Meet the Agent – Phil Gant

In the next instalment of our new series of interviews with agents across the furnishings industry, we spoke with Phil Gant as he shares his insight as an agent and why decent point of sale goes a really long way.

Meet Phil

Phil Gant, owner of PG Agencies Ltd, represents Papaya Trading, DiGio by Sofitalia, Vogue Beds Group and SoftNord.

How long have you been an agent in the industry?

I have been an agent since 02/01/24 but previously worked for 10 years at Kettle Home Ltd as a representative.

What drew you into the life of an agent and what’s the day-to-day like?

I wanted the challenge of working with different products within the industry as I had spent my whole career with a cabinet company. I also wanted to be closer to home as I have a young family.

What is the best part of your role?

I love to sell, but I also like to find solutions for my customers. I’m fundamentally a people pleaser, so I like to help.

What is the most difficult?

Having been part of a big team at Kettle over the years, having a hub in the office was nice. Just catching up with my colleagues and being social. It’s a lonelier experience on this side of the fence, which is taking time to adjust to.

Do you have any particular highlights so far?

I really enjoyed the January Furniture Show. This was the first time meeting all of my new colleagues from the various companies I am working with, but also the first time to showcase the products to my customers in a big way. Samples, swatches and brochures can only show you part of the picture. Trade shows allow you to really impress and get commitments.

What challenges do you think currently face agents in the furnishing industry?

It’s no secret that this year is and will be challenging for everyone in this industry. Sales Agents/reps get a lot of pressure on them to go out and get results even when the market is tough. The challenge is really to keep your head up and find those opportunities.

What would you like to see change?

Interest rates coming down would stimulate the housing market, which will in turn stimulate the furniture market as well as other industries. With the boom in our industry during the Covid years, we have brought forward the sales from future years. We need to see something to give it a boost and hopefully return the market to more normal trading patterns.

What would help agents more?

Decent point of sale goes a really long way. Having easily consumed information makes everything easier from that point on. Before, during and after the sale.

What would you say to someone considering becoming an agent?

Get a good network of fellow agents to bounce ideas off and chat to. I feel very lucky to have many fellow agents I consider to be friends, they all have helped me in some way, from small comments of encouragement and advise, to helping me find the agencies I am working with today.

What is the most important attribute to have as an agent and why?

Being thorough is probably the most important attribute. Outlining all the details at the beginning prevents confusion further down the line. Remaining positive is also very important. It’s hard to do when you receive knock backs, but it’s all about how you can pick yourself back up again.

Can you share something that irritates you the most as an agent?

The perception that what we do is easy. I think that the misconception that we as a group just swan about taking orders is pretty commonplace. But the work that goes on in the background is pretty incredible, but goes unseen.

Can you share an insight into your plans for the year ahead?

My goals are simple, to grow my agencies and my own reputation as an agent, whilst staying sane, healthy and happy. Easy right?

What’s the next big thing you are seeing in the industry and why?

I’ve just been keeping my head down running my business and learning the products I’m working with now.

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