Rep Council Blog

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 […]

The “Ideal” Principal

by David Ice, CPMR, Ice & Associates, Inc. In the 1990s, I had the good fortune to be hired as the sales manager for a contract manufacturer who had a desire to build a rep sales organization in the United States and in adjacent countries. As I proceeded into that assignment I met, interviewed, hired, […]

The Ideal Rep From a Principal’s Point of View

by Douglas Bower You can ask most 20-something-year-old males, “What is your ideal car?” The answer that you would most likely hear is a Ferrari or a car of similar ilk. Ask a sales manager or a principal or manufacturer, “What is an ideal rep?” He or she will most likely answer “one that has […]

Don’t Forget to Sell to Inside Staff

by John Davis, Paul Davis Automation We have all been there — it’s 1:30 p.m., the car is hot, the A/C still cooling down the sweltering interior. The taste of a wolfed-down lunch lingers as you growl at Siri or Google to please dial the correct number. It is Thursday, the customer from this morning’s […]