Editorial…In the Field


Versatilist — a good new added description of the professional committed manufacturers’ representative — today!

“A versatilist is someone who can be a specialist for a particular discipline, while at the same time be able to change to another role with the same ease.”*

In our world as full channel manufacturers’ representatives, consider a:

  • Generalist, as a distributor who “has broad scope and shallow skills, enabling them to respond or act reasonably quickly.”
  • Specialist, as a manufacturers’ factory rep who “generally has deep skills and a narrow scope, giving them expertise.”
  • Versatilist, as a manufacturers’ representative who, in contrast, “applies
Read the rest

The Web


When Agency Sales magazine last wrote about the importance of manufacturers’ representatives integrating web pages into their marketing and communication strategies, the concept was one that was just picking up speed with MANA members.

Now, just three years later, the pace with which reps are jumping on the web has increased dramatically. As of now, there’s a “good news/bad news” scenario for reps when it comes to this important Internet presence. The good news is that half the members of MANA have web pages. It’s not hard to figure out the bad news — half the members of MANA do … Read the rest

Keys to an Effective and Profitable Website


Gone are the days when having a web presence was something only for multi-national companies with huge marketing and technology budgets.

In today’s business environment, having a website is a must for any business, no matter how large or small. In fact, not having a web presence is like having a storefront in a busy shopping district, yet always having the “closed” sign displayed and the doors locked. So while people may have heard about you, they have no easy way to buy from you or to get more information about what you do.

Even if you currently have a … Read the rest

Tips & Tactics

There’s no end to education….

Whether it’s attending one of the MANA seminars for manufacturers or reps, completing the MRERF CPMR program or taking advantage of any other educational program, when advising his peers, one rep echoes the Nike slogan when he says, “Just Do It!”

This advice came from a rep who has spent his entire career looking for the next educational opportunity. When asked why he continues in this manner after earning his master of business administration degree and his CPMR certification, he said, “My feeling from the beginning of my career was that I wanted to establish … Read the rest

Retirement Income Planning:
Why an Appropriate Withdrawal Rate Matters


Accumulating enough assets for retirement may be the top priority for investors. However, the amount that is withdrawn from a portfolio each year during retirement is what may ultimately determine how long retirement assets will last. That is why calculating the annual withdrawal rate from personal savings and investments is so critical for retirees and people about to retire. It’s also a helpful exercise for younger investors who would like to gauge how much they will need to accumulate in order to provide adequate income during retirement.

Something to Consider

Several factors will influence your choice of an appropriate withdrawal … Read the rest

Technology: What the Future Holds for You


The changing and morphing of the Internet is in full swing.

The industry has gone past “brochureware” and static websites. Interactivity and customer service are the words heard today more often than anything. There are several major trends that will affect you and your business. You can use them to your advantage if you know what is coming and how to profit from it. Some of these trends include:

Fast Is Not Only Good, but Also Necessary

Your customers want answers fast. Ironworks is a product from Ironside (www.ironside.com) that is a B2B (Business to Business) website for manufacturers and … Read the rest

Measuring Sales Potential


It’s the Information Age, and we’re all aware of that. We see evidence of that everywhere we look. There is one place, however, that the Information Age seems to have skipped — the routines and habits of the outside salesperson. Far too many salespeople have ignored the power of information to add a powerful and productive element to their strategies.

One specific example of this is a piece of information that can, by itself, help you become more effective — the sales potential of an account. In other words, the answer to the question: How much can they buy? This … Read the rest

Pushing the Rep to Rate Their Principal


We’ve heard of principals rating their reps and reps rating their principals, but here’s a bit of a turn on that practice.

A manufacturer recently let us know that he’s made it a regular practice to ask his reps to rate his performance with them. “Our motives are pretty clear cut,” he explained. “We simply wanted to know where we stood above and beyond our competitors and the other lines that our reps carried. This was an outgrowth of the fact that we’re well aware of how most of our reps perform during the course of the year. But aside … Read the rest

The Four Factors of Risk


The critical factor in selling today is risk.

Because of continuous change and rapid obsolescence, the risk of buying the wrong product or service becomes greater as change intensifies. Our greatest single need is for security of all kinds, and any buying decision that puts us out on a limb triggers the feeling of risk and threatens that security.

There are four main factors that contribute to the perception of risk in the mind and heart of the customer.

1. Size of the Sale

The larger the sale, the more money involved, the greater the risk. If a person is … Read the rest

The Decision to Buy


How often has a sale been lost after we believed the customer clearly understood their problem and would make a logical, quality decision?

As sales professionals we have been taught that we must seek out and uncover our customer’s decision process. We are to clearly determine who will be involved, what they are looking for, what criteria they will be using to evaluate the situation, how much money they will be willing to spend, etc. Once we have uncovered the customer’s decision criteria, we are then advised to present our solution strengths, our added value, to match that decision process.… Read the rest

Selling Isn’t What You Might Think It Is


Doug Jones was excited. Today was the big day — his chance to meet with a prospective client he’d wanted to know for years!

The prospect had agreed to a conversation over lunch. Doug drove to the restaurant with his hopes high, and then made one of the biggest mistakes of his professional life.

He began with “I.”

  • “I just wanted to make you aware of the new regulation.”
  • “Our new service….”
  • “The new product….”
  • “The new division of our company….”
  • “Our approach to client service….”

Doug thought he’d put his best foot forward, that he’d begun a relationship. In … Read the rest