Better Than a Smoke Signal


Since the invention of the telegraph in 1840, the velocity and density of communication has grown exponentially. While the telephone was a step forward, one should remember that teletype machines were still state-of-the-art during the ’60s and ’70s. Fax machines did not become a commonplace tool until the late ’80s. E-mail went mainstream during the mid to late ’90s. While today’s communication tools are now commonplace, it is only recently that we have arrived at the Golden Age of Communication.

Given the present (and ever-increasing) personal communication options, why then is the most common question that I receive from reps … Read the rest

A Strategic Approach to Enhancing the Relationship


Last month in the pages of Agency Sales we described how one of MANA’s sister associations — NEMRA — was identifying, attacking and eliminating waste that resides in the processes performed by manufacturers and their representatives.

This month we identify another effort that has been undertaken between a rep and some of his principals. While the goal we’ll be reporting is once again to enhance relationships, this time we’ll report how one rep’s communication efforts with his principals have gone a long way to provide for accountability while identifying tasks that must be performed on major projects.

Bob Gerrard is … Read the rest

MANA and Trade Association Partner to Expand Reps’ Opportunities

MANA is working closely with the Monterey Bay International Trade Association (MBITA) to expand business opportunities here and overseas for its members and associates.

The non-profit MBITA ( is dedicated to providing trade promotion services to business communities in California, the United States and foreign countries. The organization uses advanced global e-commerce technologies for its clients and members in order to maximize global trade opportunities.

In pursuit of its goals, MBITA manages the website, a “click & mortar” solution for trade promotion services, and the TradePort Collaborator, an online community of public-private sector trade promotion organizations called the California … Read the rest

Tips & Tactics

This trade show “early bird” got the worm….

A rep we spoke with let us in on his little secret on how to maximize his time spent at trade shows. “I always begrudge the time spent out of the territory at trade shows — especially those that take us out of our territory — but when one of my very best principals asked for some help, I knew I couldn’t refuse. Since I knew I had to attend, I thought I had better come up with a good way to maximize my time there.”

Knowing that he had to arrive … Read the rest

Some Thoughts on Representative Agreements


I was troubled by the article “Representative Agreements Must Be Rewritten Annually” in the November 2006 issue of Agency Sales. The thrust of that article was that agency contracts with manufacturers should be limited to one year in order to eliminate possible litigation. The article accepts the idea that representatives are generally terminated because of poor performance and that by revisiting the relationship each year, business divorces can be easy and painless.

Our law firm has represented manufacturers’ representatives for almost 30 years. Over the years we have been involved in innumerable situations where a representative feels that it … Read the rest

Careful Estate Planning Is as Important as Ever


The enactment of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (2001 Tax Act) has many investors confused about estate planning. Because the legislation steadily reduces and eventually temporarily eliminates federal estate taxes, some are under the impression that estate planning is no longer needed. This misunderstanding could prove very costly.

Thanks to the 2001 Tax Act, the amount that may be transferred upon death to a non-spouse without triggering federal estate taxes was $1.5 million in 2005. This exclusion amount has risen to $2 million in 2006 and will rise to $3.5 million in 2009, and an … Read the rest

Preserving Wealth: Planning Steps for Your Stage of Life


The current tax law calls for a gradual increase in how much you can leave behind to loved ones over the next several years. Then, in 2010, the entire estate tax is scheduled to be repealed, only to revert back to 2001 levels in 2011 and beyond. That is, unless Congress alters the law. As it turns out, there is a long-running debate in Congress about whether or not to change the existing law, extend the repeal beyond 2010 or even get rid of estate taxes altogether.

What does this mean for you? Be proactive and review your own estate … Read the rest

Déjà Vu and Microsoft

While movie fans who trekked to the theater at Thanksgiving time may have had their imaginations tweaked in a sci-fi movie called Déjà Vu, truth be told there’s something available in the real world that looks a little like the tool actor Denzel Washington used to travel back in time.

In the movie, Washington makes use of a super‑secret device that provides street‑level real‑time views of events that happened in the past. His goal in the movie is to travel to the past to prevent a present‑day catastrophe.

Visitors to can gain a bit of a similar perspective … Read the rest

Turning Customer Complaints Into Cash Opportunities


Unless you work in a profession where you have absolutely no human contact whatsoever, you’re bound to hear a complaint from someone every now and then.

Sometimes it’s a customer complaining about a product not working as promised; other times it’s a complaint about your company’s customer service. Whatever the complaint is, if you have any responsibility for resolving the situation, you need some clear-cut strategies for making complaints a win-win situation for all parties.

Unfortunately, many people are fearful of complaints. They view the complaining person as “a whiner,” as someone “annoying” that they have to deal with. Even … Read the rest

MANA Capital Equipment Reps Meet Marketing/Sales Challenges


If MANA’s second Capital Equipment Special Interest Group (CAPSIG) conference needed an endorsement, it got one in the form of these words from one rep that attended the three-day meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, last fall: “I’m a convert. The entire theme of this meeting is so different from any other meeting of reps I’ve attended. What usually happens is during conversations, everyone is just telling each other ‘war stories.’ That’s not the case here. People are genuinely interested in the subject matter and in contributing and helping each other out. This trip has paid for itself in what I’ve been

Read the rest

Getting the Best Feet on the Street


A manufacturer called recently to let us know he hit the jackpot with an agency he signed up a little over a year ago.

“This rep impressed us from the get-go, but we didn’t know how good he was until fairly recently. He hit the ground running from day one, but what really impressed us — in addition to his sales success — was his follow-up and grasp of everything that was going on in the territory. He insisted on regular meetings with us either by phone or in person. Basically, the agendas for these meetings were simply to keep … Read the rest

An Early Year Sampling of Business Reading

In the several months since we last alerted our readers to the wealth of books devoted to sales and marketing, many books have come to our attention. It’s never too early in the year to line up your business reading. Here are some books for your consideration.

You Have 3 Minutes:
Learn the Secret of the Pitch from Trump’s Original Apprentice

by Ricardo R. Bellino, 209 pp., $21.95, McGraw-Hill
Bellino, the young Brazilian entrepreneur, reveals everything readers need to know to pitch their own ideas and achieve real results — even with the toughest audience. Whether trying to land a … Read the rest

Grow Your Business With Relationship Marketing


Everyone wants powerful word-of-mouth advertising for their business. When your satisfied clients refer new business to you because you’ve done your job — and done it well — you increase your revenue and need to spend less time and money on marketing and advertising. Does it get any better? Well, yes it could!

In addition to sending you referral business for new clients, your current clients should be cultivated for their repeat business. Relationship marketing is the practice of using the positive feelings of your existing clients to generate more work for yourself, perhaps in new areas, as you expand … Read the rest

Sales Training That Sticks


Why are sales training programs so often unsuccessful?

The typical company spends tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars to put its entire sales force through the latest, hottest sales training program touted to increase its bottom-line numbers. But, just as with all the previous sales training efforts, only a small percentage of participants embrace the new skills taught. For everyone else, the status quo reigns, and the bottom line doesn’t move one bit. What went wrong, and how can it be done right?

Getting to the next level in selling requires a careful evaluation of your sales … Read the rest