IGAGFT — More Powerful Than 100 Five‑Star Yelp Reviews

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Who says that social media ratings are crucial to your company’s success? Everybody says so, but the truth is more nuanced than what “everybody” says.

Yes, social media ratings are powerful testimonials. And not only am I a big fan of those sites, as you read on you’ll see I’m also a big fan of sharing the names of great service providers.

When MANA moved from California to Illinois we needed to hire a moving company. The low bidder’s online reviews were pretty much summed up by one writer who concluded “I have never been given the runaround so much by a company in my life.” Game over. NorthStar Moving Corporation had great Yelp reviews so I signed up with them and got spectacular service.

When a family member needed to be able to summon help from a neck pendant 24/7/365, I checked Angie’s List and found very reassuring reviews for Lifenet Alert Systems LLC. Jacques Aboaf was very knowledgeable about his product and extremely compassionate when a family member’s illness weighed heavily upon us.

But I would never look at online reviews for an auto mechanic or a plumber.

Why?

Because when the dealer who sold my father his car told Dad that he needed new struts to cure the squeak in his car, we got a second opinion from Mike Hynes at Hynes Auto Service. Mike’s diagnosis? A dab of grease on two parts that were rubbing together. Mike’s price? “For a dab of grease? No charge.”

Because when family members’ sewers back up Bob Connelly at North Town Sewer Service comes immediately and even gave my father an unsolicited senior discount after Bob had already performed the work.

I have no interest in online reviews for auto mechanics or plumbers, because I have a trusted relationship with Mike and Bob — the kind of consultative relationship many customers have with manufacturers’ representatives they’ve known and relied upon for decades.

That’s how a manufacturers’ representative can be more powerful than 100 five-star Yelp reviews. When I have a few successful transactions with a provider, I have no interest in the opinions of 100 sincere strangers on Yelp, because IGAGFT (I’ve Got A Guy For That or I’ve Got A Gal For That).

That’s the power of manufacturers’ representatives who have earned a trusted consultative relationship with their customers — and why those customers are not interested the opinions of strangers, even 100 of them, because with a manufacturers’ representative IGAGFT.

Jack of All Trades —
Master of Some!

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The adage of being a “Jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none” does not necessarily apply to independent manufacturers’ representatives. While the “business” end may require that we become “Jacks” of the many facets of running our agencies (such as HR, IT, accounting, engineering, healthcare, management, etc.), our “profession” requires that we are “masters” in the selling process.

Most of us got into the manufacturers’ representative business because we had a certain set of skills in selling that gave us the confidence not only to make a living in sales, but to make a career out of it. MANA understands this, and that’s why the … Read the rest

Building a Foundation for a Successful Career

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It’s always interesting to note the fairly circuitous routes various individuals have taken on their career paths to become independent manufacturers’ representatives. In years past Agency Sales has detailed how everyone from former professional athletes, teachers and even an FBI agent went on to carve out successful careers in independent sales. In hindsight, when looking at the course Mark Conley has followed to become President and CEO of O’Donnell Associates North, Inc., his initial steps into the waters of sales make perfect sense.

According to Conley, who heads the San Jose, California-based agency that serves the Northern California and North … Read the rest

Finding the Time and Place for Valuable Sales Training

Ask just about any independent manufacturers’ representative about the need for ongoing sales training and chances are everyone is a believer. The double-barreled problem is how to get it done and where to find the time.

According to agents who have already dipped their toes into such training — there is a way and there is time to get the job done. The way and time they refer to has been provided by Nicki Weiss, president of SalesWise, a long-time participant in the series of teleforums that have become a MANA training staple.

According to Weiss, “The challenge today is … Read the rest

Winning Strategies for Prospecting

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Right Prospects
Right Message
Right Attitude

If your organization is like a lot of sales organizations, you may have intensified prospecting efforts lately as old customers have downsized, cut spending, and, in some cases, switched to other suppliers. The problem is that prospecting is often time-consuming, costly, and hard on the morale of the sales team. Why? Look at some of the typical tips for successful prospecting:

  • “Schedule a minimum of two hours a day for phone calling.”
  • “Spend the first 30 minutes of each day making at least three calls.”

The idea is that if you make enough calls, … Read the rest

Why Customer Service Destroys Salespeople

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One position that has not been impacted by the economy is sales. Ask any CEO and you will hear that one of their biggest issues is finding and retaining good salespeople.

