Netflixing Rep Search

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Rep search technology has been stalled at the Blockbuster Video stage for the last 19 years.

Today we launch smartphone-based rep search that is going to hit old-style rep search like Netflix hit Blockbuster Video. And it’s available exclusively to MANA members.

Let me explain.

Back in August 2000, MANA launched the online rep search to supplement the printed directory that dated back to 1949. And for the next 19 years, the technology manufacturers used to search for reps remained pretty much the same.

  • Search the online database for reps from your desktop or laptop computer.
  • Download a list of potential candidates.
  • Start contacting those reps by phone or e-mail.

Other than rep search, a lot has changed in 19 years. More and more we use smartphone apps instead of our laptops for banking, shopping, and booking travel. Pretty much all the business we use to transact on our laptops can now be done on smartphone apps.

Except rep search. Until we launched the RepFinder® by MANA smartphone app.

Is the RepFinder® app just a way to download the old style list to a smartphone? That would not be good enough! On-the-go Millennials are not content with apps that just let them browse a list. They expect to complete their transactions from smartphone apps. And with some Millennials turning 38 this year, more and more are starting to have rep search responsibility at their manufacturing companies.

Now MANA is making sure that MANA rep members can be found by these smartphone-wielding sales managers.

RepFinder® lets manufacturers use our smartphone app to search for reps, view each candidate’s MANA member-profile, and contact the best candidates right from the app.

That’s right — manufacturers “Swipe Right” if they want to contact that rep and “Swipe Left” if they don’t.

RepFinder® by MANA is now available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play. It’s the very first rep search app available, and it is exclusively for MANA members.

To read more about the app, turn to page 10 of this issue. Questions or comments? Contact me at ccohon@manaonline.org.

Inside Sales and the Manufacturers’ Representative: Key Factors in Creating Mutual Success

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The relationship between a manufacturer’s inside sales staff and the representing agency is one of the most crucial elements in creating mutual success.

Inside sales serves a dual role; first, they must provide support and service to the customer and secondly, they have to champion the rep and their efforts. Several key factors play a role in this model: communication, recognition, support, and the rep model being accepted as an extension of the manufacturer.

Communication must flow both ways and consist of timely written and verbal dialogue. It is incumbent upon the representative to keep the inside sales staff fully … Read the rest

RepFinder® by MANA Rep Search Smartphone App Launches Today!

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RepFinder appRep search technology has been stalled at the Blockbuster Video stage for the last 19 years.

October 1, 2019 we launch the RepFinder® by MANA smartphone app that is going to hit old‑style rep search like Netflix hit Blockbuster Video. And it’s available exclusively to MANA members.

On-the-go manufacturer sales managers now can search for reps, view each candidate’s MANA member profile, and contact the best candidates right from the app.

“Swipe Right” to contact a rep, “Swipe Left” to see the next rep on the list. Available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

You asked … Read the rest

Surviving a Change in Management

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“You have the line and there’s a management change with the manufacturer. Now what?”

At the outset, the words of one rep should be taken to heart when that question is posed. According to the rep, who boasts of representing a number of lines for more than 30 years, “No one likes change and whenever there’s change in management or ownership of one of your principals, there’s a fair amount of trepidation. Naturally, problems can follow. At the same time, however, it would be wrong to paint all manufacturers with a negative brush in terms of their relationships with their … Read the rest

If You Don’t Fix It, You Can’t Succeed

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Hard skills and soft skills aren’t enough.

The job world is changing so rapidly it’s next to impossible to know what to do even in the short term to get ahead, let alone five years down the road.

Now, a debate rages between which is more important, hard skills or soft skills. Those for hard skills focus on the need for specific knowledge to meet job performance standards and expectations.

On the other side of the table are those who say the hard skills path can lead to dead ends, to obsolescence. They bet on possessing interpersonal skills, such as … Read the rest

Letter to the Editor

Response to “Can You Write Me a Business Plan?”

I am providing my perspective on the August 2019 editorial by Charley Cohon. Although I have been asked to supply a business plan when interviewing for a new line I have always declined for the following reason: I have an MBA and have provided sales/marketing consulting services for approximately $100 per hour in the past. In order to write a useful plan it will take me approximately 400 hours, i.e. depending on the quality/scope of the market research, competitive update, and customer/target summary, etc. I did give this information away for … Read the rest

Sales Success: Are You IN or Are You OUT?

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I was recently speaking with a manager at a real estate office about what makes some agents successful and others unsuccessful.

He told me, “John, I can sum up the difference between the successful agents and the unsuccessful agents with one quick example: during a major blizzard when everything is shut down and everyone is at home, my top agents are making phone calls to prospects because they know they have a captive audience, and the rest of my agents are posting pictures on Facebook of the cookies they’re baking.”

