Rep wanted | Six- to seven-figure sale | Commission rate: 100%


A six- to seven-figure sale with 100% commission —
where do I look for that deal?

I can tell you where to look for that deal. Look in the mirror. That six- to seven-figure sale is your rep company, and the commission rate is 100% because you get to keep 100% of the proceeds (in proportion to your ownership of that rep company, of course.)

In this issue, Agency Sales magazine looks at how reps nearing retirement can achieve the best possible outcomes when they sell their rep companies.

A rep considering retirement has to do some serious soul-searching and answer some very tough questions:

  • Have I identified a willing and able buyer, either within my own company or outside it?
  • Have I kept financial records to document for that willing and able buyer the financial returns he or she can reasonably expect after the sale?
  • Have I structured my company so that the willing and able buyer can manage day-to-day operations after I’m no longer part of the company?
  • Have I planned for the retention of key employees and principals after the transaction is completed?
  • Have I secured the counsel of a rep-savvy attorney and a rep-savvy accountant to navigate the many potential legal and tax pitfalls of the transaction?

And with the careful planning, the sale of a rep company can be a win-win for the buyer and the seller. One MANA rep reports he has purchased five rep companies over his career, earning the sellers fair return on their entrepreneurial investment and allowing the buyer to assemble a regional rep powerhouse that stretches from Maine to Virginia.

This issue of Agency Sales will give you the fundamentals you’ll need to start thinking about selling or buying a rep agency. For more MANA resources on this topic, contact MANA by e-mail at or call MANA toll-free at 877-626-2776.


MANA an Association for the Professional Manufacturers’ Representative


Professional, entrepreneurial, motivated, ethical, independent, optimist and competitive. If you identify with this description, you are most likely a successful manufacturers’ rep or at the very least on your way to becoming one.

As a MANA board member for the last several years, I have come to know many successful reps from a variety of fields, and they all seem to fit the above description. We are a rare breed of businessmen and women who strive for perfection.

Every successful profession has an important common denominator, a professional association that forms their base. Professional organizations provide a wealth of information, … Read the rest

Succeeding at Succession Planning


When asked to discuss the subjects of retirement and succession planning for his rep firm, Bob Gerrard doesn’t skip a beat.

Instead, Gerrard, Gerrard & Associates, Mooresville, North Carolina, launches into his view of retirement. “If I maintain that retiring is simply doing what I want to do for the rest of my life, then I’m going to continue being a rep and doing what I’ve been doing for more than 35 years.”

In fairness, that’s a somewhat easy statement for him to make given the fact he’s already got someone (his son Dave) firmly in place to take hold … Read the rest

Providing Yourself A Sales Edge


image of start of race

Ironically, at the very moment when consumers and business buyers are better informed than ever, there’s also a greater need for competent salespeople. That may seem like a contradiction since the traditional role of a salesperson was to inform the uninformed.

While that is long past, there seems to be confusion about what it means to be in sales today. Is it to provide “solutions,” to be a “facilitator” or to serve as a “customer resource”?

With such confusion, it’s easy to understand why an increasing number of those in sales feel a need to practice obfuscation when it comes … Read the rest

How Emotional Intelligence Can Make You Better in 2012


For many of us, 2012 began with a promise — a promise that this year we will accomplish that which has eluded us. Often it’s the everyday things that prove most difficult — managing your schedule, treating people the way you ought to, and keeping things in perspective when chaos is at hand. The sad truth is that nearly 80 percent of us fell off the resolution bandwagon by Super Bowl Sunday; and by this time next year, a mere five percent of us will have succeeded in reaching our goals.

image of New Year resolutionsThere are two reasons why we’re so bad at … Read the rest

From Flatlining to Thriving: Critical Steps to Sales Transformation


image of EKG lineFor the last several years, the focus for business management has been finding ways to cut costs. There has been no shortage of highly-skilled individuals with a significant level of expertise and experience cutting every possible penny of expense from business operations.

