Communication Technology


Savvy use of communication technology is the theme of this month’s Agency Sales magazine, and our goal for this issue is to help you turn your communication technology skills into a competitive advantage that will distinguish you from your competitors. As an example, let’s consider a customer with these three e-mails in his or her inbox:

E-mail #1

Subject line: Your RFQ 88754 Our Quote 118976 2,000 Machined Steel Rods $8,000 Net, Three Week Lead Time.

Body text: Reiterates the subject information in the body text with standard terms and conditions.

E-mail #2

Subject line: Quote

Body text: Details of the quotation.

E-mail #3

Subject line: Quote

Body text: See our quote in the attached file.

An extremely time-pressed buyer with 300 unread e-mails could possibly see the subject line of the first e-mail, decide that $8,000 is a fair price, and send that vendor the order without searching to see which of his or her other 299 unread e-mails also might have been a response to RFQ 88754, but did not include that information in the subject line.

A buyer with a little more time might open all those e-mails and scan the body text of each to look for a more attractive offer, but still might be reluctant to open attachments, either because opening attachments is time-consuming or because attachments sometimes carry viruses.

If any of these quotations are destined to go unread, it will be the one that came as an attachment, and it is that salesperson’s fault for not considering the buyer’s need for efficient communication before sending that quote.

But the rep who is a savvy communicator kept the customer’s convenience uppermost in his or her mind and communicated the information in the way that is most likely to get the order.

We hope you will enjoy this issue, and that it will help you discover new skills to make your communications more compelling, and help you earn new sales and new customers.

© Ginasanders |

Technology Is Calling: Should You Answer?


 Technology has created new communication methods for our customers and prospects over and above the traditional telephone and face-to-face communication. You already know these methods well: e-mail, text messages, Twitter, social media, webinars and video conferencing. On top of that, we now have more devices that aid in communication, including cell phones, smartphones, laptops, desktops, netbooks, notebooks and tablets.


This poses the question: Is all this technology helping or harming the process of communication?

One of the potential downsides of electronic communication like those above is that they typically put some “remoteness” or “distance” between us and our

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Technology and Internet Spur Changes in Rep’s Communications


H.G. Wells offered the world a fascinating — if fictional — glimpse of the benefits and potential dangers of time travel in The Time Machine. Despite the author’s best literary efforts, man has never been able to put his theories to the test to learn how to jump from dimension to dimension to see how time changes all things.










In order to accomplish that goal, we can give some thanks to the Internet, which allows us to visit the website of PSE Associates, LLC ( Once there, visitors will quickly

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Strengthening Your Territory Connections: E-Newsletters and Conquering Communications


We know today’s challenges all too well: gas at four dollars a gallon, salespeople with their smart phones have less time for you, fewer territory sales meetings, faster product changes and sales opportunities and manufacturers shaving percentage points wherever they can….

The key issue underlying this is how do you keep your territory “rep relevant” and your role valuable to your vendors? How do you ensure your territory connections are immediate, valuable and worthwhile for your clients?

This all makes it more important than ever that you connect regularly with your sales contacts: circulate the latest info, sales tips

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Are You Hindered By Formerly Effective Sales and Marketing Policies?


I call it FIP. Fine in the Past. It refers to all the sales and marketing efforts, ideas, policies, principles, techniques and strategies that worked well in the past, but are no longer effective. The past is everything that’s pre‑2011.


I still recall a poignant moment with an attendee at one of my seminars. During the break he came up to me and said: “I’ve been in business for seventeen years. And we’ve done well. But now, it seems like everything is changing, and I don’t know what to do.”

He went on to explain that he had built … Read the rest

Accountability: Sharpening Your Competitive Edge to Develop Loyal Customers


In today’s highly competitive business climate, most successful companies are finding new and creative ways to win business. By building customer-centric business plans and increasing their commitment to company-wide execution, they’ve managed to succeed in a turbulent economy. Most of all, they’ve discovered they simply cannot afford to make mistakes in their customer relationships. They strive to “out-execute” the competition in every aspect of their business that touches the customer. These organizations understand that the key to creating loyal customers is building a culture of accountability.

