Saving the Earth — One Sales Call at a Time


© 9comeback |

We all know the business reasons to sell through multi-line manufacturers’ reps. Things like these:

  • Reps are known and trusted resources for customers in their local territories.
  • Reps help manufacturers avoid fixed costs, like salaries and benefits, of direct salespeople.
  • Reps tend to remain in their territories and work with the same customers for decades, while direct salespeople tend to relocate every few years.

But here’s a new reason to sell through reps: Multi-line reps are fantastic for the environment!

Let me explain. Multi-line reps tend to cover two to three manufacturers’ products during each sales call. If separate direct single-line salespeople had to be sent to call on those same customers to cover the same topics, it would take two to three times the number of single-line salespeople, each working for a single manufacturer and driving their own vehicle.

What happens if twice the number of salespeople and twice the number of vehicles make those same sales calls? If the average salesperson drives 50,000 miles annually, then every time one multi-line rep is replaced by two single-line direct salespeople, it means an extra 50,000 vehicle miles.

The average passenger vehicle emits 404 grams CO2 per mile.1 So, 50,000 extra vehicle miles means 20,200 kilograms more CO2 in the atmosphere annually.

But there is more! Single-line direct salespeople tend to fly more air miles than multi-line reps, perhaps 20,000 miles a year. So, the two single-line direct salespeople in our example would also add 40,000 air miles that would not be flown by multi-line reps. The average commercial airliner emits 184 grams of CO2 per passenger mile,2 so that’s 7,360 additional kilograms of CO2 emissions.

Total environmental impact: 27,560 kilograms of CO2 emissions. That’s 60,760 pounds. Roughly 30 tons. About the same as losing 12 acres of new forest.3

So, selling through reps is not just fiscally responsible, it’s environmentally responsible too! Why would you go to market any other way?


Don’t Forget to Sell to Inside Staff


We have all been there — it’s 1:30 p.m., the car is hot, the A/C still cooling down the sweltering interior. The taste of a wolfed-down lunch lingers as you growl at Siri or Google to please dial the correct number. It is Thursday, the customer from this morning’s call is irritated because their shipment is late, and you have approximately 10 minutes to call the factory and try to resolve the late shipment before your 1:45 p.m. conference call which you will take while driving to your next appointment (for which you are already running late due to the … Read the rest

Reps in the People‑Saving Business


Years ago in the pages of Agency Sales magazine, a MANA member reiterated the oft-repeated simplistic view of what independent manufacturers’ reps do for a living: “Many people believe reps just make sales calls and follow up.” At that time, by describing the full range of products and services his agency provided, thankfully he went on to illustrate how wrong that description is.

While that rep did a good job of making his case, the three principals of Sales Solutions, Inc., have gone several steps further as they describe their initial attraction to the rep profession and how today they … Read the rest

Understanding the Rep’s and Manufacturer’s Role


Manufacturers and their networks of outsourced sales professionals (i.e., independent manufacturers’ representatives) don’t agree on everything. One area where they’ve found common ground, however, is the potential for friction between manufacturers’ inside support staff and the reps working in the field.

Manufacturers and reps interviewed by Agency Sales for this article point to several causes for the potential existence of friction including these:

  • Lack of understanding of each other’s role.
  • Lack of appreciation for the role each performs.
  • Failures in communication.
  • Existence of pre-conceived notions.
  • Perception that each side should be doing more.
  • Lack of a personal connection.

The marketing … Read the rest

Think Like a Customer or Lose the Sale


“Don’t fall into the trap of thinking like a customer. If you do, you’re done!” This warning has been pounded into the heads of salespeople — and it will follow them until their last day on the job.

Changing the Sales Narrative

Why is thinking like a customer dangerous? It’s the noxious notion that leads down the dark and dismal path to serious trouble — lost sales. If you dare to let yourself think like customers, you may be distracted from your mission and become overly understanding and sympathetic, even finding yourself walking in a customer’s shoes.

Yet, successful salespeople … Read the rest

Letter to the Editor

Responding to an e-mail congratulating him on 17 years of MANA membership, rep member Stephen Maier writes:

Mr. Cohon,

Thank you for your kind words, and thanks to you and MANA I was able to retire July 1st. It would not have been possible without the support of your fine organization.

Thank you once again.

