Rep Council Blog

Reps and Manufacturers Working Together

by Douglas Bower That’s a very short declarative statement that brings to mind reps and manufacturers skipping through the morass of the business market place enjoying mutual profitability and growth. But underlying that declarative statement is a plethora of details that can get in the way of a successful working relationship. Let me offer this cautionary […]

Continue to Explore

by Stephen Fowler, President, PERCS A recent film, Arrival, presented a tale of potential catastrophe from disruptive change requiring massive adaptation. Aliens have suddenly arrived on earth, their presence mysterious: potentially benign but possibly threatening. Confronted with a new normal, we had to find the right people with the proper abilities to adapt. The aliens offered […]

Developing New Markets and New Customers Using Professional Field Sales Reps

by Roger Ralston, Tri-State Components, Inc. Should Your Business Enter New Markets? The answer may be “Yes,” but pause to reflect before making that jump. If you are considering expansion, even targeting new territories or new customers, the odds are you’ve enjoyed some level of success in your current market. You know your market, know […]

The Importance of Mentoring and Learning

by Jerry Leth, Vice-President and General Manager, MANA Why is this important? We all know the definition of insanity, where we keep doing the same things over and over again and expect the results to change. To change the results, we need to act differently. We can change in a couple of ways. Go with […]

Why Negotiate a Good Contract?

by Greg Bruno, President, Midlantic Enterprises, Inc. Sales agencies and principals rely on each other, and our mutual growth is intertwined. Our mutual dependence is obvious for some but not so for others. There cannot be one winner and one loser when it comes to our contracts. The whole purpose of the agency principal relationship […]

Being a Good Soldier

by John Beaver, GSA Optimum You have another new regional or national sales manager — and the person is a rep’s worst nightmare. Whether it’s your largest line or a basic bread and butter line, what should you do? Your first instinct may be to push back. Maybe just a little. Perhaps flex your relationships […]

Negotiating Fees for Missionary Work

by Jerry Leth, Vice-President and General Manager, MANA I periodically receive phone calls from MANA manufacturer members telling me a prospective manufacturers’ representative requested a fee to take on their line. “I thought reps work on a commission basis only, what’s this about?” they ask. If the manufacturer has little or no business in the […]

Succeed and Grow

by Jerry Leth, Vice-President and General Manager, MANA A main purpose of MANA is to help our manufacturers’ representative members succeed and grow their businesses. A look at our membership shows significant diversity. Our largest member employs 53 outside sales employees, the average is five employees and 20 percent are one-person operations. Forty-one members started their […]

Partners in Profit and More

by John Roba, The John D Roba Company, Inc. As a MANA member for over 35 years, I recall many outstanding articles Agency Sales magazine has written, covering everything from “Starting an Agency” through “Succession Planning.” In this month’s issue we key in on the theme, “Professional Manufacturer’s Representatives Working Together with Manufacturers as Partners […]

The Importance and Effectiveness of Rep Councils

by John Davis, Paul Davis Automation Just the other week, I was on an airplane traveling to a trade show. Given the close quarters of the typical airline arrangement, I could not help but overhear the conversation between the two gentlemen sitting behind me. One worked for a large consulting firm (you would know their […]

Make Your Own Rep Council

by Tom Hayward, CPMR, United Sales Associates Goal: Organize/Attend a Rep Council If you want to stir up the conversation amongst a group of representatives, ask their opinion as to whether Rep Councils are worth the time investment. Opinions on Rep Councils will vary from swearing by them to cursing at them — and everything […]

Why Should a Manufacturer Be a Member of MANA?

by Charles Ingram, VP of Sales & Marketing, Eriez Magnetics “I’m a manufacturer, not a rep agency. Why should my company join MANA?” I hear this all the time. It’s a legitimate question, really. After all, the name of the organization is Manufacturers’ Agents National Association — MANA, for short. Seems like it’s an association […]

Look to MANA for Training and Continuous Improvement

by Tim Ryder, President, Ryder Sales Agency, Inc. As a manufacturers’ representative we are reminded that it is a multi‑faceted livelihood; a business extending into other fields including sales, marketing, management, engineering, economics, technology, healthcare, human resources, law, finance, accounting, networking and more. Most manufacturers’ representatives arrived in business having excelled in one or more […]

Reps Remain Hungry for Training From Their Principals

by Danny Collis, President, Collis Group, Inc. I have been to so many manufacturer training sessions that the phrase, “Thank you for coming, we understand that time is your most precious asset” is ingrained in me. I can’t disagree with that statement; however, I believe principals and their reps can use this as an excuse […]


by Jerry Leth, Vice-President and General Manager, MANA Spend time as a manufacturers’ representative, you eventually learn you can lose an important line for doing too good of a job. What? They fire you for being too good? Yes, it does happen. While most manufacturers understand and appreciate the value their manufacturers’ representative partners provide, […]

Should Principal Field Visits Be a Production?

by Stephen Fowler, President, PERCS The old expression goes, “Don’t make a production out of this,” referring to the 1930s Busby Berkeley musical movies, when the centerpiece is a complicated, ornate dance routine, dominating the film, taking seemingly forever! Glitzy, showy, endless tapping and strutting — So don’t make a production number out of this, […]

Line Profitability Analysis

by Jerry Leth, Vice-President and General Manager, MANA About 10 years ago, MANA led a dozen manufacturers’ representative members on a trade delegation to the Hannover Fair in Germany. The night before the fair opened, we hosted a dinner for the delegation so they could get to know each other. We asked each to get […]