Editorial in the Field


The one constant we have in today’s world of business is change. This includes globalization, downsizing, rightsizing, consolidation, mergers, acquisitions, strategic alliances, etc. We have all seen on a daily basis the profound evolution and adaptation that has been necessary to keep our economy moving ahead in a productive and profitable way.

MANA is under the same forces of economics as private industry. As part of our strategic plan, we see the increased importance of achieving unity amongst the various rep associations focusing on the common good. Critical mass is what we are striving for.

The dictionary defines unity as … Read the rest

Combined Association Efforts Benefit Members


In any undertaking aimed at improvement, there’s often the unspoken goal of hoping to achieve what might seem impossible. For instance, consider having 1 + 1 = 3. But that’s exactly one of the goals that was explored last summer when executives of various independent representatives’ associations met to explore areas where working together could result in improved products and services for their respective constituencies. As a follow-up to that meeting, some of those association executives offered their views of how and why the associations working together could find that 1 + 1 does indeed = 3.

Was that meeting … Read the rest

Reps Tout CPMR Program

Even the quickest of looks at the executive committee of PTRA shows a preponderance of the letters “CPMR” following members’ names. Inevitably the questions are asked, “Why,” and “What does it mean?” The answers are because it’s important to the reps and their principals, and it means that the bar of professionalism has been raised. Consider the comments from a number of reps who have earned CPMR credentials.

“PTRA is actively promoting and spreading the word concerning CPMR,” says Mark Tsatsos, House of Motors, Inc., Golden Valley, Minnesota. “Those of us who have already spent the three years going through … Read the rest

MAFSI Members Wrestle With Change

In 1948, a small group of salesmen met in Massachusetts with the goal of forming an organization to help salesmen flourish in the foodservice industry. This modest meeting was the beginning for what today has become Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry (MAFSI).

MAFSI became a national organization in 1949 and hired its first paid executive secretary the following year. Shortly after, the organization put together its constitution, bylaws and established a code of ethics.

As the 1950s progressed, MAFSI found that in order to effectively sell equipment, the catalogs provided by the manufacturers they represented were not technical … Read the rest


Question on Texas Nexus

Can you advise as to how the following e-mail from one of our principals regarding a new tax from Texas under a nexus rule could potentially apply to our organization in the Midwest or other reps?

“We have a situation that has begun to present itself that I wanted to make you aware of. I would also like get some feedback on how to equitably share the expenses when and if they arrive in your individual territories.

“In the past few months, we have been contacted by the states of Texas and Washington to determine whether … Read the rest

Exploring the Need for a Firewall

What are they? Where do I get them? How much do they cost? Do I even care?

Let’s answer that last question first. Yes, you had better care. And, we’ll add that it doesn’t matter how much they cost because you had better care about what they can do for you; and by the way, you need one.

Before we continue with this discussion, here’s a little background on the subject. Since we began this column in Agency Sales last September, we’ve received a number of requests related to problems/questions that our readers face with the technological tools they use … Read the rest

New Roth 401(k) — Is It Right for You?


According to the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, you will need approximately 70 percent of your current income to maintain your same standard of living when you retire. If you make $50,000 per year now, that means you’ll need about $35,000 in yearly retirement income. The Social Security Administration claims the average person receives about $10,000 per year from Social Security. That leaves a big gap between what you’ll need and what you’ll have.

Where’s the money going to come from? Quite simply, it will need to come from you — the retirement savings that … Read the rest

Converting Wealth to Income: The Importance of Creating a Comprehensive Retirement Plan


Saving for retirement is a priority for many, but no matter how much you’re saving, chances are you haven’t thought about the broad range of factors that could affect your ability to make those savings last through your retirement years.

As the first of the baby boomers officially become eligible for retirement, there is potential for strain on the health care and Social Security systems, as well as the investment landscape. Therefore, it is increasingly important for individuals to not only have a plan in place to continue accumulating wealth, but also one for generating a steady income stream that … Read the rest

Are You Hindered by Formerly Effective Sales and Marketing Policies?


I call it FIP: Fine in the Past. It refers to all the sales and marketing efforts, ideas, policies, principles, techniques and strategies that worked well in the past, but are no longer effective. The past is everything that’s pre‑2006.

I still recall a poignant moment with an attendee at one of my seminars. During the break, he came up to me and said this: “I’ve been in business for 17 years, and we’ve done well. But now, it seems like everything is changing, and I don’t know what to do.”

He went on to explain that he had built … Read the rest

Applying the Concepts of Continuous Improvement to Sales Leadership


Making “the numbers” is a critical issue in any growing business. Growth depends upon sales and sales depends upon your sales management systems. But surprisingly, many companies pay scant attention to managing this critical area.

