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This issue of Agency Sales explores the importance of agency growth to the rep-principal relationship. As you read this month’s issue, I encourage you to think about agency growth as more than just increasing your agency’s head count, and also to think about how you will communicate your agency’s growth to your principals.
Communicating your value to principals is easiest for obvious kinds of growth, like head count or gross sales, but more challenging when the agency grows in more subtle ways. Announcing added head count can be as simple as: “With the addition of June Smith to our sales team, we now have five salespeople, up from three just a year ago, an investment we’ve made in order to grow our mutual business.”
An increase in gross sales dollars is most often communicated from the principal to the rep, but it is still an opportunity for your agency to communicate its growth: “Thanks for letting us know that our sales increased 18.5 percent last year. Your regional manager Tim did a great job of helping us plan the 206 sales calls we made on your behalf last year, and in getting us fully trained to capitalize on those opportunities.”
But when your agency grows in more subtle ways, extra attention to communicating those enhancements is required. Consider the owner of an agency that sells chemicals who discovers that his or her customers now require more technical savvy than the agency’s existing sales force can provide. Replacing three non-technical salespeople with three chemical engineers does not increase head count, but it definitely needs to be announced with pride: “Last year our agency launched an initiative to enhance the service we provide to our mutual customers. With our most recent hire, Tom Jackson, our sales team is now 100 percent degreed chemical engineers.”
What has your agency done to grow its rep/principal relationships this year? Did you invest in test equipment, a demo van, a training room, or new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software? Be sure to communicate those investments to your principals so they can fully appreciate your commitment to the growth of your agency and to your rep-principal relationships.
As a rep in today’s global economically driven market — it would be a mistake not to at least explore the possibility of off-shore representation. The observations contained in this editorial are slanted toward overseas sourcing versus over-the-borders of North America. While there are several approaches a rep can take, there are three that I have found most common:
- Working with an existing domestic principal who has established foreign ties.
- Working with a reputable trading company.
- Working directly with an off-shore source.
We currently have several lines where the principal has aligned themselves through either ownership or strategic alliances
… Read the rest
Not too long ago, the usual scenario for a start-up rep firm and/or for that matter established ones, whether it is one-person or a firm with multiple sales personnel, was to gravitate towards an industry familiar to them as a result of having worked in or with that industry in some fashion. And, most often, the initial principals were almost always domestic companies.
Today, however, most reps have been exposed to an opportunity to represent a foreign principal and many have undertaken this representation. The differences between repping a domestic principal and a foreign principal can be dramatic and often … Read the rest
We ended the article in the April issue of Agency Sales magazine with the question, “How do we activate the energy field and create the alignment within any company or organization that will serve customers in a very different way?”
Let’s start with the answer so that as you read, the explanation will not be perceived as judgmental, incriminating or confrontational to the typical Industrial Age mindset.
The answer: “Stop the war and wage peace.”
The shift from the mechanistic Industrial Age business model to the biological Human Potential business model requires a bifurcated change in focus within the organization.… Read the rest
Time gets lost. People kill time. Time flies. It gets wasted.
Time weighs heavy on our hands.
We spend time. Time passes. It drags on or it hurries by.
Those behind bars are said to be doing time.
Sometimes, we have no time left; we’re out of time.
According to the great American inventor, Thomas Edison, “Time is really the only capital any human being has, and the one thing he can’t afford to waste.”
The perception of not having enough time for the things we must do or, just as importantly, the things we want to do, is a … Read the rest