Defining i·de·al


© Jakub Krechowicz |

In recent issues of Agency Sales magazine reps shared how they define the ideal principal and principals shared how they define the ideal rep. What was the common theme from both? The bars that reps set for an ideal principal and that principals set for an ideal rep are higher than ever. It’s a great time to be a high-performance, ideal principal or a rep, but measuring up to those increasingly high standards is more challenging than ever before. And as those new challenges surface, many reps and principals turn to MANA resources to improve their skills and business practices.

The number-one resources MANA rep and principal members cite in their quest for self-improvement are MANA’s Agency Sales, the only monthly business magazine that focuses on crucial topics facing reps and principals, and its companion, MANA’s monthly iToolbox electronic newsletter.

MANA members also take advantage of free regional seminars like those MANA scheduled this year in Fort Worth, Texas; Atlantic City, New Jersey and Las Vegas, Nevada.

And for those cases where individual help on a particular topic is needed, MANA members also take advantage of business telephone counseling with MANA’s staff or legal telephone counseling with attorneys who offer MANA members up to an hour of time no-charge as a benefit of MANA membership.

But MANA reps and principals don’t just set the bar higher for each other; they also set the bar higher for MANA. So MANA is stepping up to meet member expectations with exciting new programs for reps and manufacturers that will be announced before the end of this year.

One change that is visible in this month’s issue of Agency Sales magazine is a new Board of Directors structure that will make the board more nimble and effective, based on recommendations from the American Society of Association Executives book Race for Relevance.

“The change to a five-member, competency-based board comes first. Tackling the remaining changes will be far less formidable and the prospects of success go up by a factor of 100 with a small, carefully selected board….Your best argument for the five-member board is that it exists today, de facto. Almost all associations, regardless of board size, really operate at the direction of an executive committee or group of officers,” explain the authors.

In this issue of Agency Sales magazine the listing of Board members drops from 10 members to eight. David Ice and Ed Reese will be missed on the board for their wise counsel, but with their two terms of office completed, MANA takes this opportunity to move toward the board described in Race for Relevance. For more about the structural changes that will make us a better association, read the Race for Relevance synopsis at And thank you for holding MANA to high standards; we look forward to meeting that challenge.

How Manufacturers’ Agents and Manufacturers Learn to Become “Ideal” Partners


This Agency Sales issue focuses on how manufacturers’ agents and manufacturers learn to become “ideal” partners with each other.

First, let me answer the question, “Why does that matter?”

Manufacturers’ agents want to represent the highest quality principals willing to work with them. To them, the “ideal” principal equals a quality principal. The higher quality the principals they represent, the more “ideal” and the more they sell and the more successful the business becomes.

Manufacturers want to sign up the most professional manufacturers’ agent willing to work with them. To them, the “ideal” manufacturers’ agent equals a highly professional manufacturers’ … Read the rest

A Successful Triple Play Meets the Needs of Reps, Principals and Customers


Communication, training and education make up three corners of a triple play which — if successfully executed — will give the independent rep a valued relationship with their principal, architect and purchaser.

That view is supported by consultant Bob Cangemi, president of Straight Up Consulting, Washington, New Jersey.

Straight Up Consulting ( specializes in sales training and procedures designed specifically for domestic and international manufacturers of commercial building products. The firm’s clients are those who are unsure how to implement in-house sales protocols so the entire office staff is aware of how the selling process works for their organization. It … Read the rest

MANA Products and Services Assist Ideal Rep and Manufacturer


In MANA’s LinkedIn discussion group, consultant Bob Cangemi points to the association as the ideal source for members to get problems solved, questions answered. And in an interview with Agency Sales, a portion of which appears in this month’s issue, he continues to cite MANA as a valuable resource for reps and manufacturers who are aspiring to place themselves in that “ideal” marketing partner category.

There are a number of resources that are available to MANA members that not only allow them to perform their jobs better, but to also improve relationships between reps and manufacturers.

MANA Website

Travel to … Read the rest

Top Considerations When Hiring Manufacturers’ Reps


Outsource your sales force? Why not? You already outsource your legal and accounting work, and you may also outsource bookkeeping, human resources, and other vital elements of your business. And the reason to outsource your sales force is the same as the reason to outsource those other functions — it’s a cost-effective way to leverage expertise that you could not afford on a full-time basis. Manufacturers’ reps are not just experts on your product; they also are experts in their local market area. And, unlike a direct employee who may be looking for the bigger paycheck that comes with being Read the rest

Examining the Top Sales Myths


As someone who has been in sales for more than 24 years, and now as a sales trainer, speaker and coach, I continually hear debate over the following sales myths. In this article I will expose and throw light on these top sales fairytales.