Are your sales management systems as fine-tuned as your other business systems? Many companies, both start-ups and established firms, have applied state-of-the-art procedures and controls to their manufacturing, financial, administrative and distribution systems. Yet for some reason the sales and sales management departments have not been reviewed with the same level of vigor and scrutiny. Many company executives look at the selling function as somewhat … Read the rest

Tips & Tactics

Learning what he didn’t know….

Following one of MANA’s fall seminars, a rep approached us with his relatively novel approach to get better prepared to deal with future business demands. According to the rep, who sells products needed for contract manufacturing, factory automation and medical devices, he devoted time and money to taking a weeklong seminar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “Normally this wouldn’t have much interest or application for me, but I thought I’d give it a try to see what was there.”

The seminar was devoted to the future of manufacturing in this country, and the … Read the rest

Canadian Repping: Canadian Official Views World Markets

Last month in this space, we alerted readers to the existence of a useful communication tool from the Canadian government: www.Connect2Canada.com. Recently that site reported details of an address by Jim Peterson, minister of International Trade, to the Canadian Association of Importers’ and Exporters’ 74th Annual Conference. In his presentation, Peterson extolled the strength of the Canadian economy and continued at length on Canada-United States relations as well as a number of other subjects of interest to Canadian reps and their principals. Excerpts from his comments follow.

Canada and the United States

“In today’s global market, Canada’s economy and public … Read the rest

Customer Service Makes This Principal Perfect


What got Robert “Bob” Williams’ attention when he started working with Lumsden Corporation more than six years ago was the fact that they actually cared about their customers. “I originally came from a company that had to have everything their way. No matter what the problem was, they wouldn’t bend.”

Williams, BS&K Company, Charlotte, North Carolina, explains that Lumsden “is the first principal I had when I opened my doors, and they’ve kept me going. They are completely customer-oriented and focused only on providing what the customer wants.” That would appear to be the perfect fit, given Williams’ customer philosophy … Read the rest

Gauging the Rep’s Activity


Over lunch following a MANA seminar that he attended, a manufacturer was asked what he had learned from the half-day program.

“I’m new to this business of using reps,” he explained. “When I took over the company 18 months ago, I looked at our figures and the first thing that hit me was that from a financial point of view, there was no way we could continue using direct salespeople to support our manufacturing effort. When I encountered some internal resistance, all I had to do was point to the bottom line and let everyone know that if we couldn’t … Read the rest

How to Be “Up to Par” in Your People-Reading Skills


In order for salespeople to succeed in today’s highly competitive marketplace, they must be able to effectively read their prospect in more ways than one to gauge where they stand with that prospect.

Unfortunately, far too many salespeople lack this essential skill. Here are a few of the 400 or so ways that you can become better at reading your prospect.

Body language could be the single most important way that a salesperson can read a prospect. These unspoken signals include power hints, insecurity hints, disagreement hints, boredom hints, evaluation hints and indecision hints.

Power hints are apparent when your … Read the rest

Secrets to Better Time Management for Entrepreneurs


Why is it that the Bill Gateses of this world are rich and famous? What secret do they know that the rest of us don’t?

If you study their lives closely, you’ll discover the rich and famous have certain habits that contribute to their success. Successful people are very careful about how they spend their time. No matter how you slice it, we all have 24 hours in a day, so the key lies in learning to use our time wisely. Below are some ways you can dramatically increase your productivity through more effective use of your time.

Monitor how Read the rest

Meet Helen Degli-Angeli

Change, growth and adaptation to the needs of its members are what come to mind as Helen Degli-Angeli, CPMR, looks back on her three-decade tenure with MANA. In addition to the vice president position she currently occupies, during her career Degli-Angeli also has served as editorial assistant for Agency Sales, been in charge of advertising, information services, membership and filled the role as MANA seminar coordinator.

The longest-tenured member of the MANA staff, Degli-Angeli currently fills a number of roles in her executive position including:

  • Supervises the MANA office staff.
  • Meets regularly with other MANA managers and the MANA
Read the rest

The Power of Innovative Thinking


Companies today face the same daunting problem that confounds so many job seekers — it’s the high hurdle of transferable experience.

Whether it’s an individual attempting to get a job or a company trying to break into a new market, both are faced with the identical difficulty of having someone recognize the value of their knowledge and experience — even though these qualities may not be directly related to a new field or industry.

Even when applicants offer skills, a proven track record and experience that are an ideal match for a particular position, they’re passed over. Why? The individual … Read the rest