One way executives resolve tough business problems and learn about best practices is to establish an unofficial board of directors. This unofficial board of directors usually consists of managers and owners of unrelated and non-competitive businesses so that each member can speak candidly about their businesses without concern that the information could be used by a competitor.
These executive peer boards often meet as a group for a half day each month to discuss their thorniest problems and share successful strategies, and a half day each month individually with the group’s professional facilitator. One MANA member recently shared with me that each member of his eight-person executive peer board pays $7,200 in annual dues and that the benefits to his business have returned his investment many times over.
Those eight members invest a total of $57,600 per year and consider the investment in third-party input on their business operations to be money very well spent. And yet many manufacturers who sell through rep networks miss out on an opportunity to get much more specific advice about their business operations from a group that is already intimately familiar with their businesses because they have not formed a rep council.
Manufacturers should consider a rep council to be “Executive Peer Group 2.0” for a number of reasons:
- Unlike members of traditional executive peer groups, members of your rep council are not strangers to your business, so your rep council can bypass the prologue where each member explains to the others what their business does and the environment of their industry, and instead get right to work.
- Each member of your rep council has a direct financial interest in your company’s growth, giving them extra incentive to work with laser focus on your company’s success.
- In an eight-member executive peer group, each member gets one eighth (12.5%) of the group’s time. In a rep council, your company is the only focus and gets 100% of the group’s time.
- A six-person rep council is a real bargain compared with the executive networking group. Your typical total cost is around $5,200 for six $400 plane tickets, twelve $150 hotel nights, and $1,000 in meals.
After reading about rep councils in this issue of Agency Sales magazine, you can learn even more about rep councils from MANA’s online resources at www.manaonline.org. We encourage MANA manufacturer members to get the best and most cost-effective advice available by establishing rep councils and to contact MANA for any help needed to launch a productive rep council.
What’s a professional sales staff?
There’s No One Way To Pay Sales Staff!
Effective Questioning Combats Centuries-Old Selling Problem!
If the subjects covered in the volume of books that come into the offices of Agency Sales magazine on any given day are an indication, it would appear that the way for reps to successfully approach business changes about as often as the weather. For instance, consider these offerings:
• Own the Room:
Business Presentations that Persuade, Engage & Get Results
• The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself
• Building a Winning Sales Force: Power Strategies for Driving … Read the rest
Question: I wanted to do some sales training last year, but it just wasn’t the right time for it. We had too many things on our plate. Looking at our calendar this year, I am coming to the same conclusion. Am I ever going to have time to conduct sales training? Will it ever be the right time?
Answer: Great question. Probably the number-one reason sales managers don’t provide sales training for their teams is “the timing just isn’t right.”
Why is it that some companies, regardless of the press of the urgent and the demands of the customers, … Read the rest
“We’re not paranoid — We just know they’re out to get us!”
That line always gets a laugh, but unfortunately it is all too true.
The expression, “When in doubt, blame the reps!” is just as true.
How many very successful reps wake up every morning with a nervous burning in the stomach and shaky outlook? An educated guess says well over 50 percent. One rep friend says my number is way low; he says 99 percent. You tell me.
One highly experienced rep said he once woke up at 3 a.m. and started to call his salespeople when he … Read the rest
A MANA member recently wrote to say that most of the articles on “Consultative Selling” (CS) appearing in Agency Sales magazine were written by those who did not have to make a living selling. He claimed CS is just another phrase for “customer mooching selling.” I know how the writer feels because I, too, sold process equipment where one had to spend months or years consulting with customer engineers prior to the procurement department going out for competitive bid. I was sometimes thrown under the bus by the customer’s purchasing department later and received zip for my efforts when my … Read the rest
Most people who have a 401K or an IRA have little idea of where their money is invested. When you ask them, “Where’s your retirement money?” they reply, “At the bank” or “With my broker.” No wonder so many people are financially unprepared for retirement.
The fact is that if you want to be financially secure in your Golden Years, you must take control of your investments — today! Handing over your money to a broker and hoping someone else will look out for you is a recipe for disaster. Imagine saving and investing for 40+ plus years, only … Read the rest