Stephen G. Maier
S G M Reps
Jefferson City, MO… Read the rest

Add-On Sales


There is a reason why McDonald’s continues to enjoy such huge revenues. Could it be that there are more than 31,000 McDonald’s restaurants around the world in 118 countries? That is partly the reason; however, I believe the fact that they sell nine million pounds of their delicious French fries per day is an even more important element.

What they really do well is ask, “Would you like fries with that?” McDonald’s worldwide excels at add-on sales. I realize that others have also gotten on the “add-on sales” bandwagon, yet McDonald’s consistently performs year after year.

What Would it Take?Read the rest

If We Fail to Learn, We Fail to Grow


“If you are not willing to learn no one can help you. If you are determined to learn no one can stop you.” — Zig Ziglar

I believe that learning is the fundamental activity in a successful and purposeful life. I have spent much time and money since 1979 learning about everything related to customer service. The result has led me to position myself as the leading service strategist and expert in the world. I have been given endless opportunities to learn, and I realize that the more difficult the situation, the more likely I am to learn and take … Read the rest

The Sales Force — Working With Reps


This is the 12th in a number of articles serializing The Sales Force — Working With Reps by Charles Cohon, MANA’s president and CEO. The entire book may be found in the member area of MANA’s website.

With the economy strong, Troothe and Bigglie continued to jockey for position in the flange market. Troothe’s sales force continued to improve at Bigglie’s expense, but so slowly that Harold and Jim sometimes needed to remind each other of the strengths of their management system. As it turned out, it was at a meeting called by Joe Troothe during a slump in the … Read the rest

How to Turn Influencers Into Your Champions


Does your company have raving fans?

The term “raving fans” has become part of the business lexicon ever since Random House released a book called Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles 15 years ago. The book was intended to help companies improve their customer service. The authors’ central message was that you need to go above and beyond, because “satisfied customers just aren’t good enough.”

That book is part of a breadth of publications designed to help companies and individual professionals do a better job of pleasing customers. In fact, we often hear executives spurring their employees to … Read the rest

How Top Salespeople Anticipate and Manage Resistance


Earlier this year Tom Hopkins shared a post on LinkedIn that resembled what I have said so many times. He said, “The art of selling involves two jobs: job one is to reduce sales resistance, and the other is to increase sales acceptance.”

Many readers left comments about the importance of relationships as a means to preventing resistance from going up.

I left a comment that said, “Thanks Tom. Most salespeople fail to lower resistance because they lack the self-awareness to understand what it is that they might say or do, or how they might act that would raise resistance … Read the rest

How Many Hours per Week = Sales Success?


Recently I was speaking with an agency owner about the lack of success of his two most recent hires.

When I asked how many hours they were putting in, the answer was, “About 45 or 50 per week.” Keep in mind, these agents are in their 20s, are new to the industry and relatively new to sales. In other words, not only do they have to spend time learning about an industry they know next to nothing about, they also have to learn how to sell, in addition to learning the ins and outs of the new company they work … Read the rest

Numbers Don’t Spell Success


The question of how many agencies a manufacturer should have working for him in the field was raised during a roundtable discussion among manufacturers earlier this year. One manufacturer noted, “The real question shouldn’t be how many agencies you need, but how should the territories you want covered be created?

“It’s not unusual that agent territories that companies wind up with bear little resemblance to the territories the manufacturer had when they were working with a direct sales force. The typical rep has several people out in the field and they usually cover a much larger territory than the single … Read the rest

The Secret to Winning Long-Term in Building Relationships


There is an important ingredient you can use in building lasting relationships. Many people talk about building relationships in business, but they often focus more on a transactional nature. This is short-sighted and doesn’t bring about the best results.

We have to plan for what is coming long before it arrives. This time-honored Aesop Fable about the “Wild Boar and the Fox” illustrates the point.

wild boarThe Wild Boar and the Fox

A Wild Boar was sharpening his tusks busily against the stump of a tree, when a Fox happened by. Now the Fox was always looking for a chance to … Read the rest

Sales Reps Should Think About the End at the Beginning

By and

When sales reps enter into a new contract with a principal, they’re understandably most focused on what’s happening right now:

  • Will it be an exclusive?
  • What will the territory be?
  • What will the carve-outs be?
  • What will the commission rates be?

Few sales reps focus on what will happen when the relationship will end. And make no mistake, it will end — the question is when and what will happen when it does.

Fast forward some years, when some of the excitement of the new relationship has subsided. You’ve spent huge amounts of time, money and resources to develop sales … Read the rest