Welcome to Meet Your Fellow Penguins, this is our second installment of our new blog series highlighting success stories, tips and tricks, and more from our Penguin Random House reps across the country. Meet Pam Lowe, our Penguin rep in Massachusetts nominated this month!! Below she delves into her history as a rep, her favorite PRH titles, and more!
How long have you been a rep?
I have been a sales rep with the Winters Group representing Penguin for 14 years. As a New England Based Rep, my primary sales territory is Massachusetts. It may surprise other reps to learn our sales agency has 3 different sales reps covering such a small state. Each part of Massachusetts offers its own unique and diverse customer base. My focus is Boston/Cambridge and the surrounding Metro west region as well the eastern seaboard including the North and South Shore of Boston.
What are your go-to books for an easy sell-in?
The Boston area is rich in History, culture, and we love our sports! My customer base includes Historical sites, Tourist attractions, Museums and of course the traditional Mom and Pop gift shops. Reserved in nature, my territory loves the classics, the American Revolution, and anything specific to Boston. Make Way for Ducklings ( my Favorite book) is an iconic Boston story that belongs in every account and is easily my top seller along with Good Night Boston and Good Night Massachusetts. I especially love working with museums and researching potential new titles that pertain to their mission statement or specific upcoming exhibitions.
What is your favorite resource to use while selling?
I am an avid user of Edelwise as well as the PenguinRandom House retail website. It is so easy to make a wish list to send to customers. Since New England is unique in the sense that I only sell Penguin and Random House is sold through a different sales agency , the electronic sell sheets have become a more important part of my business.
What tip would you offer to a new rep?
My advice to any new rep is… books are an annuity. Once you get them placed, people will keep re-ordering them. It is worth the time it takes to learn about new titles and to offer up specific suggestions. People tend to get overwhelmed when buying books, there are so many choices and publishers to choose from. The more direction and suggestions you can make, the easier the sales. It is very important to carry samples as well. The more titles you can show a customer, the more books they will buy. As time goes on, your customer will learn to rely on you to help grow their business. Be prepared for your appointment- order history is the key to keep those classic titles always in stock!
What is an account or new store you’re really excited about and why?
I don’t have many new stores opening in my area. One of my biggest personal accomplishments is gaining the trust of a store owner that gives me free rein to order their books. I have several accounts that simply give me a budget and rely on me to choose the titles. I take that responsibility very seriously and enjoy the teamwork bond it forms. It is flattering to know they trust my judgment. The names of a couple of stores who let me do their orders are Red Wagon- a high end children’s boutique on Beacon Hill, Boston and the West Concord 5 &10 in West Concord, MA .
I also enjoy the challenge of working with a new buyer. When a buyer change or ownership transition has occurred , I have learned that change can be good and it is an opportunity to forge a new relationship. The key to any successful sales call is the relationship you have with the customer. When you have great products to sell the rest is easy.
What are you currently reading?
While I love selling books, I wish I had more time to read myself. I find that traveling allows me some quiet time I never seem to find at home. I recently finished reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine while on a plane. I had noticed this title both on our sales conference call as well as on the local Boston bestsellers list. A great book, quick read and I would highly recommend it. Up next…Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng who lives in Cambridge MA of course!
Tell us about a store that you think does a particularly good job of cross merchandising!
Roost in Beverly does a great job cross merchandising books and gifts .
Interested in being highlighted next in this series? Reach out to us or nominate a colleague you would like to hear from and know others would benefit from! We’ll be touching base with reps who go above and beyond for future installments.