Editorial in the Field

  • Is there special education/training I should undertake to maximize the chances of becoming a successful rep?
  • What are practical steps to follow when opening an agency?
  • What do I do if a principal unfairly terminates me while still owing me commission?
  • What’s the most effective way to find new lines?
  • Do I really need an attorney, accountant, banker, etc.?

All of these are excellent questions, and this isn’t the first time they’ve been asked. More important than knowing the answers to each of the questions, however, is knowing where to get the answers. That’s a slight turn on the old … Read the rest

Taking Stock of MANA Products and Services


When manufacturers’ representatives and associates join MANA, one of the first benefits they derive from their membership is a three-ring binder that describes many of the products and services that are immediately available to them. The information in that binder is fairly inclusive in terms of what products and services MANA offers to its membership. Given the space available to us in Agency Sales magazine, it’s difficult if not impossible to describe everything that the binder covers.

According to Dennis Badour, LDMF, LLC, Moran, Michigan, an integral part of the success that he and his wife have experienced has been … Read the rest

Do What You Do Best — Sell


Most writers will attest to the fact that at the beginning of their careers the best advice they ever received was, “Write what you know.” While Dennis Badour and his wife, Barbara, chose a different career path than writing when they retired from their manufacturing sales careers, they decided to do what they knew — sell. That’s how and why their rep firm, LDMF, LLC, was formed in Moran, Michigan six years ago.

According to Badour, “We had our retirement and medical covered when we decided we wanted to continue working — preferably in our own business. While I’d like … Read the rest

Tips & Tactics

The benefits of sharing the wealth….

Manufacturers’ representatives are quick to let principals know one of the most effective means of getting their attention when it comes to selling a new product or promoting a new program — “Show me the money!” By that they mean some form of incentive (e.g., an additional percentage added to the commission for a period of time) is the best first step toward getting their attention — and their action.

One rep who agrees with that approach takes it a step further, however, when it comes to “incenting” his own salespeople to cooperate/participate in … Read the rest

Preparing for the Coming Wave of Wealth Transfers


Rising affluence and an aging population are expected to trigger a vast transfer of wealth over the next 30 years. According to Boston College’s Social Welfare Research Institute, approximately $40 trillion or more will pass from one generation to the next by 2052. With so much wealth changing hands, the need for estate planning is bound to increase among those who pass on assets. At the same time, investment planning will be paramount for those who inherit assets.

While each situation is unique, here are a few planning thoughts for givers and receivers.

Making Wishes Happen

A variety of legal … Read the rest

Living Fast and Loving It!


We can all agree that the pace of life today is faster than ever, due in large part to the rapid change in technology.

We complain about it, but we can overlook the benefits of today’s fast-paced world. Would you rather have to wait longer to get vital information you need? Think what it is like at the airport when you’re waiting for a delayed flight. Think about delays in traffic due to an outmoded transportation system (our “super” highways). Speed in some places would be better than ever.

There are keys to getting ahead and keeping your business on … Read the rest

Recognition for Proficiency in Technology

Training in the areas of sales improvement, product familiarity and how to run their businesses more professionally head the list when reps discuss the areas they are most concerned with. Not far behind — and becoming more important — is the area of technology. As high-tech tools become more affordable and more available to reps, it’s the rep who knows how to use them more productively that is going to stand head and shoulders above the competition. Added to that is the fact that the rep who lets his principals and prospective principals know how technologically apt he is will … Read the rest

“Commitment” Cements Perfect Relationship


One of the first points that David Pastor makes when he speaks about independent manufacturers’ reps is that he needs more reps.

“We sell only through reps. But when we partner with a rep, one thing the agency has to exhibit is a commitment to our line. That’s exactly what Fred Schultz and his agency have provided us.” That’s why the vice president of sales for Hystik, a manufacturer of pressure-sensitive tape, was quick to recommend Schultz and his S-L Marketing Specialists, Inc., Clifton, New Jersey, to Agency Sales magazine’s growing list of “perfect reps.”

According to the Houston-based Pastor, … Read the rest

Plan Your Way to Success and Increase Sales


If you are like many salespeople, you hit the ground running without doing much planning or having clear objectives for the next quarter, much less the next 12 months. However, successful salespeople get organized by setting aside time to focus on their goals and establish clear objectives.

Strategic planning based on setting goals is not a complicated process, and it doesn’t need to take a lot of time. However, in order to be organized, it’s important to start with clarity about what you want to accomplish. Steven Covey refers to this approach as “Beginning with the end in mind.”

Many … Read the rest

Those With the “In” Win: Getting Connected and Closing the Sale


My coffee shop was offering a free quarter-pound of coffee as part of a celebration.

As the attendant handed me a regular coffee from their prepared stack, I asked if I could have decaf. He said there was only regular. Since I’m not one to settle for rejection and since I know Kelly, the manager, from my daily visits, I asked her if I could have decaf instead. No problem — she went to the bean area, measured some decaf, ground it for a cone filter and smiled warmly as she handed it to me.

See, it pays to know … Read the rest

Not Letting Go of a Good Rep


A manufacturer reports how one of his reps turned what could have been a disastrous situation into something that made their relationship even stronger.

“A one-man operation that had always been one of our top performers hired a new outside man to take some of the load off himself and to allow the agency to grow. Unfortunately, he hired the wrong person. Almost from the beginning, I noticed a fall-off in the follow-up, and we were not benefiting from the same attention to detail that we once did. It took three months before the rep fired his new man, but … Read the rest

Breaking the Bonds of Mediocrity


It is easy to become satisfied with good or even very good performance.

We feel content with living a good life, having a good marriage, or achieving good results in business or sales. But very good is the enemy of great. You think great is right next door. It’s not. It’s in another country. When your work gets very good, it is just the beginning.

Maybe you’re thinking, “But I’m just an ordinary person.” Consider this true story: Steve was an average performer. He worked for an investment wholesaler catering to the needs of outside financial service professionals. His manager … Read the rest

Customers for Life!


The most successful companies place great value on developing lifetime relationships with their customers. In today’s competitive marketplace, they’re aware that their customers are aggressively prospected and their loyalty cannot be taken for granted.

Customer-focused companies recognize that relationship building and follow-on service are critical components for promoting both customer retention and revenue growth.

Build a Relationship

Today we have access to innovative tools such as the Internet, cell phones, faxes and voice mail, all designed to enhance our ability to communicate. Nevertheless, even with all of these technological tools at our disposal, the alarming number of dissatisfied customers, lost … Read the rest

Uncover More Opportunity —
Ask Great Questions


“It’s not you, it’s me,” is a classic, cliché breakup line — and a bad one at that. “Me, me, me” is what most business people talk about during any courtship. My company, my product, my service is the leading, the best, the only, the blah, blah, blah.

It’s interesting that the secret to success in business is not the word “me,” but the word “you.” Count the words in the average conversation or sales letter. Chances are the words “I” and “my” are heard many times more often than the words “you” and “your.” Yet all people want to … Read the rest