I’ve noticed a similar phenomenon when I speak. Afterwards it’s … Read the rest

Empowerment: Never Use “No”

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“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” — Bill Gates

A company’s success lies in empowered employees. It is important to train employees and make sure they have trust in what empowerment will bring to a company. Satisfying customers quickly benefits everyone. Moreover, happy, empowered, fulfilled employees are the key to creating “over-happy customers” for your company.

When employees are empowered and given responsibility, they use their talents and skills to maximize the opportunities.

Empowerment means every employee has to make fast decisions in favor of the customer. It’s important that we … Read the rest

The Sales Force — Working With Reps

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This is the 13th in a number of articles All Postsserializing The Sales Force — Working With Reps by Charles Cohon, MANA’s president and CEO. The entire book may be found in the member area of MANA’s website.

Jim Anderson felt smug. His salaried sales force program had been in place at Troothe Industries for the last four years, and the most recent refinement he’d made on his sales force management technique seemed like the final, finishing touch on a system that almost ran itself. It gave him an almost real-time account of his sales force’s activities each workday … Read the rest

What to Do When a Gatekeeper Blocks Your Path

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During question-and-answer periods, the same issue keeps coming up in my sales workshops: how to deal with gatekeepers. These people are the receptionists and administrative assistants who stand between you and the decision‑maker you seek.

I’ve probably been asked five times about gatekeepers in just the past three weeks alone. Why does this issue keep coming up? It’s probably because cold prospecting is getting harder. Decision-makers keep getting better at insulating themselves from the outside world. One of their most effective defenses is a diligent gatekeeper.

When it comes to gatekeepers, the biggest mistake you can make is to think … Read the rest

Your Last Chance to Make a Good First Impression

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Most salespeople don’t take first impressions seriously enough. If they did, their first impressions would be much more favorable.

I can still remember my first (unintentional) lesson about first impressions. My family was gathered at my grandfather’s house to watch the debut of the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan show. It was February 9, 1964 and at 8 years old, I was one of 73 million people watching the show that night. I was as excited about this show as I would be later that same year when I attended my first Red Sox baseball game at Fenway Park. That … Read the rest

Follow-Up Tips to Grow Your Business

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The sales manager didn’t hesitate when I asked her, “What’s one thing you think your reps could do more of to enhance their sales success?” Her immediate response: “Follow-up.”

Working with sales and service teams for more than 25 years and observing the practices of the most successful reps, I’ve found this to be true. We often get so caught up in responding to customers and prospects, or hunting for new business, we neglect to pro-actively follow up as thoroughly or consistently as we should. Ironically, following up is one of the easiest and highest payoff activities we can do … Read the rest

Reps Value Manufacturer Training

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As the time for his annual rep training program neared, a manufacturer let Agency Sales magazine know how much value he placed on the input he received from his outsourced sales force when it came to training.

The manufacturer enthusiastically reported, “One of the most valuable things I learned from my reps was their willingness to share opinions when it came to the types of training they needed. I’ll never forget one rep telling me that he made it a habit to rate his principals on how much importance they placed on training their reps. Here was a rep with … Read the rest

The Lost Art of Social Contact

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Technology enhanced meetings can be a wonderful thing when the technology drives attendee engagement and learning enablement. Doing more with less and increasing the attendees’ return on travel and lodging investment (ROI) serves everyone. However, when technology becomes the controller and the audience becomes the controlled, the value of technology quickly diminishes.

Why We Meet

My research has exposed the fact that networking, first, and education, second, are the primary reasons for live meeting attendance. Additionally this research, conducted across a wide assortment of trade associations and professional societies, has revealed the yearly sustainable real-dollar value of networking to be … Read the rest

Fire Damage Was Just the Beginning

An e-mail from MANA and PTRA member Adam Cooler of the J.W. Cooler company led us to dig in our archives and revisit this December 2005 Agency Sales magazine article on subrogation.

“For warehousing reps, the risks of subrogation remain the same today as when this article was first published in Agency Sales. It is important to review risk coverage with your insurance agent and attorney to confirm that you are properly protected,” says Gerald Newman, partner at law firm Schoenberg Finkel Newman & Rosenberg, LLC, who was quoted in the original article.

After a fire destroyed his warehouse … Read the rest

The Henry M. Wood Company Announces the Addition of Two New Partners

The Henry M. Wood Company (HMW) is extremely pleased to announce the addition of two new partners.

Proudly serving Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana since 1928 and a MANA member since 1948, Henry M. Wood Company has long been the industrial parts manufacturers’ representative who comes up with solutions otherwise thought impossible (or too costly) to achieve. Bringing in two new partners in possession of creative innovation and technical aptitude shall carry this company well into the future.

Brad Bossong has been with HMW since 2011 as an outside sales manager in the Dayton, Ohio area. He has a Bachelor’s degree … Read the rest