Editorial in the Field


After months of struggling with this decision, I have decided to retire to a life of part-time consulting, family activities and service to my church. After 8½ years of leading this organization and being the architect of our strategic plan, I leave with mixed emotions. But this is the right thing to do, and it’s time for someone with more energy to lead us to the next level.

Helen Degli-Angeli, executive vice-president of MANA will function as interim CEO while the Executive Committee of MANA conducts its search. Helen has been with MANA for 30 years, has completed the CPMR … Read the rest

Business Timelines Keep Focus on Reality


What has spawned the desire for instant gratification? Is it the way fast-food restaurants have become such a part of our lives? Is it the Internet that seems to be able to provide any and all information/products/services seemingly at a touch of our fingers? Is it perhaps the fast-paced lives that we lead both personally and professionally that leave no room for patience? Or, is it a combination of all of the above?

Discussion of this subject might best be left for another time. Remember, patience is a virtue. One thing for sure, however, is that there is no room … Read the rest

Tips & Tactics

No “bird dogs” wanted….

How many times does the term “bird dog” appear in a conversation? Those were the first words we heard from one rep as he began to describe what he didn’t want to find in a principal. According to this rep, “In my estimation, a good principal is one that doesn’t constantly ‘bird dog’ you about everything you do — and are supposed to do. The good principal is the one that makes the correct assumption that you know how to do your job. So, instead of tracking everything you do, they look for results. If the … Read the rest

The Simple Mistake Many IRA Owners Make


Most IRA owners, if asked what their major IRA concern was, would tell you it’s protecting the account from losses. Naturally, if you have $500,000 in your IRA, you are probably worried about losing it in a down market. However, there is a problem much simpler that folks keep missing which could cost your family thousands of dollars.

What is that problem? It’s the beneficiary form. Why would the beneficiary form cause so much trouble and cost so much? Because of the complexity of the laws surrounding the beneficiary designation and the lack of knowledge of most investors (and unfortunately … Read the rest

A Win-Win With Charitable Giving


We’ve all heard the saying: it’s better to give than to receive. While this is true, when you make a charitable gift to a nonprofit organization you are not only giving to a good cause, but also putting yourself in a situation to receive several tax advantages as well.

The exact tax advantages you receive actually depend on the type of gift you make and the organization to which you give. For example, if you give $10,000 in cash to a charitable group this year, you could deduct $10,000 from your taxes on your 2005 tax return. And while there’s … Read the rest

It’s Not About E-Commerce — It’s About R-Commerce


Focus on the relationships of business, not the electronics of it.

We live in an E-crazed world. Everywhere you turn you hear about E-Commerce, E-this and E-that. Seems that some are thinking you only have to put an E in front of a word and you are in the digital age. How ridiculous!

No matter how sophisticated our technology gets, we still are working with human beings. This is something the wise and successful businessperson knows. The technology of 100 years ago was amazing at its time, but it still required the human connection. One hundred years from today we’ll … Read the rest

Nelson & Associates Fit Profile of the “Perfect Rep”


In a hotel ballroom earlier this year one manufacturer publicly acknowledged a rep who was participating in an open forum that included manufacturers and their reps. “I’d like to shake this man’s hand. This is the kind of rep any manufacturer would like to go to market with.”

Those words provide the perfect segue to the first in a series of articles that Agency Sales magazine begins this month.

More than four years ago, Harry Abramson, a frequent contributor to these pages, authored an article entitled “The Perfect Rep in the Eyes of the Industry.” That was the latest in … Read the rest

An Objective View of a Technology Rep’s Future


Are electronic manufacturers’ reps tomorrow’s dinosaurs, or are they here to stay?

Based on the mortality rate, one may wonder. Six years ago, there were more than 2,000 high-tech rep firms selling electronic components and materials in North America. Today there are fewer than 500. What does that tell you? Mergers and acquisitions are only part of the reason. Electronic component reps are fighting their version of the “war on commission-rate terror.”

Some fatalists believe that the attrition rate will continue and that the proud profession of today’s electronic manufacturers’ rep will vanish into oblivion. They may espouse that the … Read the rest

Adversity Gives You Strength


How can you stay self-motivated and productive in the midst of turbulent times and a sluggish economy? How do you persevere as a salesperson when times are tough and customers seem to be holding on to every penny in fear of economic uncertainty?

Every challenge, setback and personal difficulty you encounter in life also brings with it the seed of equivalent or greater benefit! The key to overcoming adversity is to avoid the temptation of panic and instead focus on finding the greater benefit. Adversity will never leave you where it found you; it will either strengthen your character or … Read the rest

Characteristics of a Successful Professional — A Propensity to Take Risks


What sets the exceptional professional apart from the average? Regardless of what the profession, from sales to psychiatry, the exceptional professionals share certain characteristics. Here’s one: The propensity to take risks.

Now, don’t get the wrong idea. We’re not talking about skydiving here. Nor are we talking about sinking your life savings in the new start-up dot com that your friend told you about. I don’t mean taking risks that might endanger your health, safety or long-term security.

Instead, I am talking about taking risks that force you to move out of your comfort zone on the job — risks … Read the rest

Manufacturers Report on the Relationship

MANA recently completed a new survey of associate members on the subject of outsourced sales force management. As usually happens with any such effort, the results were a mixture of good and bad news for all concerned. It should be noted that while the survey was not statistically accurate, close to 200 of the 1,500 associate members responded. This represents an excellent return of more than 13% for this type of survey.

Before explaining the “good news-bad news” scenario, let’s offer some general information gleaned from the survey. To put things into perspective, it’s useful to understand that:

  • Fifty percent
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This Manufacturer “Gets It”


Two executives with MANA-member Aquest Corporation provided the perfect words of praise earlier this year when they singled out one of their principals — Micro Air Corporation — as a “Perfect Principal.” As a result, this month the Wichita, Kansas-based manufacturer of a full line of industrial air cleaners, dust collectors, clean air booths, environmental booths, downdraft tables and commercial air cleaners joins our ever-growing list of manufacturers that their reps are proud to work with.

In presenting its “Quality Manufacturer of the Year Award” to Micro Air, Phil Roland, Aquest president, said, “Micro Air truly exemplifies the best in … Read the rest

Deadly Sins in Family Business


Just as there are unique problems in publicly-held firms, there are also challenges unique to family-owned and operated businesses.

All companies have strengths, but the secret to both profitability and perpetuation is a willingness to step up to the plate and deal with each business and family issue in a professional manner.

As I write this article, I’m using my experiences as a consultant to family-owned businesses as well as information I have been taught in family business seminars and workshops that I’ve attended over the years. My purpose is twofold:

  • The first is to bring these “deadly sins” to
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