Becoming the Emotional Favorite

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA

Let me tell you a story. I struck up a conversation with a rep at an industry event. The rep glanced to the left and right. Then the rep lowered their voice and said: “Can I tell you a secret?”

“Most of my principals pay about the same commission percentage. But I give one of them more attention than any other line, probably more than their commission checks really justify. It’s because they treat me so well that they have become my ‘emotional favorite.’”

The ways reps talk about their “emotional favorites” are pretty consistent:

  1. “They let me know how much they appreciate me and treat me like ‘one of the family.’ Most of my principals don’t do that. Of course, I work harder when I’m part of the family.”
  2. “They respond fast so I can give my customers answers right away. They make me look good to my customers, and my reputation with my customers is my livelihood.”
  3. “They treat me as a business partner instead of trying to be my boss, and they value my input.”
  4. “They pay me like clockwork every month. That’s a tangible way they demonstrate how much they value my efforts.”
  5. “They let me make a fair profit. I’m not looking for them to make me rich, but letting me consistently make a fair profit on all my sales shows that they want me to thrive and be their business partner for a long time.”

Then the rep looked left and right again, and their voice dropped almost to a whisper. “You know, it would be a tough conversation for me to have with my other principals to tell them why they are not my ‘emotional favorite.’ But they really need to know why they are not and how they could become the ‘emotional favorite’ of all their reps. Could MANA do something to help get out the word?”

Mission accepted.

Charles Cohon, CPMR, is CEO and president of MANA. In 2016 Cohon earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation after completing American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) coursework and testing. Cohon also earned an MBA with honors and with concentrations in strategic management and entrepreneurship from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and was founder and owner of a very successful Illinois manufacturers’ representative firm for nearly 30 years before joining MANA.

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