Call Us: (612) 964-4541

References

Alejandro Velez, Co-founder
424 2nd Street
Oakland, CA 94608

510.922.9758

www.backtotheroots.com

I am happy to write a letter of reference for The S.M.A.R.T.E. Group. I hired The S.M.A.R.T.E. Group in 2013 to help my company, Back To The Roots, achieve market penetration, visibility with major retailers and Buyers, and sales.

Back to the Roots is an Oakland-based startup developing products that connect families with their food. My business partner Nikhil Arora and I founded the company in 2009. Back to the Roots has since grown to distribute its two award-winning products, the grow-at-home Mushroom Kit and the AquaFarm, a self-cleaning fish tank that grows food, in over 2500 retailers nationwide.

The S.M.A.R.T.E. Group helped us develop a sales strategy, recommended target mass merchant and distributor accounts, and took immediate sales action. They supplemented our existing sales staff during a period of rapid growth. As part of their role, they hired and trained a National Sales Rep network, monitored and coordinated that network and helped develop the sales tools necessary for that network to be successful, including input for sales sheets, sales presentations and POP displays.

Bill and Marjee Righeimer generated and got us appointments and opportunities at our targeted channel accounts. Sales were closed at Mass merchants, key National retailers and Distributors. Through this process, they provided me regularly with a Manufacturer’s Line Review Report (MLRR) with feedback on sales presentations completed, Buyer response and sales closed. With the MLRR, I had a clear picture of sales efforts and sales results. We also participated in a key National Buying Show—the National Lawn and Garden Show that provided more Buyer exposure and additional sales.

The S.M.A.R.T.E Group is great to work with because they communicate regularly, follow through and keep commitments made, and their expertise and knowledge of the retail industry is very extensive.
 
They are tenacious and persistent, honest and direct in their communications, and use a collaborative team approach. They are highly regarded by Buyers in multiple channels and were able to help us achieve many of our sales and marketing goals.

I highly recommend them---whether your company is a start-up or a well-established organization. Any organization will benefit from their sales expertise, tenacity, and retail industry knowledge.  

Bill and Marjee are amazing people that I am so excited to call my friends. We really enjoyed the constant communication with them which was professional yet fun and friendly. The way Marjee interacts with people is so genuine, kind and positive – they are a great example of how to run a company and I’ve personally learned a ton from working alongside them! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate from contacting me.

Chris Crabill, Director of Sales

“Out of twenty plus rep firms…I would place The SMARTE Group at the very top.”

While working as the Director of Sales & Marketing for the H.D. Hudson Manufacturing Company, I worked very closely with Bill Righeimer and his team at the Smarte Group.
Out of twenty plus rep firms that represented Hudson, I would place the Smarte Group at the very top. Mainly because of everything that Bill personally brings to the table. Bill brings a great perspective having been a buyer at both Sears and Target.

Bill and his associates take all the product lines that they represent very seriously. They all take personal ownership of each company that is represented and do not favor one over another.

Bill has great tenacity and persistence while also performing in a professional manner. He has a very good understanding of how all the major retailers in the market place operate and he has very tight relationships throughout the industry.

In closing, I would add that one of Bill’s main attributes is that he is a great “idea” person. When everyone thinks that the well is dry, Bill will find some water some way, some how.

William A. Hudson Vice, President Marketing and Sales
500 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Phone: (312) 644-2830
Fax: (312) 644-7989
E-mail: wahudson@hdhudson.com
Web: www.hdhudson.com

"I strongly believe in the Smarte Group and know you will be happy with them."

I understand that you are considering partnering with the Smarte Group. I would like to offer my full endorsement of the Smarte Group.

H.D. Hudson Manufacturing Company has been associated with the Smarte Group for many, many years. We have found them to be thorough and complete in their undertakings. They are very goal oriented yet need little supervision. They are masters of their territory and in fact have the capability to reach far beyond it. They are very good at making things happen. And in the rare case when things do not go their way, they are able to regroup, replan and then turn the situation around in a positive way.

