Content is King

photo of woman holding food samples

© Gabriel Blaj |

This issue of Agency Sales magazine discusses rep best practices for social media. One way to learn the rules of social media is to visit a high-end supermarket on a Saturday morning. Cheerful folk will greet you with free bite-sized samples of the store’s tastiest products, and although the products you sampled are strategically placed to encourage your impulse purchases, the sample almost never comes with a sales pitch.

Why give out free samples? Because the more people try an appealing product, the more people will buy it.

Why no sales pitch? Because a sales pitch accompanying the samples in aisle #1 will prompt customers to scurry past the samples in aisle #2 in order to avoid the sales pitch expected to accompany those samples. And the fewer people who try, the fewer people will buy. So a hard-core sales pitch in aisle #1 undermines the sampling program in every other aisle in the store.

That’s a lesson you can translate into social media success. Social media is all about content, and you have to give free, tasty samples of your content to tantalize customers into buying more of your content or product. And your social media campaign has to be like the cheerful supermarket folk — no sales pitches allowed. Social media is all about tasty samples that entice a customer to learn more about your product, never a hard sell.

And while we’re talking about content, this issue of Agency Sales also features details about the content-rich Association of Independent Manufacturers’ Reps (AIM/R) conference in Boston, September 19-22, 2012, which includes (at press time) seminars such as:

  • Strategies for Difficult Territories
  • Introduction to Rep Contracts
  • Rep Profiles
  • Legacy to Leader
  • Private Equity — Friend or Foe
  • The Future of the Manufacturer/Wholesaler/Rep Relationship
  • Utilizing the American Supply Association Educational Foundation Employee Training Program at Your Firm
  • The Rep Entrepreneur
  • Rep B2B Marketing & Social Media Strategy
  • Make Sure Your Customer Service Isn’t a Joke!
  • 12 Talents of a Game-Changing Leader
  • Adding Tablet Computers & “The Cloud” to Your Agency
  • Succession Planning — A Blueprint For Rep Ownership Transitions
  • Keynote Jeffrey Dietrich from the Institute for Trend Research: Make Your Move!

So whether it’s a social media campaign or a rep conference, learn a lesson from high-end supermarkets and AIM/R: “Content is King,” and paying close attention to great content will be the key to your success.

A Whole New Way of Reaching Customers


Hey, did you hear about Melissa? Isn’t that great about Mike’s son, and what about Jessica’s new job? Oh, that’s right — you’re not into Facebook. That’s OK, your appointment is in six weeks — you can get caught up then.

Do you really want to be that far behind the activity that’s happening right now? Can you afford to be totally in the dark when it comes to your client’s life? Think back — you used to go to a customer’s office, look around the room and see framed pictures of kids, spouse, vacations — and thankfully those photos … Read the rest

Social Media: Is It Right For You?


Peruse the media and listen to business peers and a hot topic today is the proliferation of social media. Is it useful or beneficial to business or simply a waste of time? Or, is its true value to be found somewhere in between? What follows in this and other articles is a sharing of views on the subject. It would appear that while social media isn’t for everyone, those savvy enough to make it work for them and their businesses have found another useful tool to complement those tools they’ve successfully put to work in the past.

Let’s begin with … Read the rest

How Small Business Can Benefit From Social Media/Networking Sites


I want to describe some of the benefits social media sites are providing for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Some of the most popular sites include Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn and YouTube. However, it does not stop there, as the list of sites is nearly endless with new ones coming on board all the time. Even eBay and Netflix have jumped on the social media bandwagon, allowing users to create social media profiles within their accounts. It probably won’t be too long before every site has some sort of social media or networking aspect built into it. This leads to the

Read the rest

Clean Up Your Social Media Profile


Simple Steps to Make Social Media Work for You

Keeping social media clean and tidy will help make social media work for you. Don’t let the weeds grow too long in your social media profile and certainly don’t keep your audience waiting. Keep them engaged and you may be surprised as to the real effect social media can have for you and your organization.

Let’s talk about your social media profile. Do you have old information, job history, photos, and posts? It’s time for a cleaning.

Go through your e-mails and add the names of contacts to your social media.Read the rest

Properly Using Social Networking Sites


This article is reprinted with permission from TechRepublic (

Social networking tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, Windows Live, and Google Buzz, are great for keeping in touch with friends and family and having fun. Once banned from the business world, they are now being allowed or even embraced on many company networks. Some employees use social networking as a quick break from work. Studies have shown that taking short breaks can make workers more productive, and hopping over to your Facebook page for five minutes to check friends’ activities can be a quick and efficient way to “get away” mentally,

Read the rest

Diving into Social Media


In an article that appeared in the spring/summer issue of COMtalk, a publication for parents and friends of Boston University’s College of Communication, the author advises social media users to gain an understanding of the strategy behind social media. She notes that most people are familiar with updating a Facebook status or sending out a rogue tweet, but not all feel comfortable interacting strategically as an individual or brand. If you’re looking to beef up social media skills, she recommends the following steps.