Now, senior leadership is realizing there is little left to cut. Top-line revenue is becoming the primary focus. Companies are turning to their sales organizations in an effort to find ways in which they differentiate their offerings and drive profitable sales growth. As a result, “sales transformation” has become the catch phrase for many C-level executives.

Unfortunately, if … Read the rest

Finding a Different Way to Lead


The chairman warned me that the presidents would be a tough crowd. I suggested that he not attend the meeting so they could speak their minds. He would meet us for golf the second day.

As we convened the meeting, the central expectation of all 14 presidents was how to be an “A” company. They had all read about the business of the business and were very clear that their companies had pockets of “A” behavior but none were so bold as to declare that they had arrived at different.

I’ve been in a lot of executive-level meetings where the … Read the rest

Not All Team Members are Equal — Why You Need Connected Converts to Win Over Others


Do you have an idea to improve your organization or department that you want upper management to adopt? Do you need to close a sale? In situations like these, you are the underdog. It’s a given that it takes a team or coalition of people to effect change. We even see this tactic at play in reality shows where contestants are pitted against each other, where it’s usually portrayed as a dastardly tactic. However, you should consider this tactic to move your request or cause up the corporate ladder.

imageResearch on successful “underdog” influencers shows that virtually all of them … Read the rest

Selling Commodities


“How do you create a perceived value to differentiate yourself from the competition when you are both selling a commodity?”


That’s a question I’m often asked in my seminars. It uncovers a problem that is spreading to almost every industry. The rapid pace of technological development and our ultra-competitive global economy means that no one can keep a competitive edge in their product for very long. Develop a hot new product or service and before you can take your first check to the bank, a competitor has a hotter or cheaper version. As a result, customers are more and more … Read the rest

Customer Service Tips When People Are Stressed


image of stressed womanLet’s admit it — when it comes to dealing with customers who are stressed, some jobs are easier than others. A masseuse working in a resort spa will have more pleasant customers than a lost luggage agent at a busy airport. If your customers are sitting in a chair at your hair salon, they’re likely to be more relaxed than if they were sitting in an examination chair in a dental office.

That’s why so many customer service training programs fall short of desired results. Over the last decade there’s been a dearth of frontline training that focuses on enhancing … Read the rest

The Rep-Principal Relationship


When a manufacturer asks reps for some advice as he is about to put together a staff of inside sales support people for his reps, there’s no shortage of feedback. Here’s how the discussion progressed.

imageHere’s the question as it was originally proposed: “What are the three most important aspects of your relationship with your principal(s)? I am building a team of ISRs and want it to be a real win-win for us both.”

Wasting no time coming up with a response, one rep offered the following: “Having been both a rep and on the manufacturer’s side of the desk, … Read the rest

Getting Everything From the Cloud


As the year 1999 was drawing to a close, the world of technology was abuzz with various doomsday scenarios all related to the havoc about to be wreaked by Y2K. On an admittedly much smaller — and thankfully more positive — scale, today there appears to be a growing interest among “technophiles” in something called the cloud.

image of cloud computingCloud computing is defined in Wikipedia as “the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network (typically the … Read the rest

Complying with the Fair Labor Standard Act’s Overtime Requirements in a Hyper-Connected Workplace

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In a world in which computers and smart phones allow work to be performed at all times and in all locations, the concept of a 40‑hour workweek can often appear to be a relic of the past.

Perhaps that is the reason for the recent increase in claims and litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal law that requires an overtime premium to be paid once an employee works more than 40 hours in a week unless an exemption applies. The FLSA can be a surprisingly confusing law, with many factors that can transform seemingly exempt employees … Read the rest

Enough Money to Live to 100


No one knows how long he or she will live. Death is a mystery.

photoThe hardest part of retirement planning is calculating how many years we are going to live after we retire. As human beings, we don’t know how long the thread of our lives will be. It might be tomorrow or it might be more than 100 years. Still, we want to ensure that we will have enough money to last throughout our retirement.

What happens if we don’t? At best we become a burden to those we love in every way imaginable.

Most people who plan their … Read the rest