Do You Get It?


Are you really a Top 10?

I am constantly amazed at the high quality of individuals I meet at rep functions. It is obvious that the highest 10% — the cream of the crop — understand the need for continual education.

They also understand that their education comes in two forms:

  1. Networking with other high-caliber reps.
  2. Increasing their knowledge on a wide variety of pertinent topics.

It is interesting to note that I see the same approximate faces of reps at these functions. Behavioral scientists refer to them as conscious competents. Or said another way, they are: Reps who … Read the rest

Health Insurance Check-Up


Is Your Coverage Too Much, Too Little, or Just Right?

Employers and individuals continue to seek the level of medical insurance coverage purchased years ago. Cradle-to-grave coverage is no longer affordable, even though employers offering one- or two-plan designs have reduced coverage to levels they still need to attract employees in their particular industry. Usually, the options continue to be very high levels of coverage. Employees making the buying decisions may not be properly prepared to be a good health care consumer because they really don’t have a responsible option in front of them.

Many manufacturers’ rep entrepreneurs striking out … Read the rest

A Health Savings Account — An Attractive Option for Reps

As the new administration in Washington, D.C. (not to mention the American public in general) continues to grapple with the medial healthcare challenge, there’s one option that continues to be especially attractive to manufacturers’ representatives and their employees — Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

As an outgrowth of the Medicare Reform Act of 2003, HSAs offer consumers a tax-free medium for healthcare. With HSAs, consumers typically employ a high-deductible health insurance policy to protect against major medical expenses, while establishing a savings account to use for small, day-to-day medical expenses.

What recommends this approach is that the high-deductible policy is significantly Read the rest

Should Reps Carry Product Liability Insurance?


A number of manufacturers’ representatives are doing without product liability insurance. Among those who have spoken on the subject, their reasons can be grouped into the following:

  • If the insurance is available at all, it’s just too expensive.
  • A majority of reps maintain they’ve never been named in a product liability case. As a result, given the expense, they’ve decided to move ahead without it.

Those reasons notwithstanding, MANA has long advocated that reps take steps to insure their personal and business interests in case they ever become party to such an action.

For instance, when Dan Beederman, an attorney … Read the rest

Turning the Recession into a Marketing Opportunity


Have you noticed how quickly so-called “business leaders” can turn into wimps? They strut their stuff when the economy is booming, making it clear their success is of their own making. But when things turn sour, they run for cover, blaming company failures on circumstances beyond their control. Out of desperation, they lay off workers, cut benefits, slash budgets — including marketing.

Not every company capitulates in the face of an economic storm. Take these, for example. Wal-Mart, Hewlett-Packard, Proctor & Gamble and Apple all have one thing in common: they are all excellent, unrelenting marketers — and they lead Read the rest

The 10 Traits of Effective Reps, Part IV


In the January issue, we began a series of articles examining the traits needed for an independent manufacturers’ representative to be successful. The traits are borrowed from a book entitled Ten Traits of Highly Effective Principals: From Good to Great Performance, by Elaine K. McEwan. The traits that have been examined thus far are: Culture Builder, Communicator, Producer, Facilitator, Change Master and Educator. This month we follow with a study of the rep as both a Contributor and an Envisioner.

Contributing in Time of Turmoil

As he considers the state of the economy and the role that the independent … Read the rest

Protecting the Relationships With Your Best Customers


In a challenging economic climate, you may be finding that prospective customers are strongly focused on downsizing and cost cutting rather than on expanding their business or acquiring the latest new product features. Companies that may have been in growth mode last year are putting projects on hold, reducing capital budgets, and paying renewed attention to cash management.

In the face of retrenchment, it is increasingly costly and time-consuming to develop new business. Now, more than ever, it makes sense to keep your existing customers close and invest in expanding business with companies that are already buying from you. But Read the rest

Mapping Out a Dynamic Business Growth Plan


Our world will never be the same. Recent economic and political events have created a new playing field for business success. In order to make the most of the current realities, leaders must adapt to the changing marketplace and engage the capacity of their people to achieve business results.

It all starts with a plan; better yet, a dynamic business growth plan.

Developing a clear and simple plan will strengthen employee morale, increase productivity and improve profitability. This planning process won’t take long. The plan will fit on a single page. It will be easy to communicate. It will keep Read the rest

Opportunity in This Economy


As he was leaving his position as national sales and marketing manager for a major manufacturer, an executive was asked his opinion of what he thought were the major challenges facing reps today. In the face of the economic challenges just about all businesses are facing today, his answer was especially optimistic. “It would be great to entertain the question of potential challenges in a healthy economy, but that’s not the case,” he said. “However, the economy we operate in today is not without tremendous opportunities. For instance, there are many manufacturers that historically haven’t used reps who are … Read the rest

Technology Tips to Turbo-Charge Your Business


“So many fail because they don’t get started — they don’t go. They don’t overcome inertia. They don’t begin.” — W. Clement Stone

It is time for a new beginning — in many ways. This marks the end of an era for many. This country has elected a new President with a new vision and a different way of doing business. And in my opinion, this is a great time to begin anew.

So, here are some business tools and tech tips to help propel you forward.

Contact Management Systems (CMS)

This is the most important element for any sales-oriented … Read the rest

Tax and Financial Refreshers


“Yogi Berra: Where have you been? Wife: I took Tim to see Dr. Zhivago. Yogi: What the hell’s wrong with the kid now?”

With the proliferation of spas almost everywhere you turn, it seems like the entire population is getting refreshed over and over. SO, we thought we would add to your refreshment, but of a different kind. We do hope you will feel great after the treatment in this financial and tax spa….

Home Office Deduction — A Brief Refresher

If part of your home is used for business purposes — you may be able to take a home … Read the rest