Know the Unspoken Rules

Each social network has its own personality and community rules. This is not … Read the rest

Facebook and Your Business: The Anatomy of an Effective Facebook Post


An effective Facebook strategy for your business — one that achieves your goals of education, engagement, lead generation or feedback, requires thoughtful planning. Cover and profile photos, tabs and favorite apps, milestones and more must all be considered in order to maximize all that Facebook’s new Timeline layout offers.

Below are seven things to think about when crafting that perfect “post.”


I’ll state the obvious here: your company Facebook page is not your personal page! Depending on your personal Facebook usage this can mean a lot of things: post with more restraint, post more frequently, keep in mind a … Read the rest

Guide to Understanding the Sales Rep-Manufacturer Relationship


This is the second of three installments of a Small Business Guide to help manufacturers and sales representatives understand each other better, so that their relationship is not adversarial — as it is in many instances. Part one appeared in the July issue of Agency Sales magazine. Both parties need each other and a mutual understanding should create a positive partnership that will yield more profits for each, while extending the duration of their relationship.

Part three will appear in the September issues of Agency Sales magazine. A link to this complete e-book may be found on MANA’s website:… Read the rest

Getting People To Perform Differently


Lunch was far more than a relaxing break. The conversations were all about Joe’s inner voice e-mail and their own elephant training experiences.

Some began to realize that their inner voice was in fact their own stake in the ground that was holding them back from being the leaders they wanted to be. It was also dawning on them how difficult it would be to do business with a company of trained elephants chained to the stakes of more efficiency — more profit, more market share, more, more, more and “er.” The world is changing at an incredible pace and … Read the rest

AIM/R — Where Reps Go To Succeed


All the mission and vision statements in the world do a great job of profiling an association’s purpose and direction. But, perhaps there’s nothing better than anecdotal evidence that truly proves the worth of an association — and that certainly appears to be the case with The Association of Independent Manufacturers’/Representatives, Inc. (AIM/R). AIM/R is the trade association of independent sales representatives in the plumbing, HVAC/R, kitchen/bath, waterworks, irrigation and related industries. AIM/R members are the top agencies in the industry and current membership numbers 197 agencies and 54 manufacturers.

Consider for a moment Brian Burke’s real-world experience that illustrates … Read the rest

The “Re-Shoring” Movement: Why Manufacturing is Returning to America


The following article appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of The Representator. It is reprinted here with the permission of ERA and that publication.

As Clint Eastwood predicted in his often-replayed Super Bowl commercial, American manufacturing’s “second half” indeed appears to have begun. The Federal Reserve Board reports that, while still running slightly below its December 2007 peak, U.S. factory output has risen 16.7 percent since the recession’s lowest point in June 2009. Manufacturing job creation is outpacing other employment sectors, and the Department of Labor says factory wages are healthy, with new manufacturing jobs spurring more consumer spending than … Read the rest

Why Your Organization Needs An Adaptive Website


We are currently in the midst of one the biggest software and hardware revolutions we’ve ever witnessed. With processing power, storage, and bandwidth increasing exponentially, smart phones and smart tablets are quickly becoming our main personal and business computer. Customers, employees, and other stakeholders are bringing and using their smart phones and tablets everywhere, and that definitely impacts how they see and interact with your company online.

For organizations of all sizes, this means it’s time to take a good look at your website. Sure, your site might look great on a desktop or laptop computer screen. But how does … Read the rest

Arbitration Provisions In Domestic Contracts


photoThe art of negotiating a contract between a principal and an independent manufacturers’ representative is wholly dependent upon the deal being made. There are several important provisions contained in written agreements between a principal and a manufacturers’ rep, and each provision must be carefully considered.

One often misunderstood provision is the inclusion of an agreement to arbitration in lieu of using the court system to resolve disputes. Parties may incorrectly believe that arbitration is an inexpensive way to resolve matters and are often unaware that arbitration can be equally time-intensive. Unless the parties agree otherwise, in arbitration, the ability to … Read the rest

Ways to Sabotage Your Portfolio


image of bombPsst! Want to lose a lot of money?

While there are no foolproof ways to accurately predict the market, there are several foolish ways in which investors can successfully subvert their portfolios and reap big losses. Here are several examples of how unknowing investors can unwittingly sabotage an investment portfolio.

Neglect the Driving Force Behind Any Business: Supply and Demand

Business success (or lack thereof) boils down to two simple words — Supply and Demand. It’s that simple. It doesn’t matter whether you are talking about the oil market, iPods, golf courses, lemonade stands, or the stock market. Simply put, … Read the rest