Editorial in the Field


What do you do when you get a telephone call from a new MANA associate member, and it becomes immediately obvious that he is new to working with reps? He doesn’t have a clue about how things work with outsourced sales professionals. For most of us, our immediate response is to tell the principal that we are not in a position to take on any additional suppliers right now and politely end the conversation as quickly as possible.

But what if we took just a few minutes to point the supplier toward some easily accessible resources that would immensely improve … Read the rest

Splitting Commissions Across Multiple Territories


Throughout history, a manufacturer was a self-contained entity. A company would design, develop, manufacture and market a product in a single facility. That company would design a product in one corner of the facility, develop the product close by, place orders for materials in another corner, and manufacture finished products in the rear of the same facility. A salesman calling on the company would interface with everyone in the customer’s facility under a single roof.

With the advent of contract equipment manufacturers, international trade agreements and globalization, the various points of contact have been scattered to remote locations. Those remote … Read the rest

Dealing With Split Commissions

Any thoughts that split commissions are not important to reps in certain industries can be put to rest based on recent conversation with reps.

“I’ve got 77 key engineering firms that I work with,” explains one rep that serves the construction industry. “I rarely see the spec credit given. It’s a wonder I stay involved. The fact is, I have great rapport with the engineers I call on and my efforts generally result in orders that I do receive credit for. But it remains a frustration that so many times I’ve done so much work on an order and no … Read the rest

Tips & Tactics

Buyers want prepared salespeople….

More than 62% of sales professionals spend fewer than 20 minutes preparing for sales calls, according to a study conducted by Hebert Research and Knowledge Anywhere, Bellevue, Washington. Although sales managers and vice presidents expect sales representatives to spend at least 30 minutes preparing for calls, 33.3% spend just 1-10 minutes preparing.

In a related study by Purchasing Magazine, buyers indicated that their number-one dislike is an unprepared salesperson. They also said that lack of interest or purpose on behalf of salespeople is received negatively.

During October 2005, Hebert Research conducted a study with vice presidents … Read the rest

Full Service: Gas Stations, Car Washes, Rep Agencies


Everybody at least as old as I am, raise your hand! If your hand’s up, you’re old enough to remember service stations. For all of you young executives, that was where we used buy gas for our cars.

There were service stations on every corner, and when you pulled in, the attendant came running out to make the sale. He would ask if you wanted regular or premium and then begin filling your gas tank while you sat in the driver’s seat and watched as he washed your windshield, checked under the hood and, if you asked, adjusted your tire … Read the rest

Invest Time in Reading Your Retirement Account Statement


If you’ve been participating in your company’s 401(k) plan, chances are you recently received a retirement account statement in the mail. Federal law requires your employer to send you a 401(k) account statement at least once a year, but whether you receive yours annually or quarterly, do you really know how to read it?

Many statements are designed in a way that allows you to review and evaluate your account assets, current activity and investment information. Basically, they should show a summary of your account at the beginning and end of the quarter (or year).

The first thing you should … Read the rest

Keeping Up With Computer Maintenance

Recipients of ERA’s monthly Southern California Chapter newsletter enjoy the benefit of regularly receiving tech tips from Kim Komando (www.komando. com). Komando is the host of an American talk radio program covering computers and technology, The Kim Komando Show, which is syndicated on more than 450 radio stations in the United States and is one of the top 10 most-listened-to radio programs in the country.

Some of the subjects she’s addressed in the last few months include PC security and protecting a new PC.

PC Security

A study conducted by America Online and the National Cyber Security Alliance showed that … Read the rest

PTRA President Promotes Association Participation


Chris Brisbane, CPMR, points to his membership in PTRA as one of the major factors allowing his agency to successfully negotiate changes that have occurred not only to the industries he serves but to the rep profession in general.

Brisbane, Brisbane Industrial Drive Company, Inc., Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, takes over as president of PTRA at the association’s annual meeting next month. He explains that his father started the agency in 1978 and joined PTRA the next year. “Over the years,” he notes, “I’ve developed a keen appreciation for the level of professionalism that the association’s members possess. That professionalism is … Read the rest

Managing Your Most Valuable Asset — And You’ll Be Surprised at What It Is!


How do you manage the accounts you have already sold? In many cases, the most grueling and demanding part of dealing with customers is not in the sales process. It’s after the sale is made! And that’s when the hard work really does begin.

The most difficult part of being a politician may not always be getting elected. It’s delivering what you say you’ll deliver after the election — that’s the hard part for the elected official. As Lyndon Johnson once said, “It’s easier to throw a grenade than to catch it.”

Let’s take a look at some fundamental ideas … Read the rest

A Case History of European Missionary Work


When it comes to introducing new products into new markets, there are more similarities than differences between Europe and the United States.

Perhaps the major similarity is that it remains a challenge to efficiently and productively enter a new market while conducting the needed missionary work. The manufacturer and the manufacturer’s sales force (independent reps) know the extent of the challenge and they know what has to be done in order to meet that challenge.

Following the decision to enter a new market the typical questions that must be asked and answered are:

  • Who (which reps) are the right choice
Read the rest

Reps Look East and West for Growth


Two rep firms have cast their sights overseas — one looking east, the other west — as they seek to take advantage of future opportunities for their respective firms.

  • Applied Process Equipment, Phoenix, Arizona, has signed with TEFSA Group, a premier European belt filter press/filter press manufacturer in Barcelona, Spain, to be their exclusive United States/Canadian distributor/agent.
  • H.S. Glasby & Sons, Inc., West Chester, Pennsylvania, has forged a relationship with Sherry International to be their representative for Chinese manufactured high-tech products in the United States. At the same time, the rep firm has agreed to be a U.S. company’s representative
Read the rest

A Vote for Small Firms


“No one shoe fits all.” That’s why whenever we hear from a manufacturer that he has specific criteria when selecting a new rep, we ask the inevitable question: “Why?”

One manufacturer that has been using reps for close to 75 years wasn’t going to budge from his belief that only small to mid-sized reps could do the job he was expecting. Here’s his reasoning: “Thankfully, we boast long tenure among our reps. We’ve got any number of firms that have been with us for more than 25 years. When the occasion does arise that we’ve got to replace someone, however, … Read the rest

Closing the Gaps Between Value Creation and Value Delivery


Frustration and animosity are stifling the business-to-business sector.

Executives are frustrated because they can’t translate the differentiated products and services they work so hard to create into bottom-line profitability. Their customers are frustrated because they frequently don’t achieve the benefits they expect after purchasing those same solutions. Sellers and buyers stand on opposite sides of the value gap and blame each other.

As business transformation consultants, each year we field hundreds of phone calls from executives who voice their frustrations:

  • They can’t get their price for the products and services that they have painstakingly developed and marketed, often at enormous
Read the rest

When Did “Closing” Become a Bad Word?


Closing a sale is nothing more than leading the process to a conclusion. It’s laying all the groundwork and asking the prospective customer to proceed with the action plan. But if it sounds that easy, why is it so tough to accomplish?

NASCAR driver Kurt Busch says, “What it takes to win a championship is to have your preparation meet the opportunities, whether it’s out on the racetrack or behind the scenes.” In sales, winning starts at the beginning. Do the right things throughout the process, and you’ll be better positioned for success. The steps can vary, but in talking … Read the rest