I Don’t Know Who You AreBy Charles Cohon
I don’t know who you are.
I don’t know your company.
I don’t know your company’s product….
Now — what was it you wanted to sell me?
“Man in the Chair” ad, 1958
I don’t know what a rep is.
I don’t know what services you provide.
I don’t know how your firm adds value.
Now — why should we keep sending you commission checks?
Recent Business School Graduate
Just hired as a key executive at your most important principal
Why do MANA and other manufacturers’ representatives associations reach out to business schools? Because someday the graduates of those business schools will be recruited to become the regional sales managers, sales managers, sales vice-presidents, or even presidents of the companies our members represent.
What happens if those recent business school graduates show up for their first day of work without already knowing what a manufacturers’ representative is and the value we add to their companies? That manufacturing company’s representatives risk ending up as collateral damage when these uninformed executives’ learning curves include ill-advised decisions to cut commission rates, take house accounts, or move to a direct sales forces.
Who suffers when business schools graduate students who don’t understand manufacturers’ representatives? Everybody suffers!
Manufacturers’ representatives suffer when principal relationships sour and commissions fall.
Customers suffer when a manufacturer’s new policies impair customers’ ability to access the manufacturers’ representative expertise they’d come to rely upon.
Manufacturers suffer when disgruntled customers defect to new suppliers.
That’s why I spoke at Harvard Business School in October, at Columbia Business School in April, and maintain close ties to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’ Entrepreneurial Selling course. (Video of the Harvard presentation is online at www.bit.ly/MANA_HBS.)
Are you ready to join us in getting out the word about manufacturers’ representatives? Then help us reach out to academia! Contact your alma mater and offer to speak to a business class, or introduce us to key academics and we’ll schedule a MANA presentation there. Let us know how we can help!