Making the Short ListBy Charles Cohon
Getting “found” by manufacturers who need representation. It’s one of the benefits of membership that MANA representative members mention most.
But getting from being found to earning an interview takes time and savvy. So how do you make it from the manufacturer’s long “these firms might be possibilities” list to the short “we need to interview these firms” list?
When a manufacturer searches MANA’s RepFinder database, he or she might find five potential representative firms — or 100. When the list is long, how do manufacturers decide who makes it from the long list to the short list?
Some manufacturers have shared ways they narrow down their long list. If you could put those manufacturers in a conference room, the discussion might sound like this:
“It’s interesting,” noted Sam. “Usually I have no problem finding enough reps in the RepFinder, but sometimes I find too many. When I start with a really long list, I have some rules of thumb I use to shorten the list.
“The first thing I do,” Sam continued, “is look at their websites and see if their other lines are complementary to our product. Reps that don’t have a website are the first ones I cut from my list.”
“My rules of thumb include how they use e-mail addresses,” said Cindy. “Now, remember that when I hire a representative, I am usually placing several million dollars with that firm,” she added, “so I feel I have the right to be extra picky.
“One of my pet peeves is representatives whose MANA profile doesn’t have an actual person’s e-mail address. They just have firstname.lastname@example.org or info@
repcompany.com. When I send an e-mail, I want to know who I’m sending it to, so firms with generic addresses get the boot.
“And the same goes for firms that won’t invest $40 per year to have an e-mail address that matches their web domain,” Cindy continued. “They may be hanging onto their AOL account or Gmail account for a variety of good reasons, but if they don’t have an e-mail address like email@example.com, to me that’s a red flag.”
“Interesting that you mentioned red flags,” added Jim. “When I see a rep profile where the entire profile is in lower case, or has spelling errors, or lists their phone as 3125551212 instead of (312) 555-1212, that firm doesn’t make it to the short list.”
Are these rules arbitrary? Are they unfair? Perhaps. But since the cost to make these fixes ranges from free to $40, why not update your MANA member profile today to help your representative firm make it from the long list to the short list?