Debunking The Top Sales Myths

Sales Myth #1: Sales is NOT a Numbers Game

The more people you talk to, the more business you will do; even a blind squirrel finds a nut if it keeps looking. Granted, you want quality behind the numbers and, depending upon your business, it may be helpful to conduct some … Read the rest

Why Marketing Goes Wrong So Often (and what to do about it)


Marketing is a mystery — at least that’s the way it seems when compared with just about every other company function. There’s plenty of talk about “marketing,” but efforts to nail it down, specifically, usually end in an uncomfortable silence. It makes the point that it’s difficult to get your arms around marketing.

There are more “marketing geniuses” floating around than anyone can count. Everyone has an opinion as to what’s needed, what works and what doesn’t.

And whatever marketing activities a company implements, there will always be those who rush forward with criticisms and complaints.

Such turmoil may help … Read the rest

Keys For Adapting To Any Career Change


Whether you work for yourself or are employed in an organization, one thing is for certain: at some point your career will change. It could be a gradual change, such as a job or industry slowly evolving or phasing out; or it could be a sudden change, such as the Board of Directors mandating a reduction in staff immediately. Regardless of the exact scenario, the key trait that will enable you to reposition yourself and thrive after a career setback is your ability to embrace adaptation.

Unfortunately, many people lack a belief in their ability to adapt. As such, they … Read the rest

Pump Up the Volume — Create the Soundtrack of Your Sales Career


All salespeople know that making a sale involves much more than a simple conversation with a prospect. In fact, the number of things the average salesperson has to do to close a deal can be staggering. There’s prospecting, information —gathering, research, cold and warm calling, sending emails and traditional marketing materials, doing pitches and demos, performing follow-up, and a host of other activities. As a result, it’s easy for salespeople to get burned out and unmotivated.

But success in any type of sales environment depends on having the proper mindset, and that includes being motivated, inspired, educated, and pumped up … Read the rest

The Oft-Neglected APPROACH

By and

Professionalism and Practice
Personality Profiling

In sales training and sales courses the “approach” is often glossed over or not given its just due. We have discovered in training that when sales presentations are made the approach is passed over and people move too quickly to the needs assessment and presentation. If the approach is not executed properly, the rest of the sales presentation can be in vain. We must get off to a good start. We have broken down the approach into an easy to remember … Read the rest

Tips For Creating a Commission Structure


Existing and prospective members of MANA are never alone. One of the best examples of this is the conversations and exchanges of ideas that take place on the MANA LinkedIn discussion page. For instance, when a manufacturer recently asked how to structure rep commission payments, there was no shortage of suggestions in response.

Here’s how the manufacturer posed her dilemma: “I’m looking to add an independent sales rep to market our OEM equipment. Where can I find information on how to structure commissions and the sales rep agreement? An average sale could be around $250K. I don’t have a direction … Read the rest

The Breadth and Depth of Social Media Marketing


How to Maximize the Benefits of Your Online Campaign

Janet is a savvy small-business owner. She successfully navigated her way through the recession and is enjoying steady growth. She’s well-versed on her clientele and knows their individual likes and dislikes. She knows who her competition is and what they’re up to. She keeps up with trends, so she has a Facebook profile and a Twitter handle. So, why has she seen a marked increase in the growth of her competitors’ business and not her own? When she hears people speak of her product, why do they associate it with her … Read the rest

What Happens When Your Principal Files For Bankruptcy


All too often attorneys get inquiries from sales reps who have just received notice that one of their principals has filed for bankruptcy.

Invariably, their first question is whether they will get paid the commissions owed to them. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer, for bankruptcy cases involve many variables and technical issues that are controlled by the voluminous United States Bankruptcy Code (referred to in this article as the “Code”), which is subject to judicial interpretation and enforcement by the United States Bankruptcy Courts. As such, before answering that or any other of the rep’s questions, an attorney first … Read the rest

Two Beers, One Napkin and a 401(k)


What would you do if you found out your investment was earning less than one percent a year? Would you review your investment and make some changes or would you take a “wait-and-see” position?

The reality is that lots of good folks are sitting idly while their retirement plans wallow. The tragedy is that a good portion of these folks aren’t even aware of just how badly their plans are performing, or even worse, that they have the ability to alter their plans with some basic information.

Here’s a discussion I had recently with a close friend that proves my … Read the rest

MANA Board of Directors News

Congratulations Greg Bruno on Re‑Election to a Second Term

One District Director position was up for election for the three-year term beginning May 1, 2013. This director will cover the following states: DE, DC, MD, NJ, PA, VA, WV.

Nominations to run for District Director were sought last year and the election ballots were sent in January. The ballots have been received and we are pleased to announce that Greg Bruno has been re-elected to serve on the MANA Board of Directors.

photo of Greg BrunoGreg Bruno, Director for DE, DC, MD, NJ, PA, VA, WV, has been a MANA member since 1983 … Read the rest