Editorial…In the Field


Mel is back!

Long-term MANA members will remember receiving Mel Daskal’s monthly Financial Fax newsletter. I’m sure that those who are acquainted with it will be delighted to know that Financial Fax will appear as a regular column in future issues of Agency Sales magazine. The first column actually appeared in last month’s issue in case you missed it.

If you’re new to Financial Fax, you will soon learn that you won’t want to miss a single issue, and you’ll probably find yourself passing your copy of Agency Sales along for others to read.

In addition to the return … Read the rest

Negotiating to Enhance Relationships


Negotiating is an integral ingredient in the process of selling. A problem can occur, however, when manufacturers’ representatives don’t know when and how to shift into the negotiating mode. It’s incumbent upon the rep to be able to recognize the difference between selling and negotiating, and then — when the timing is right — to be able to make the move into the negotiating mode.

Those are just a couple of the observations of sales trainer and consultant Bill Heyden. Heyden, who conducted a four-day training program for MANA-member Nelson & Associates, Santa Fe Springs, California, earlier this year, maintains … Read the rest

Selling or Buying a Business


“The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage.” — Mark Russell


Not only may this be one of the most significant actions of your business life, but one that is also riddled with various complex tax ramifications. Since the vast majority of you do not often engage in such transactions, even the most sophisticated and successful businesspersons are frequently caught off-guard by all these brand new (to them) rules, angles, restrictions, implications, outcomes — and, above all, the tax costs.

C Corporation

You can either sell the stock … Read the rest

Healthcare and Retirement


The rising cost of health care in America has become one of the primary risks to a financially secure retirement.

Health insurance premiums and medical expenses now consume a hefty portion of retiree savings. And the future looks more troubling. Healthcare costs are expected to continue to increase faster than inflation, and many employers are re-evaluating their ability to offer retiree health insurance coverage.

Strategies for Managing Healthcare Expenses in Retirement

So how can you make sure rising healthcare costs don’t wreck your carefully laid retirement income plans?

  • Leverage COBRA coverage.

COBRA, the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act, is a federal … Read the rest

Use Today’s Web Technologies to Connect With Your Customers


For many small businesses, including manufacturers’ representatives agencies, the traditional ways of attracting customers are no longer enough.

Today, technology abounds, and the smart business owners are using it as a vital part of their business-growth strategy. In fact, since many people now spend more time online than they do listening to radio or watching television, web-based advertising is a must for any small business to survive. Following are some of the latest technologies you can use to reach existing customers and attract new ones.

Blogs — Blogs are short for “web logs.” These are informational postings you can create … Read the rest

Mutual Action Planning


Mutual action planning is a way to pro-actively and strategically grow a sales territory through a team effort of the field sales personnel and the home office.

Managing the sales force through mutual action planning not only creates a document for engaging the home office with the field sales force, but it reduces the friction of negative relationships by defining objectives, accountabilities and milestones instead of waiting for crises to erupt, slowly eroding relationships to disappear, and incessant finger-pointing when things go wrong. It is also the nexus to which all other aspects of successful sales management connect.

The key … Read the rest

Going Above and Beyond Customer Expectations


Recently, a customer went to her favorite restaurant on the beautiful River Walk in San Antonio. The staff was warm and friendly, and the food was amazing. While she was waiting for her meal, the manager walked up and initiated a conversation. The customer told him how much she loved his restaurant, and that after her last meal there, she went home and tried (unsuccessfully) to recreate it for her husband. The manager then asked her for her e-mail address. To her surprise and delight, he offered to send the recipe. Though she hadn’t asked him for it, he knew

Read the rest

Four Agencies Provide Foundation for MANA’s 60-Year History of Service


During the 60-year history of MANA, economic ups and downs, mergers/consolidations, retirements and any number of other variables have combined to alter the business landscape that the independent manufacturers’ representative works in.

However, over that period of time two constants that speak to the strength and continuity of the profession have remained:

  • The very existence of the Manufacturers Agents National Association (MANA), which was founded in 1947.
  • The continued membership of four rep firms that can count themselves among that pioneering group of businesses that recognized the importance of reps banding together to raise the bar of professional performance.

Today, … Read the rest

Tips & Tactics

Winning Back Lost Customers

Lost customers are ripe for win-back. Yet, few companies leverage the opportunity, reports Jill Griffin, co-author of Customer Winback. The author’s newest customer-loss study fielded with research firm CustomerSat (www.customersat.com), reports fresh evidence why a customer win-back strategy should be part of every firm’s arsenal of loyalty tools.

“A whopping 62 percent of buyers surveyed who recently dismissed a key supplier reported choosing another supplier that offered basically the same product or service,” says Griffin. “This finding shouts out that the lost account’s needs have not changed and still can be filled by the dismissed … Read the rest

Paying Attention to His Peers


The vice president of sales for a manufacturing firm related the unexpected benefit he realized as a result of his involvement in his industry’s rep association.

“It’s natural that when I got together with my peers during our annual conference, we’d kick around problems, concerns and other matters related to working with reps. I don’t know how many times I heard one of them tout the benefits of establishing a rep council. We followed suit about two years ago, and it’s incredible how much progress we’ve made in our relationships with our reps. Communication and performance in the field have … Read the rest

Beyond the Elevator Pitch: a High-Credibility Conversation


It’s not easy being a “prospective customer” in today’s highly diluted and complex market. If you’re the targeted prospect, you are constantly barraged with marketing messages and annoying sales pitches. Whether the pitch is presented on the radio during a morning commute, in a postal in-box, by e-mail, over the phone or face-to-face, you may be overwhelmed by the number of companies and messages seeking your limited time and attention.

If you are a business professional trying to get your prospect’s attention, then you may be experiencing how difficult it has become to cut through all the noise and have … Read the rest