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 face relates to your activity level increase. What motivates you to take time from your busy schedule to invest in making plans on what changes you need to make to adapt? To get you out of the rut in which you find yourself and on to a different path, one that leads to greater success?

For example, as a MANA manufacturers’ representative member, what if you took time to perform a “Line Profitability Analysis”? What if when you performed your analysis, you learned that a long-term principal that worked well for you in the past no longer does. The changes may have been so gradual, you didn’t notice the deterioration. When you replace that line with a better one, is there any doubt that your profitability increases? Check out the resources MANA offers in the “Steps to Rep Professionalism” program you access in the member area of the website. Step 6, “Learn to Sell Professionally,” is of particular interest.

Decide to take time and learn how to use social media so you can connect with and communicate with customers. Your competitors do that, so take away that advantage they have. Again, check out step 6, “Learn to Sell Professionally.” That also increases your profitability.

For our manufacturer members, do all your manufacturers’ representatives perform well for you? Work with the under-performers and help them change. If they don’t, take time to replace them. The replacements do bring in higher sales volumes.

The priorities and importance of the multiple activities that consume our time are not all equal. Some rank very high in importance and need to be done. Others rank much lower, so sacrifice those and use the time to make changes to how you operate. Unless you make changes, the results remain the same. As someone once told me “The only difference between a rut and a grave is the length of the hole.”

Let’s make this new decade a great one!

Jerry Leth, MANA’s vice-president and general manager, started as membership manager in August 2000. Previously, Jerry owned and operated Letco Tech Sales, Inc., a MANA member, multi-line professional outsourced sales agency he founded in 1989. Before starting his own agency, he managed a network of manufacturers’ reps as vice-president of sales and marketing for torque and tension equipment. Jerry graduated from Stanford with a mechanical engineering degree. He started his career at Hills Brothers Coffee in San Francisco in engineering and production before embarking on a sales career.