They have a strong reputation for service to the customer and their principles. The addition of your line would complement their already strong product offering. I believe it would add to the synergy.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me but know that I strongly believe in the Smarte Group and know you will be happy with them.

National Sales And Marketing Manager

When it comes to aggressiveness the SMARTE Group wins the award for 1993-1994. Patrician Products has been servicing the consumer products Industry since 1963; we have several divisions within JODEE PLASTICS INC, that are serviced by manufacturers representation. The Smarte Group not only represents the Manufacturer, but the customer as well, putting together marketing programs that meet the margins and profits that both parties need to be successful in today's economic times.

Bill, we put your group on with a phone call—it’s the best call we made this year.

Sonya Ruff, Group Director of Conferences
Phone: 212-756-5015
email: sruff@lf.com

Bill Righeimer has been an independent consultant for Lebhar-Friedman’s Retail Group for the past three years. He was an integral player in the success of a series of seminars entitled Selling into Lowe’s and Selling into Home Depot. We were so impressed with Mr. Righeimer’s ability to translate the objections that challenge suppliers and give them actionable information that L-F commissioned Mr. Righeimer to develop a Selling into Target seminar where he built a comprehensive program and implemented it with his team. The program was a huge success and the evaluations from the attendees were extremely positive.

I highly recommend Bill Righeimer. He works well independently while following the parameters of the project and is very committed to successfully executing the program.

Don Meglino, Owner
Hicksville, NY

I have worked with Bill Righeimer for over 10 years, and in my opinion, he is among the top ten consumer product Sales Management Executives in the USA.

Why? Simply put, he never stops working until the job is done and successful results are achieved.

Bill is “street-smart”, aggressive, persistent, organized, and follows through with well-conceived plans. He knows how to communicate with and motivate the sales team to reach and exceed goals. Bill is also self-directed, makes good decisions on his own, and gets projects completed with minimal direction.

He likes to have fun, is very creative and contributes valuable and successful product ideas and promotions to the Sales and Marketing Team. With many years of sales and marketing experience, Bill has become an expert in understanding how to break into today’s competitive retail arena.

I would highly recommend Bill to any company, but especially to emerging and growth-oriented companies who need leadership and direction for deliverable results.

Charles C. Hayes lll, President
404-291-4275

It has been our great pleasure and ultimate financial benefit to have had the opportunity to be affiliated with the SMARTE Group and Bill Righeimer. Through the leadership of Bill and his team, our line of recycled rubber products was launched successfully into the retail market. Over a four year period, we saw our retail sales increase 500%. We went from 200 stores to over 2000 stores. Through their outstanding efforts, our business grew to a level that made us a very viable acquisition candidate and ultimately we were acquired in May 2007.

I highly recommend Bill and his team for any company interested in launching their products in to the retail market. Their knowledge of the industry as well as their wide range of key contacts with all the major retailers across the US is unmatched. Their attention to the details gives you the assurance that your investment in a sales team is being spent wisely.

Please feel free to contact me directly at 404-291-4275 if you would like to discuss further my complete satisfaction with the SMARTE Group and Bill Righeimer.

William J. Righeimer III, Director of Finance

When there is tough selling job to do, I now know why you can count on The S.M.A.R.T.E. Group to come through.

When I called you and your team to supplement our current rep force to sell a major six figure Kelly Russell inventory with a February sales deadline, I was pleasantly surprised when you said “no problem, we appreciate the opportunity, understand your March 1 deadline, and we will get the product sold.”

When the purchase orders arrived on February 17th and 22nd, my inventory problem was gone. Kelly Russell was very excited about The S.M.A.R.T.E. Group's performance, communication, follow-thru, aggressiveness, and teamwork. This arrangement worked perfectly for Kelly Russell and we recommend you to other manufacturers who want and need results.

