Rep Council Blog

“Reps Keep Ghosting Me — I Give Up,” Says Manufacturer

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA “Based on my recent experiences, common courtesy is not common practice with reps,” said the manufacturer. “And, frankly, the absence of basic common courtesy gives the entire rep industry a black eye.” Is this manufacturer right? Let me share his story, and you be the judge. This manufacturer […]

Tips to Improve Your Online Presentation Skills

by Kenneth Russell-Murray, ElectraSpec, Inc. As the restrictions related to COVID-19 begin to lift, I would imagine many of us are eager to begin meeting our customers face‑to‑face. Zoom calls have become the norm, and perhaps many of us can’t wait until this is no longer our only means of communicating with our clients. Given the […]

Moving the Needle on Shared Market Development Fees

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA Last week a MANA rep member thanked me for MANA’s work to champion Shared Market Development Fees (SMDF). In recent years, said the rep, manufacturers have become more and more receptive to SMDF, which he credited to MANA’s efforts to familiarize manufacturers with SMDF. SMDF are monthly payments a […]

The Importance of Professionalism

by Keynae Agnew, CPMR, Agnew Pacific Enterprises, LLC One of the benefits of serving on MANA’s Board of Directors and the Health Industries Representatives Association Board of Directors is that I get to meet and speak with many other manufacturers’ representatives. They have lots of different ways to go to market, and the products they sell […]

We Knew It Couldn’t Be Done

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA Until We Had to Do It Experts tell us that after 18 months of quarantines and pandemic, “The New Normal” is coming. Part of that “new normal” will be that things we “knew” could not be done, pre-pandemic, actually could be done. Quarantines and a pandemic have forced […]

Direct Sales Employees vs. Independent Manufacturers’ Representatives

by Jerry Leth, Vice-President and General Manager, MANA Manufacturers have a choice when it comes to selling their products or services. They can hire direct (W2) sales employees or outsource the sales function to independent manufacturers’ representatives (1099 Independent Contractors). Which makes the most sense? Some people use economics to make the choice. Which alternative […]

Why Didn’t I Call You Back?

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA “I get plenty of voicemails, and I actually return lots of those calls,” explained the anonymous executive. “When I don’t return a call, it’s often for reasons like these: “You called four times without leaving a message. Each time you called, you disrupted the call I was on […]

Speed Is My Secret Weapon

by John Beaver, GSA Optimum “I feel the need, the need for speed.” — Maverick, Top Gun It happens every time someone sends you an email. It happens every time someone leaves you a voicemail. It happens every time someone sends you a text. Every time someone reaches out to you, that sender’s internal clock starts […]


by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA You have heard it from MANA, from manufacturers, and from reps. In the new normal, manufacturers that sell through reps have significant advantages over manufacturers with a captive sales force: In uncertain times, customers don’t take risks with untested vendors. They turn to trusted, proven resources for the products they need […]

The Importance of a Contract

by Lisa Wilson, L.S. Wilson & Associates, Inc. A fellow sales representative on the West Coast, who happens to sell for the same principal that I do, recently phoned to let me know that the company management wanted to know from her, why I did not want to renew my contract. My initial response to […]

Backselling Emergency!

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA What is backselling? It’s how savvy reps invest a little time every month to ensure their principals understand those reps’ value. They communicate with principals as if the line were in jeopardy even when it is not because they know that anything they say after the line is […]

Permanent Changes Long After the Current Pandemic Subsides

by Michelle Jobst, CPMR, Jobst Incorporated When will the dust settle? What will the “new normal” look like? Although we might have a peek at individual changes, it is not possible to completely comprehend the effect of all the recent changes. That fine‑tuned crystal ball is still not available for general distribution. Here’s what we […]

Education Is a Two‑Way Street

by Tommy Garnett, CPMR, CSP, Garnett Component Sales, Inc. In the ever-evolving relationship between manufacturers’ representatives and their principals, the need to educate one another remains vitally important. Manufacturers educate reps on capabilities, quality systems, lead times, polices and procedures and best practices that they feel will assist the rep to be more successful in […]

Always Take the Mint

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA Thirty years ago, a colleague from my rep days shared some valuable advice she got from her mother. “Always take the mint.” “When somebody offers you a mint, maybe they are just offering to share. Or maybe you have bad breath. You will never know which. So always take […]

Proven Tips for Finding the Right Rep

by Charles Ingram, VP of Sales & Marketing, Eriez Magnetics So, you need to find a great rep. Whether you’re just beginning to establish an independent manufacturers’ sales channel organization or have had one for years, there are some pretty good, well-proven methods for finding great reps to join your sales team. Even our company, Eriez Magnetics, […]

Boxers Call It “Leaning Into the Punch”

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA You see a punch coming. No time to block it. No time to move out of the way. Now what? Lean into the punch. You still get punched, but that punch has not had time to reach the speed and power it would have reached an instant later. That’s […]

Embracing Change During Tough Times

by Marnee Palladino, MARN, Inc. For the past few months I have been wondering what should I write for the “Editorial in the Field” article? Trying to decide on a single topic relevant to this period of economic instability was proving challenging to say the least. And then I re-read Charles Ingram’s September 2020 editorial, […]

Reinventing Rep Search

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA MANA’s online RepFinder® and RepFinder® smartphone app are already the best rep search tools in the world. So, what’s next? We reinvent ourselves. Better smartphone app. Better rep profiles. RepFinder® 2.0 Smartphone App Version 2.0 launches now in the Apple App Store and Google Play and gives manufacturers even more sophisticated search tools […]

Reps Need to Educate Manufacturers on the Value Reps Provide in the Field

by Kenneth Russell-Murray, ElectraSpec, Inc. The wants and needs of a manufacturer and the manufacturers’ representative are aligned: drive revenue, increase profits and manage costs; however, the rep’s role goes beyond these common goals. It is understood that hiring a representative who is paid solely on a commission basis is a cost-effective alternative to marketing […]

How Much Do I Owe You?

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA It might be the nicest compliment MANA has ever received. And it came to me in the form of a question. A rep called me to discuss a thorny issue he was having. It was a challenging problem, so we brainstormed potential strategies and solutions for about a […]