Give Back to the Rep Profession,
By Charles Cohon
Just 15 Minutes Per Month
It’s not an unlikely scenario.
There is a manufacturer out there whose products would be a great fit for your line card and is actively recruiting for a representative in your territory. He or she hasn’t found you yet, but you’re listed in MANA’s RepFinder, so it’s only a matter of time.
This principal chose a batch of candidates from the Repfinder, sent each brochures by postal mail, then followed up with an e-mail and a phone call. And received no responses.
After repeated attempts to contact other representatives and getting no responses whatsoever, the manufacturer abandons this search and you never connect.
Representatives often tell me how good this profession has been to them and ask me how they can “give back” to the profession that has served them so well.
Here’s a great way. When a manufacturer whose products would not fit your line card contacts you, take a few minutes to send a friendly reply to their e-mail or voice mail. Thank them for using the representative system of selling and encourage them to continue their search for a representative who would be a great fit for their products.
Give back to your profession by taking 15 minutes a month to help every manufacturer who reaches out to you to maintain their enthusiasm for the representative system of selling and continue their recruiting process, so we can keep them in the pool of companies that use manufacturers’ representatives. And eventually some other representative will give encouragement to the line you’d really like to have and that manufacturer won’t give up before finding you.
This editorial was prompted by an e-mail from Dragan Stevanovic, sales manager at Capital Industries.
“Our reason for joining MANA was to find manufacturers’ representatives to partner with our company to help us grow our business as well as their business. I was a member of MANA back in the ’90s when I had a rep agency. At that time, when a company reached out to you, you responded quickly to vet the offer and see if there is value in building such a relationship.
“From your member listing, we identified a number of companies in Indiana and the surrounding states, (18 matched our business). We sent them letters and e-mail overtures expressing our interest in pursuing such a business relationship. I cannot express enough my outright disappointment in the fact that not a single company of all those we reached out to bothered to respond in any way. I even reached out to a few companies and left messages for call backs. Still nothing!
“I’m sure that many members of MANA who are the manufacturer’s representatives are professional in how they work with all business opportunities. In any business environment, one always stakes out a professional way of doing business. I’m still amazed that those we reached out to were anything but professional.”