Something happened on the way to a sour economy: Too many companies learned the hard way that their salespeople didn’t know how to sell. Instead, their salespeople were good at taking orders and providing customer service. There is nothing wrong with this approach, as long as the marketplace is always going to serve up new customers and keep current customers in business. Does that kind of marketplace always exist? … Read the rest

The Little Stuff That Drives Customers Away

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With all the talk today about the need to create a great experience for customers, why are so many companies overwhelmed with a tidal wave of customer complaints?

Much of it is little, picky stuff; but small things get big in a customer’s mind, and the next thing you know, the customer is gone — for good. Spotting the little stuff that upsets customers is the first step. The next one is to do something about it.

Here are examples of little stuff that drive customers crazy — and away:

  1. “We Make It Easy for You” — For many customers,
  2. Read the rest

What Makes the Top Salespeople the Top Salespeople?

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While the answer to this question might seem obvious, the top sales success traits aren’t always that simple. After more than 27 years in the industry, I’ve seen lots of great salespeople and all of them always have the following traits.

Success Trait #1: Laser Focus on What’s Important

No matter what’s going on with the economy, in the industry, or in the world in general, top salespeople always hit their numbers. They always manage to make the calls, and ultimately, the sales that they need to make. This comes from the realization that, as a salesperson, only one thing … Read the rest

The Secret Strategy of Meaningful Sales Meetings

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Oops! Got a sales meeting coming up in two weeks, better get ready for it. Let’s see, what should we do? I’ll go over last month’s numbers, that’ll take a half hour. Then…I know! The credit manager has been complaining about the state of receivables lately. I’ll have him come in and complain directly to the sales guys. That’ll take about an hour. Now what…?

Does that scenario sound familiar? All too often that’s how we plan our sales meetings. The focus is on how to fill the time, what information we want to transmit, and who we want to … Read the rest

Keeping Agents Informed and Motivated

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When one manufacturer asked some of his non-competitive peers what they did to keep their independent manufacturers’ representatives informed and motivated one of them was quick to offer several suggestions she found to be especially worthwhile. Among the tips she offered were these:

  • Be even-handed with all agents — Be sure to not favor one over the other because of longer service, past performance or personality factors.
  • Training — Time and again agents have communicated their desire to have access to product knowledge and applications as aids in performing their jobs. Remember they already know how to sell; what they
  • Read the rest

Make Your E-Mails Stand Out From a Cluttered Inbox

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E-mails don’t have to be a shot in the dark. With these tips you’ll not only get your e-mails read, but they could lead to some business, too.

Sending e-mails is an integral part of selling in today’s world. But at a time when your prospects are receiving hundreds of e-mails every single day, it is easy for yours to get lost in the crowd.

What’s even more frustrating is, because this technique is relatively new in the realm of sales prospecting, up until now there has been very little data to show which prospecting e-mail techniques actually work.

But … Read the rest

Home-Field Advantage

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In sports, there is no doubt that home-field advantage is quite significant and can mean the difference between winning and losing. In the book, Scorecasting, by Professors Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim, statistics were compiled on the probability of winning when teams play at home. It recorded soccer having the largest average home advantage ranging from 60 to almost 70 percent. In basketball, the NBA teams win approximately 62 percent of their home games; in cricket, the NHL and rugby, home teams win about 60 percent of the time.

Although not a game to most litigants, litigation, … Read the rest

The Absolutes of Insurance for Reps

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Do you have a little voice in the back of your head saying “Insurance”?

Everyone knows that you have to have insurance, but what do you need? You want protection for yourself, your clients want protection for their business and your business needs protection, but how is that accomplished?

As a business owner I have found it best to simplify where possible. You should look at your insurance needs in much the same way as you look at a simple car insurance policy: Liability (protecting others), Uninsured Motorist (protecting you) and Comprehensive and Collision (protecting your vehicle).

This means that … Read the rest

Experienced Sales Representative Firm to Offer Metal Stamping Solutions to OEM Customers Throughout Five-State Upper Midwest Territory

Lake Air Metal Stamping, a global metal stamping company, today announced Josco Melius, Inc. as its new manufacturers’ sales representative to manage sales for the upper Midwest region. They will cover Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa and western Wisconsin.

Josco Melius aims to be the premier provider of sales and marketing services and representation to the highest quality manufacturers, all the while delivering the most innovative products available on the market to their customer base. “As we continue to execute against our corporate strategic plan, it is important to align ourselves with seasoned sales representative agencies that share our … Read the rest