MANA has preached long and hard to its members that they not only have a business plan for their agencies, but that they proactively and willingly share that plan with their principals. Such a plan indicates the level of professionalism your firm possesses and serves as a map pointing the rep to where he wants to go and what he wants to achieve for himself, his customers and principals.
An integral part of any business plan should be a list of the services the rep will provide and the functions he’ll perform for his principals. At the same time, reps should enumerate what they expect in return from their principals.
For instance, if the rep expresses a willingness to:
- Develop business in a virgin territory.
- Attend trade shows.
- Cooperate in joint sales calls.
- Participate in a rep council.
What’s the return he ought to expect from principals?
Isn’t it reasonable to raise the subject of shared territorial development costs, compensation for attendance at trade shows, and timely communication from the principal on matters of importance? While these are all-important considerations, let’s not stop there. Can’t the rep also expect to receive commissions in a timely and accurate manner?
All I’m espousing here is that the rep who considers himself a “businessman in sales” should realize the importance of having such a road map at his disposal that not only shows him where he’s going, but what the important landmarks for the duration of his journey are.
It’s often been said that if you begin a trip without a map, it’s easy to reach your destination — because your destination is nowhere. That’s not the kind of trip we want MANA members to take.