Rep Council Blog

What Do They Think of Us?
A European Perspective of the American Rep

by Sid Ragona, Ph.D., Ragona Scientific, LLC The world of commerce is getting smaller and it is becoming quite commonplace for overseas manufacturers to seek out American representatives. For this editorial, I interviewed a number of European sales managers who have been in charge of worldwide sales for several decades and I asked for their […]

Mentorship in Motion

by Mark Hogan, President and CEO, MANA I simply wish that my mentor, Jeff Witt (May 30, 1945 – March 9, 2024), could witness my inaugural words as president and CEO of MANA. His recent passing weighs heavily on my heart. Jeff epitomized the quintessential manufacturers’ representative: thoughtful, diligent, knowledgeable, and ethical. Jeff set an exemplary standard as […]

Succession Planning

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA The time has come for me to take the succession planning advice I have often given to manufacturers’ reps. It has been my honor to serve as MANA’s CEO since 2011 and to help celebrate MANA’s 65th, 70th, and 75th anniversaries. But MANA’s future anniversaries, and there will […]

Relationship Reviews — Strengthening the Partnership Between Manufacturer and Rep

by Jerry Leth, Vice-President and General Manager, MANA One of MANA’s highest priorities is helping manufacturers’ reps and manufacturers develop mutually profitable, interdependent, and long‑lasting relationships. Part of the process includes relationship reviews — manufacturers’ representatives and principals should constantly be reviewing each other’s performance with the goal of improving the relationship. Improving the relationship […]

Will Artificial Intelligence Be the End of Reps? — Part 2

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA In my last post I started a discussion about why Artificial Intelligence (AI) won’t be the end of reps. Now I will share two stories that show why AI can’t replace reps. AI Can’t Ask for a Favor Someone at my principal in Europe decided to ship mounting […]

Will Artificial Intelligence Be the End of Reps? — Part 1

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA A sonnet written by a machine will be better appreciated by another machine. — Alan Turing, English computer scientist widely considered to be the father of artificial intelligence. Will there always be reps? That’s a question that I was asked when reps’ role delivering three-ring engineering binders was […]

Musings on Line Card Profitability

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA “I put $3 million down that hole in the ground and never heard it hit bottom.” — Thomas Edison When we think of Thomas Edison, we think of his successes. The electric light. The record player. But in 1881 he spent $3,000,000 to build machinery that he thought could extract […]

Customer Service Basics

by Lisa Wilson, L.S. Wilson & Associates, Inc. Did you ever notice that when you pick up the phone to make a doctor’s appointment, call your insurance company, call a retail store or just about any company, you almost always get some kind of automated system? The message often states that “We are busy taking […]

Small Changes and “Trifling Matters”

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA “Some may think these trifling matters not worth minding, but they should remember that human felicity is produced by little advantages that occur every day.” — Benjamin Franklin What did Franklin mean? One example dates back to the days when America was still a British colony. Streets were […]

MANA — A Wonderful Rep Resource

by Tommy Garnett, CPMR, CSP, Garnett Component Sales, Inc. Recently, I was attending a MANA function with many other manufacturers’ representatives and my peer group from various industries across the U.S. During the conference, we held an open forum Q&A and amongst the group were many single person agencies or simply rep agencies seeking advice […]

If You Are Looking for Gold, Look for Quartz

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA When manufacturers call me looking for help finding reps, I suggest that they take a lesson from gold miners. If you are looking for gold, start by looking for quartz. Gold often occurs in between quartz crystals. Looking for quartz can help you find gold you otherwise would […]

Are You Planning to Sell Your Manufacturing Business?

by Jerry Leth, Vice-President and General Manager, MANA As a manufacturer who partners with manufacturers’ representatives, we hope you create relationships with your manufacturers’ representatives that work well for both of you and last a long time. Your manufacturers’ representatives create high‑trust relationships with customers who then purchase what you supply because of that trust, […]

Million Dollar Deal. Rep’s Share: 100%

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA Yes, sometimes reps write a six figure or seven figure deal and get to keep all the money. And it happens more often than you’d think. How does this happen? It happens when the rep sells their rep firm to a new owner and retires. What kind of […]

Delegate to Elevate

by Michelle Jobst, CPMR, Jobst Incorporated The tasks business owners shouldn’t do and how AI and virtual assistants can help independent manufacturers’ reps. In the ever-evolving landscape of entrepreneurship, independent manufacturers’ representatives play a crucial role in driving business growth and success for their factories. These owners have a unique set of challenges and opportunities, […]

New From MANA — Endorsements!

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA You say you are a great rep. Who else says so? You say you are a great manufacturer to represent. Who else says so? Who else says so? Now, other MANA members can say so, and MANA will showcase these endorsements where manufacturers looking for reps and reps […]

There’s Value in Trade Show Participation

by Marnee Palladino, MARN, Inc.; edited by Stephanie Bray While we may not be 100 percent back to the pre-Covid normal, things have opened up and face-to-face events are happening again, just as MANA Board Chair Tommy Garnett’s May 2023 editorial shares with us (and encourages us to participate in). As a longtime colleague of […]

The Nail That Sticks Up Gets Hammered Down

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA “I’ve become great friends with one of my reps,” said the manufacturer. “But he still is reluctant to give me blunt constructive criticism about our company. My rep says: ‘The nail that sticks up gets hammered down,’ which is why I started our rep council.” A rep council […]

Has a Principal Recently Terminated Your Agreement?

by Jerry Leth, Vice-President and General Manager, MANA It’s not uncommon for me to get phone calls from MANA manufacturers’ representative members who start the conversation by telling me a long-term principal they’ve worked with just notified them they were terminating the relationship. When they tell me that, I then ask, “So, how long has […]

Announcing MANA Networking Breakfast October 9 Near O’Hare Airport

Network with MANA’s Board of Directors, MANA CEO & President Charles Cohon, and MANA VP & GM Jerry Leth. Daniel E. Beederman, MANA’s legal counsel and a partner in Chicago-based law firm Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell Glazer, LLC, is our featured speaker. Beederman will present: Rep Succession Planning — Why It Is so Important for […]

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