Am I Ready to Work with Reps?
Q: I’m fairly new to working with reps. How can I tell if I’m qualified?
A: We’ve created a short list of questions to help you decide whether you’re ready.
Q: I didn’t do so well on the questions. What are my options?
A: We have a number of ways we can help. The most effective way to learn what’s available is to pick up the phone and call us at (877) 626-2776. We can learn about your specific situation and make recommendations to help turn your weaker points into strengths.
One of the major parts of our mission is education. You should consider attending one of our seminars.
In addition to the seminars, we offer books and printed special reports dealing with a number of rep-principal issues. A membership also includes business counseling with our management team made up of former reps and manufacturing executives.
How to Find Professional Reps
Q: How does MANA help me find reps?
A: There are several ways we can help you locate prospective sales agents. You can place a classified ad in our monthly magazine Agency Sales, advertise in our online classifieds, use our premium online ad service. Alternatively, you can access our searchable online RepFinder® of 2,000 member agents by becoming a member.
Managing a Sales Force
Q: I think I’ll be pretty good at managing a rep force once it’s in place, but I don’t have the time or ability to set up my own network. What can I do?
A: MANA has a list of consultants we can send you who can help you set up a network of professional sales companies.
Q: How much does it cost to join MANA?
A: The annual dues are $649 and includes a print subscription to Agency Sales magazine (U.S. and Canada only) and access to the member area of our website where you will find the RepFinder®, the contracts package, commission survey results, the online version Agency Sales magazine, and much, much more!
Starting Out as a New Company
Q: We are a fairly new company and we’ve heard that reps won’t be interested in talking with us because we don’t have a lot of existing business. What are our choices?
A: There are strategies that can help overcome this resistance. As a member, you have access to the business counselors who can learn more about your particular situation and help you develop a strategy to create your desired outcome.
Q: How much commission should I pay the reps?
A: MANA publishes a commission survey. It provides a commission range for about 140 general product classifications, broken down by customer type (OEM, end user or distributor).
Q: When should I pay my reps the commissions I owe them?
A: MANA’s standard contract suggests that you pay reps when shipment is made, but there are a number of choices on this. The correct one will depend on the uniqueness of the particular relationship. Another example of when it would be a good time to call MANA and get some guidance.
Q: I’m looking for a contract package I can use for my rep force?
A: MANA has available a number of contract packages, including a Manual for the Creation of a Rep-Principal Contract. The package includes a background and rationale section explaining the need for all the included clauses, a guideline section and sample agreements. It’s free with membership.
Q: I’d feel more comfortable having a knowledgeable attorney help review my contract, rather than doing it myself or having my corporate lawyer who doesn’t know much about reps do it.
A: MANA has a list of knowledgeable and experienced attorneys we can send to you as a member.
How Product Liability Works
Q: I’m a little confused about the product liability issue. Who is supposed to cover what?
A: It is manufacturers’ responsibility to cover product liability for their reps. You might be surprised to learn this can be done at minimal if any cost through a broad form vendors’ endorsement. It is very much in your best interest to do so if you should ever be hit with a product liability suit.
Q: I have a situation where I have a rep that booked an order because the buying influence was in her territory but the product was shipped to another territory where I also have a rep. Do I have to pay them both full commissions?
A: Probably not, but you may need to pay more than the established single-territory commission to motivate and fairly compensate both reps for their contribution. This is another situation where the best way to get an answer if you were a member would be to call the business counselors at MANA who could learn more about the situation and make some recommendations on a way to resolve the issue in an equitable manner.
How to Find Resources
Q: What other resources does MANA provide?
A: In addition to the ones listed above, one of the most helpful is the business counseling service: our management is made up of former reps and manufacturing executives and one of the member benefits is to pick up the phone and discuss rep-related issues with one of them. MANA is the leading source of knowledge and information about the rep business and we are always glad to share this with our members.
Q: I’ve looked at the MANA website and there is so much there. How can I really understand what all is available to members?
A: There really is no way you will get to know it all. The best way if you are a member is to pick up the phone and call, tell us specifically what you’re looking for and we’ll bring up the exact resources to help.
How to Manage Sales Reps
Q: Where can I go to get an intensive course on finding and managing reps?
A: MANA conducts several seminars each year for manufacturing executives. Click here for more information on upcoming seminars.