and educate
the marketplace," Charlie Parham notes.
That level of education requires sales
and representatives forces that are made
up of stable and long-term employees.
"That is what we bring to a manufacturer
that looks for a way to go to market - that
product and marketing knowledge to
know how things have changed over time
and be able to teach it," Parham says.
To do that, Pepco's employees have to
be well-trained themselves. "We spend a
lot of money on training our own team,"
Mike Parham emphasizes. "In consultative selling, we're not after orders, we're
after partnerships, and long-term ones.
We want to be the trusted advisor to our
distributor partners, and the only way
we can do that is to be really good at education and solutions. So we spend a lot
of time in focusing on understanding
the needs of our accounts." The company's customer relationship management
system helps to ensure that customers'
needs are acted upon in a timely fashion.
Pepco not only trains its employees in
the products it sells, but also in the art of
selling itself. "We think of it like an accountant that has to get continuing education credits or a contractor that gets
recertified," Charlie Parham says. "We're
a sales organization, and to keep sharp on
sales, we have to be educating our sales
force on the finer points of selling and being a professional sales organization."
22 www.wdimagazine.com Spring 2016

Those skills were put to the test this
past year in accumulating points to
qualify for a Caribbean trip celebrating
Pepco's 50th anniversary. "We ended up
with 68 people we took to the Caribbean," Mike Parham says. "It was a very fun
event. We also had a great Christmas party with 1965 as the theme."
Pepco's educational and sales efforts
were recognized in 2015 when Plumbing
and Mechanical magazine named the operation rep of the year.
In addition, the company is heavily
involved in many industry associations,
such as the Association of Independent
Manufacturers'/Representatives Inc. and
local chapters of the Mechanical Contractors Association and various homebuilders associations.

FIVE-YEAR PLAN
To prosper during the next 50 years,
Pepco is continuing its annual and fiveyear strategic plans. "We take the time to
write a business plan every year with our
top customers and every single manufacturer client we represent," Charlie Parham points out. "Not many people take
the time to do that, and that sets us apart
and drives business and drives our plan of
attack and for success for an entire year's
worth of time."
The same is true for the five-year plan.
"One of the big issues is to grow the scale
and the scope of what we do," Parham
says. This includes expanding territory
and the variety of products represented
and acquiring other manufacturer's representatives firms.
Mike Parham praises Pepco's employees, manufacturers and distributors for
the company's success. "It's really important that you value the relationship,"
he stresses. "I still believe we're a people
business. We just appreciate all the good
fortune we've had. We are our biggest
critic, so we are constantly evaluating
what we're doing. There's no magic formula - you just don't take anything for
granted ever." q


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016

Contents
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover1
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover2
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - 1
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Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover3
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