Rep Council Blog

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 […]

How Manufacturers’ Agents and Manufacturers Learn to Become “Ideal” Partners

by Jerry Leth, Vice-President and General Manager, MANA First, let me answer the question, “Why does that matter?” Manufacturers’ agents want to represent the highest quality principals willing to work with them. To them, the “ideal” principal equals a quality principal. The higher quality the principals they represent, the more “ideal” and the more they […]

Determining the “Ideal” Match

by Craig Lindsay, CPMR, CSP, Pacesetter Sales & Associates We faced a conundrum in our business a few years ago. We were on pace to have a record-setting year when we began thinking about our planning for the next year and beyond. With puffed chests and pride in ourselves based on past accomplishments, we began the process. […]

Working With Reps to Develop New Business

by Charles Ingram,  VP of Sales & Marketing, Eriez Magnetics So you’re a manufacturer and you want to develop new business, grow your sales, perhaps in a new geographic territory, new industry/market, or maybe you have a new product to launch. What are the factors any good manufacturer should consider to maximize the likelihood of […]

New Sales Manager — Now What?

by John Haskell When a principal changes its regional sales manager or general sales manager it can spell trouble for the independent rep firm. What can you do to accomplish these changes in a non‑threatening manner? One major caveat — I don’t believe the title “regional sales manager” is an appropriate title for people the […]

The Benefits of the Cold Calling Process for Your Rep Organization

by Michelle Jobst, CPMR, Jobst Incorporated Cold calling — It can seem like an old fashioned and inefficient task. I would imagine that most salespeople enjoy other contact points more than this one. So why do it? When it is used as one of the many methods to interact with customers, I find that there […]

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 […]