Rep Council Blog

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 […]

Developing Your Curiosity to Open New Opportunities

by Michelle Jobst, CPMR, Jobst Incorporated Are you hitting your target results for sales, business development, and career aspirations? Hopefully you’ve built out a clear process and are right on track to hit the results you are aiming for. However, if the answer to that question is “No,” chances are you lack an essential ingredient […]

Welcome to the Next Decade. Where Did the Last One Go?

by Jerry Leth, Vice-President and General Manager, MANA During the last decade, we saw many changes. Our activity level substantially increased and how we communicate with each other continues to evolve (social media, texting). Like a “New Year Resolution,” how about creating some “New Decade Resolutions” to help adapt to these changes? The challenge you […]

Keys to Effective Communication With Overseas Principals

by Sid Ragona, Ph.D., Ragona Scientific When a North American rep takes on a foreign principal, not only does it require every one of the same skills one currently uses with a domestic principal but also demands that a whole host of additional skills be added to the rep toolbox. We all know that communication, trust […]

Leads: Orphans at the Doorstep?

by Stephen Fowler, President, PERCS Businesses invest countless hours and dollars to identify, target and educate their customers. Ultimately though all leads emerge as foundlings left at the doorstep of the sales funnel. They are left waiting to be adopted, nourished, and finally molded into our customer. Orphan leads should be potential or repeat customers. […]


When we talk about MANA members, the first word that always comes to mind is professionalism. The reason is that MANA is the number one resource for professional reps, reps who aspire to become professional, and principals who set high standards of professionalism of reps they choose to be their partners. In speaking with many […]

Your Top Line Was Just Acquired or Acquired Another Company

by John Beaver, GSA Optimum Management likes to use the word “merged.” This scenario has played out for me several times, and I’m pleased to say I’ve benefited more than I’ve lost — the key is being proactive. Yes, sometimes you will lose; it’s just the way the cards play out. Rather than simply giving […]