Most of us have heard the stories of accountable employees who have made a … Read the rest

Gaining Cooperation: Maxims For Successful Negotiation



“Everything you know is wrong. Black is white, up is down and short is long. And everything you thought was just so important… doesn’t really matter anymore.” “Everything You Know is Wrong.”

If you are a fan of the show Seinfeld, you will remember an episode where George concludes that every single decision he made and every single approach he took in his past was wrong. Every gut instinct he had always led him to disaster. So he incorporates a new philosophy: if every single thing that he had ever done was wrong, then the opposite must

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How To Consistently Outperform Your Sales Competitors


Susan is in life insurance sales. She understands how to make cold calls, how to follow up on leads and referrals and how to offer excellent customer service. Yet, she’s amazed at how much more successful her colleague, Michael, is, when she puts much more time and sweat into her work than Michael seems to do. She wonders what is missing in her approach.

The key difference between Michael and Susan’s approaches is the fact that Michael has trained himself to be an “active listener.” He uses the Sales T.R.I.U.M.P.H.S. active listening model to not only to help him maximize

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How To Make Salespeople More Effective


Not withstanding the value that many salespeople bring to their customers, the selling profession is under the gun. There have always been those who have even decried the existence of salespeople, describing them as an unnecessary evil.

If we want to buy a car, an insurance policy or just about anything else, there is an intermediary, a salesperson, standing between us making the purchase. At best, a salesperson is interested, knowledgeable, responsive — and helpful, and at worst, totally self-absorbed, uninformed and untruthful.

This is the picture of selling today from the perspective of many customers, and while it’s certainly

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Competitive Thinking: Right or Wrong?


For the last few thousand years, we have learned to think through a linear thinking model. We have competed with each other, first for food or mates, then for the corner office and the coolest car. We compete over who has the greenest lawns and smartest children, and we have learned to decide who’s important, or who’s not, by who’s on top and who’s on the bottom of the corporate ladder. This has defined how we relate to each other, how we conduct business, and how we set our goals.

This form of thinking goes by a number of different

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To Call Report Or Not….

A manufacturer that has long been committed to using reps recently reported that he’s become a regular reader of the discussion group formed by MANA on LinkedIn. One discussion on call reports really got his attention.


“The people I report to have long insisted on the value of our reps submitting regular call reports so we know what’s going on in the territory. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this. I, on the other hand, don’t believe it. I’d rather have the reps in the field selling product and proactively reporting to me about what’s

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eCAT is One Smart Cat When it Comes to Product Catalogs


As an independent rep, which would you rather:

• Go though the annual process of approaching each of your principals to request a supply of updated product catalogs?

• Under your banner and on your website, have each of your manufacturers provide and constantly update electronic product catalogs?

If there’s no immediate answer, consider for a moment the traditional and time-honored way manufacturers and reps have worked together to ultimately place product catalogs in the hands of customers. Annually manufacturers compile product information. They then input that information into catalog format, send to a printer and print x-number of copies … Read the rest

What Is A Non-Competition Provision?


Most reps are familiar with the term “non-compete provision,” but many do not understand the impact a pre- and post-termination non-compete can have on a rep’s business.

To some extent, all non-competes inhibit the rep’s ability to run its business. The scope is usually defined by the specific prohibitions, e.g., length of time, geographic territory, the principals and/or customers, hiring of personnel and other matters. Sometimes there is a non-compete or other prohibition that can be imposed on a principal (e.g., granting the rep the exclusive right to sell).

Most jurisdictions, at least to some extent, allow

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The Retirement Distribution (R/D) Factor


 My approach to retirement is based on balancing your savings between tax-deferred, after-tax, and tax-free accounts. Many (unwise) people today aren’t concerned with balancing their savings. They simply save money in their company’s 401(k) and spend everything else. When these people enter retirement, they’ll have nothing but their tax-deferred savings to draw on.


This will be coming at a time when, I believe, the IRS will be even more aggressive in taxing these assets. Aggressive taxation goes against what we were originally told — IRA and 401(k) accounts were created so we could defer income now until we retire

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