PS – The fact that you are my father makes this an incredible arrangement and proved the “old man” will come through for me “in the clutch” as you have many times before.

John C. Neubauer, President

Your group’s knowledge of the retail buyer mentality and the nuances required to close sales has been invaluable to the marketing success of our company

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your efforts to close the Target purchase orders recently. It is indeed a significant accomplishment; especially considering that in less than one year’s time, we succeeded in getting an entire new product line with 5 SKU’s in all Target stores. Clearly it has been an accomplishment of teamwork and partnership.

As you well know, today's retail marketplace is a brutal and unforgiving arena for newer, small manufacturers. Our relationship with The S.M.A.R.T.E. Group during the past 1-1/2 years has yielded shelf space and store presence in more than 2,500 US retail outlets. That translates into growing sales and profits.

Your group’s knowledge of the retail buyer mentality and the nuances required to close sales has been invaluable to the marketing success of our company. I look forward to building on these initial successes for many years to come.

Anthony Topping, President
845-277-8069

"We...have found the SMARTE Group to be our most aggressive sales organization we have worked with."

The Smarte group has been representing VegHerb LLC over the past year. We currently work with several sales representative groups across the country and have found the Smarte group to be our most aggressive sales organization we have worked with. I especially like the frequent updates on accounts they have called on and the status of the account. These reports are generated without request from us and gives us assurance the Smarte group is on top of our target accounts.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at 845-277-8069.

Dan Hurt, President
651-460-4233 (phone)
651-460-2566 (fax)
5121 West 212th Street
Farmington, MN 55024

"... they have done everything for us they said they would."

As a fellow business owner and producer of products in the L&G category I can appreciate you need to select good quality representation for your line.

I assure you that Bill, Mickey, Terri & the other associates at the SMARTE Group will provide you with superb representation. I have always received direct answers, honest answers, and consistent, methodical follow through on all accounts under their representation. The bottom line is they've done everything for us they said they would.

Victor Edgman, Vice President of Sales

They understand our basic needs – get sales, be aggressive, communicate well, and above all be professional and make profits for us, the manufacturer.

The S.M.A.R.T.E. Group under the direction of Bill Righeimer has represented Vinylex Lawn Edging Division from the beginning of our entry into this market.

We have just completed our most successful sales and profit year under their direction and The S.M.A.R.T.E. Group team.

They understand our basic needs – get sales, be aggressive, communicate well, and above all be professional and make profits for us, the manufacturer. They also understand today's buyers and provide good service while establishing solid relationships.

They do “their homework” and their intense sales call preparation results in more sales.

Another plus for this group is their national experience and buyer contact in their local area.

Lastly, if you really want profitable sales results, I strongly recommend you hire The S.M.A.R.T.E. Group.

Quentin Gulley, Chairman of the Board

I would like to compliment you on what I consider to be the best, most professional, and most thorough sales meeting in Vinylex history. The compliment is all the more deserved because it was our first ever sales meeting on Lawn Edging.

I would also like for you to express my compliments and appreciation to the support staff for their outstanding help in conducting the meeting, and to all others who helped in putting the literature and program together.

Now, with nationwide representation, let's go for it!

Mark Robinow, Vice President of Finance

"We found their expertise to be critical in penetrating the mass merchant and hardware co-op distribution channels."

I have had the pleasure of working with Bill Righeimer and the rest of The S.M.A.R.T.E. Group for the past five years. During that period of time they were instrumental in building distribution for Ringer Corporation on a national basis. We found their expertise to be critical in penetrating the mass merchant and hardware co-op distribution channels. In the first two years of our relationship, they actually managed our regional sales representatives and ran the national meetings.

At Ringer Corporation, we have always looked to S.M.A.R.T.E. when there was a difficult job to be done. In all cases they have performed at or above our expectations. I have always found Bill and his group to be straight forward communicators, well organized, and enthusiastic about what they do. They have always been key players in the success of Ringer Corporation. I recommend them highly.

 

References April 21, 2014

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