Port Trevorton, Pennsylvania-based Keller Marine & RV is spotlighting sales representatives’ efforts with the “Most Aggressive Rep” award.
The dealership’s president, Mike Keller, said his award recognizes reps who show product enthusiasm, strong floor presence and dealer engagement at the annual Keller Marine & RV Accessory Show. He chooses one winner in the RV and marine rep categories each year.
At the annual pre-show vendor meeting, Keller said the previous year’s winner is announced to get attendees “pumped up” for the next event. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused 2020’s in-person show to be canceled one week prior, sparking a company “scramble” to create a virtual vendor meeting.
“Since all the vendors were not in the meeting, I did not announce the 2019 winners,” Keller said. “I really like to make a big deal out of the award, because so many reps work so hard at the show.”
In 2020, the most aggressive RV rep award was given virtually to LCI’s John Gross. In the marine category, Rob Abers of Wellman Sports Marketing received the recognition.
2019’s RV winners spotlighted a father and son duo, Harry and Jared Allen, for their sales floor passion. The two were stationed in a Kuma Outdoor Gear booth – a client of their family-owned and operated business based in southern California, JE Allen, LLC. In the marine sector, Derek Mill of Airhead Products won the award.
“I have been in the industry a long time, and wanted to win that award for many years,” Harry Allen said. “Jared and I thought we won in 2019, but the pandemic happened and it got rolled over. Mike called to tell us we won it and we were very excited.”
Jared Allen said he entered the RV market after being inspired by his first show, Keller’s 2018 event. The Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based show was a first for him and JE Allen’s partnership with Kuma Outdoors.
“We have never talked about it, but I know we killed it that year,” Jared said. “I felt something special, it was such a good show. I was sitting with Dad when the 2018 winners won. In 2019, I felt good with sales, connecting to people and building that foundation.
“Aggressive sales reps bend over backward for people,” he said.
When asked what his mindset is when approaching a dealer, Jared said his first move is to understand the dealer’s operation. He said he looks at everything like a partnership.
“[JE Allen] is just me and Dad right now. It is all about work ethic and what you are willing to do for success to come through,” Jared said. “We build organically and when we connect with dealers, try to make it a successful partnership. I try to understand what their demographic is and what their needs are.”
Keller Marine & RV was the first to come onboard within JE Allen’s regional distribution line. In 2014, Harry and Jared met the Kuma Outdoors group in Canada. The furniture and accessories company stated a desire to expand into the U.S.
“We sat down and hashed out a plan, but Mike would be the one to take it where it is,” Jared said.
“I appreciate Mike. I was not necessarily surprised [to win the award], but I was appreciative that he thought of us for this,” he said. “We would not be where we are as a company or a company rep without Keller and business opportunities.”
Keller said the 2019 and 2020 winners will receive a plaque as recognition until business returns to normal.
“We at Keller Marine & RV would like to express our sincere gratitude to all of the vendors and reps who work so hard to make our show possible, no matter what the format,” Keller said. “I want people to be engaging to the dealer and be excited about their products. This is a passionate industry where we are selling wants, not needs.”
Keller’s first Most Aggressive Rep award was given to 3M rep Bob Boyd in October 2000.