Keeping Your Principals Captive (as an Audience, That Is)


As a rep, when you think of marketing you probably think of your customers first. After all, they’re the ones who place the orders that bring in commission checks. How many of you realize though, that marketing your rep firm to your principals might be far more important? Think about it — how often do you hear in this business that it’s the only field where you can get fired for doing too good of a job? When the commission checks start getting big, there’s a feeling back at the principal’s office that you’re making more money than they are. … Read the rest

Key Steps to Building Rep-Firm Longevity


One of the many reasons for going to market with a manufacturer’s representative is the fact that effective agencies boast lengthy tenures in their respective territories. How does 60 years work for you? To the benefit of its customers and principals, that’s what IES Technical Sales, Danvers, Massachusetts, can boast.

Among the many reasons the firm has enjoyed that many years to establish its reputation is that it knows how to market itself and keep its name firmly in front of the eyes of its principals and customers. According to Mike Berry, IES president, the company was founded in Boston … Read the rest

Reaping the Rewards of the CPMR Experience


For those who may not be aware of what the above acronyms mean, the Certified Professional Manufacturers’ Representatives (CPMR) designation was developed under the direction of the Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF), Arvada, Colorado.

The program was developed exclusively to address the professional advancement needs of already well-established independent manufacturers’ representatives. More than 1,700 manufacturers have earned the CPMR designation and more than 275 are in the process of completing their requirements.

The program involves multi-level course work taught by a team of instructors from the business and academic communities. Individual classes address a range of topics including sales, … Read the rest

Dealing With a Sales Slump


All independent manufacturers’ reps know about the deadly grip of selling slumps.

  • You have a series of bad days and missed sales.
  • You aren’t coming close to your potential.
  • You can’t stop worrying about it.

Let’s explore the slump cycle and discuss what you can do to interrupt it.

What Is a Slump?

A slump is any decrease in performance over time. It may start innocently, when you lose a couple of sales. Somebody makes a comment that “you might be in a slump” and you start believing it. You botch a sale again, and you decide you are in … Read the rest

Eliminating Price Concerns


You’ve been prospecting this company for ages, and finally got your foot in the door. You’re apprehensive because you’ve scheduled a meeting with the purchasing agent — not the big boss, but it’s a start — and you know you’ll get hammered on price!

The purchasing agent shakes your hand. “Tell me what you can do for me — and how much it’ll cost me.” Already, he’s squeezing you on price! You only want to make him recognize the value of your business solution. He only wants to dance around it, singing, “Sure, value’s important. But how will you save … Read the rest

Creating a Powerful Sales Plan


Field salespeople have a unique aspect to their jobs — they have the ability to decide what to do every moment of every day. The need to make this decision — where to go, who to see, who to call, what to do — distinguishes the sales profession from most others.

I’ve often thought that the quality of this decision, more than any other single thing, dictates the quality of the salesperson’s results. Consistently make effective decisions, and your results will improve. Make thoughtless, habitual or reactive decisions, and your results will be sub-par.

One of the ways to ensure … Read the rest

Steps Leading to Success


When a panel of manufacturers was asked the following question, a lively discussion followed: “Is there anything I would want my reps to do that would make us more successful?”

Adding personnel — First up, one manufacturer offered, “I actually approached one of my reps on this subject. Here’s what I said: ‘I’ve done an analysis of your territory and I’d like you to prove me wrong. I know the amount of business we have right now, and I know how much potential there is in the territory. I’ve concluded that if you added another person in the territory, we’d … Read the rest

Does Your Business Need a Boost?


Blogs and podcasts may be your answer.

Just when you think you have it all figured out in terms of marketing your business, along come some new technologies that revolutionize your company’s ability to promote itself to prospects and existing customers. And while most people have heard of these technologies by now, namely blogs and podcasts, few are taking full advantage of what these marketing media can offer their businesses.

Remarkably, as little as two years ago, blogs and podcasts were viewed as nothing more than places for opinionated people to rant and rave or assert their viewpoint. But today, … Read the rest

Buy-Sell Agreements

By and

“You can marry more money in five minutes than you can earn in a lifetime.”

A buy-sell agreement is frequently the key document in a company’s business continuation plan and the owners’ estate plans. These agreements establish a fair price for an ownership interest in a closely-held business and ensure an orderly business transition. They usually provide that the business (or a portion thereof in the case of multiple owners) will be sold (or offered for sale) at a specified price and under certain circumstances, which are detailed in the agreement. The primary circumstances (“triggering events”) are: death, disability or … Read the rest

Do REITs Make Sense for Your Portfolio?


By now you should have heard the word “REIT” in the investment world, but you may be wondering what one is and how it works.

First, realize that REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) are not new. They’ve been around for more than 45 years. However, it has only been since the 1990s that REITs have gained popularity. From the end of 1992 to the middle of 2001, the size of the REIT industry has increased almost tenfold. But, according to the Institute of Business and Finance*, the REIT industry has only captured 10% of the $3.5 trillion commercial real estate … Read the rest

Tips & Tactics

Identifying the “Better” Prospects

The timing couldn’t have been any better for some advice from author, consultant and speaker Brian Tracy. During a rep panel discussion devoted to working with prospects, one participant related something he had read from Tracy relative to picking and choosing the prospects you want to work with.

Some prospects are better than others. In fact, some prospects are wonderful to deal with while others are a complete waste of your time. Your starting point in spending more time with better prospects is for you to define clearly for yourself the attributes of an excellent prospect. … Read the rest