Rep Council Blog

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 […]

Market Development Fees

by John Davis, Paul Davis Automation In this issue of Agency Sales appears a report on a MANAchat devoted to the importance of market development fees. While such fees have been in practice for some time either as retainers, draws or some other form of agreement between rep and manufacturer, as time has gone on they’ve become […]

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA Should I stay or should I go now?If I go, there will be trouble.And if I stay it will be double.So come on and let me know. The Clash, 1982 Rep members have been calling recently to talk about how to adapt to the challenges of running a […]

Beginning Succession Planning

by Michelle Jobst, CPMR, Jobst Incorporated As the owner of an independent rep sales agency you have signed the contracts, your firm is bringing in good opportunities for your principals and you have a solid business plan to develop and care for your customers in the coming years. At what point then should you begin […]

The Toughest Question All Month

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA “I feel like I’m facing a lot of competition from other manufacturers when I try to get the attention of really high-quality reps,” said the manufacturer on the phone. Then he asked a question that sounded like it should have been easy for me to answer. “Are there […]

Please Don’t Read This!

by Charles Ingram,  VP of Sales & Marketing, Eriez Magnetics If, by chance, you happen to manufacture any products similar to what my company does or you’re a rep that sells competitive equipment to ours, please stop reading this article immediately. For the rest of you, there’s a little secret to winning more orders, building brand […]

Closing Deals Based on Handshakes in a COVID‑19 World

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA My jaw dropped when a rep told me he was still closing deals based on handshakes and face-to-face meetings during quarantine and social distancing. Then he explained, and I could not have agreed with him more. “Am I respecting my state’s mandatory quarantine and social distancing rules? Definitely! […]

Why Do Reps Want Exclusivity?

by Jerry Leth, Vice-President and General Manager, MANA When you reach out to manufacturers’ representatives and work on creating a business relationship, one topic that comes up in the negotiations is “exclusivity.” Professional manufacturers’ representatives that perform well for the companies they represent will not sign an agreement without some form of exclusivity. First, let’s […]

Well, It Beats the Alternative

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA First let me tell you my favorite story about a manufacturer working with reps. I heard it from a sales executive who came across his company’s owner joyously signing rep commission checks. “Wow, that’s a big one,” he heard the owner say, grinning ear to ear as he […]

Education Is an Investment in the Rep‑Manufacturer Partnership

by Keynae Agnew, CPMR, Agnew Pacific Enterprises, LLC As a manufacturers’ representative, we are tasked with the responsibility of educating our manufacturers as to what we actually do in the field. The nature of our “Partners in Profit” relationship gives us the opportunity to provide clarity, while managing the manufacturer’s perceptions about what we do […]

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA A rep recently posed a couple of interesting questions. When will this be over? When can I go back to business as usual? When he posed those questions, all of us at MANA were scrambling to gather information for MANA members about the short-term government initiatives designed to […]

Selling in the New Normal

by Tommy Garnett, CPMR, CSP, Garnett Component Sales, Inc. Wow, what a difference 60 days makes! Who would have ever thought our business climate would be where it is today looking back just a couple of months ago? The economy was rolling, the manufacturing sector was up, and the workforce employed. Now we have major […]

Offer Subject to Change on 30 Days’ Notice

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA My local donut shop once offered a “Buy 11 donuts, get the 12th donut free” punch card. “Terms subject to change on 30 days’ notice.” A new owner terminated the punch card program. I had nine punches, but it was not a big deal. After all, it was […]

Professionalism and Trust

by Jerry Leth, Vice-President and General Manager, MANA Sales are about relationships. Take any sales course today and you learn your purpose is not to get purchase orders but to help customers solve problems. If the customer senses that, they start to trust you and they go on to buy from you. MANA strongly supports […]

During This COVID-19 Crisis, Thank Goodness We Have a Rep Sales Force

By Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA Charlie Ingram, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Eriez Manufacturing, just shared with me his insights about how having a rep sales force is helping his company get through the COVID‑19 crisis. Here’s what he had to say: “Effective immediately, our home office employees have travel restrictions, […]

Communications Between Reps and Their Principals

by Greg Bruno, President, Midlantic Enterprises, Inc. There are many ways to communicate with principals; a phone call, a voice mail, a written note, a text, an e-mail, a fax and let’s not forget the letter. We have all used these to build our businesses and to communicate with our principals. E-mail messages have rendered […]

Tips for Manufacturers to Get and Keep Their Reps’ Attention

by Charles Ingram,  VP of Sales & Marketing, Eriez Magnetics A common topic of discussion among manufacturers’ sales managers, besides the exploits of their favorite sports team, is how to get their reps’ attention for their company — and keep it. While there are certainly special or unique methods many manufacturers use (no, I’m not […]

The Professional Edge

by Jerry Leth, Vice-President and General Manager, MANA What do we mean by professional and why is it important for you to be professional? Let’s discuss the importance of your being professional first. A “natural selection” process exists when manufacturers’ reps and manufacturers connect with each other. A Fortune 500 company won’t set up a relationship with […]