“Reps Keep Ghosting Me — I Give Up,” Says Manufacturer


“Based on my recent experiences, common courtesy is not common practice with reps,” said the manufacturer. “And, frankly, the absence of basic common courtesy gives the entire rep industry a black eye.”

image of a question

© Texelart | stock.adobe.com

Is this manufacturer right? Let me share his story, and you be the judge.

This manufacturer joined MANA with high hopes of partnering with reps, and he embraced the idea of a win-win relationship. And MANA has at least 200 rep members in this manufacturer’s market space, so it’s likely that right rep is among our members.

“We tried all different ways to contact prospective reps. We tried email. We tried phone calls. We tried contacting them through their websites’ ‘contact me’ pages.

“We finally reached a few, and they were very personable, knowledgeable and helpful. But, overwhelmingly, we were just ignored.

“Any response at all would have been fine. ‘Not a fit for my line card,’ or ‘I have a competing line,’ or even just ‘I am not interested.’ But, with only a few exceptions, I got nothing. Radio silence. Zero.”

“If reps can’t respond when we reach out to them — even with ‘no thanks’ — then how can I trust that if they had our line that they would not ignore customers or prospects the same way they ignored us?

As reps, we are a community, and the actions of each of us impact all of us. Even if we are not interested in a line, there is probably a rep somewhere who would love to have that line. Taking a moment to respond to each manufacturer’s inquiry can go a long way to encourage that manufacturer to keep searching MANA’s RepFinder® for the right rep.

Let’s find time to say “no thank you” to manufacturers who don’t fit our line cards but could be a great line for another member of the rep community.

Note: The manufacturer’s comments were edited for space, clarity and content.

Tips to Improve Your Online Presentation Skills


As the restrictions related to COVID-19 begin to lift, I would imagine many of us are eager to begin meeting our customers face‑to‑face.

Zoom calls have become the norm, and perhaps many of us can’t wait until this is no longer our only means of communicating with our clients. Given the financial strain many companies are experiencing, however, it is possible that this dream of a zoom-less world is not realistic. So given this, I decided to do some research to learn how to improve my online presentation skills.

As with any presentation, whether it is in person or virtual, … Read the rest

Rep Councils — The Perfect Communication Tool


If comments from reps and manufacturers who participated in a series of MANAchats were any indication of the effectiveness of rep councils, all manufacturers have to do is to ask their reps to participate and reps will readily accept the invitation. Attesting to the importance of a manufacturer having a rep council, one rep offered the opinion that “If I was interviewing for a line, one of the most important questions I’d want an answer to is whether they have a rep council. If they do, then that’s a very strong signal that that’s the kind of company that wants

Read the rest

A Rep Council Checklist


While the previous article describes what transpired earlier this year during the course of a three-day MANAchat devoted to the subject of rep councils, what follows can serve as a primer or checklist to consider when approaching the rep council from either the manufacturer or rep point of view.

✔ Communicating Goals

At the outset, to ensure that your plans for operating a rep council don’t proceed in a vacuum, it’s critical to communicate.

Communicate with every person who will be involved with the operation of the council. As to what you’re going to communicate, start with the goals you … Read the rest

From Coal Mining to Sales


Over the years Agency Sales has reported on many individuals who have made the leap from any number of professions to become independent manufacturers’ representatives. Former teachers, professional baseball, basketball players, golfers, nurses, and even an FBI agent have detailed their changes in profession.

This brings us to Rich Deering, who early in his career worked as a coal miner. Today Deering heads Industrial Sales Associates, Inc., (ISA) in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition to MANA, ISA is a member of the Power-Motion Technology Representative Association (PTRA).

The agency’s website acquaints visitors with the fact that as an independent manufacturers’ representative, … Read the rest

Reps Are Manufacturers’ Eyes and Ears


Does your rep firm deliver?

The rep firm is an “outsourced salesforce.” Of course, delivering sales and earning commissions are basic. But what else is important to the manufacturers that are represented by a rep firm?

In my mind, this presupposes that the people running the rep firm have a broad vision of their responsibilities, their value-added services, and products they “sell” to the manufacturer.

The rep is in the field at least four days a week. Reps see customers and communicate with customers constantly. The rep firm provides one or more “branch offices” for the manufacturer. This constant communication … Read the rest

The Importance of Having and Following a Sales Process


Sales isn’t rocket science. We’re not putting a man on the moon. Hundreds of millions of salespeople have gone before you and they’ve left clues on how to sell successfully. The key is to put those clues into a system that works, something you can follow again and again with predictable results. This system is a sales process.

Without a process, you leave everything to chance and you can’t identify what you’re doing wrong because you do it differently every time. There’s no consistency, there’s no benchmark, there’s nothing to compare to. If something goes wrong, you can’t look at … Read the rest

Creating and Understanding a Corporate Culture


Understanding corporate culture builds the necessary framework to create a thriving organization. It defines the attitudes and shared values needed for all employees to meet the company’s goals and vision. Without a firm grasp of your company’s corporate culture; well, your employees would operate like a football team without the season’s playbook.

Let’s take a look at the four types of corporate cultures that can positively shape your company.

What Is Corporate Culture and Why Is It Important?

First, let’s take a moment to define what culture is in the corporate setting. According to an article in the Harvard Business Read the rest

How to Stand Out Without Lowering Your Price


Selling yourself short?

Is what you do for a living perceived by potential customers as being a mere commodity; more or less the same as others in your profession? When that happens, customers revert to the easiest differentiator — price.

The outlook gets worse as you realize that somewhere in the global economy there is likely someone offering similar products or services for a cheaper price. And with the internet, it’s easier for your customers to find them. What’s most frustrating is when you know your products and services are indeed different, but customers don’t seem to get that and … Read the rest

ABC: Always Be Closing Is Now ABV: Always Bring Value


You’ve heard of ABC: Always Be Closing.

Let me tell you something: The days of ABC are gone. It’s closed. ABC is now ABV: Always Bring Value.

I want you to be thinking about this in every conversation you have. It is always about bringing value.

Let’s walk through the 10 things you need to be doing right now to be bringing value, because you will not be accomplishing this through ABC.

1. Ask More Questions

You create value by actually understanding what the customer is looking for. You understand what the customer is looking for not by telling them, … Read the rest

B2B Sales Myths: Great Relationships


The world is full of B2B salespeople who claim, quite proudly, to have great relationships with their customers. If that were true, it really would be great.

But unfortunately, “great relationships” is too often a veil that salespeople hide behind to keep from exposing the weakness in their sales skills.

Here’s How It Works

An experienced B2B salesperson believes that he or she has developed great relationships with customers. Therefore, he spends his time visiting these great customers and focusing on maintaining the relationship. He can’t really dig deeper into the motivations and needs of the customer because he’s never … Read the rest

Parting the Right Way


A rep contacted Agency Sales recently to relate how two manufacturers recently terminated him and several of his peers throughout the country.

According to the rep, “With the first manufacturer, a change in their sales management pointed them in the direction of going direct rather than staying with their rep network; we had heard of their decision early on via the industry grapevine. When we asked them about it during the year, they confirmed what we had heard. Instead of bailing immediately, we opted to stay with them without seeking an immediate replacement on our line card. We did that … Read the rest

The State of Social Selling Today


The Pew Research Center released the results of a survey on social media use in the United States, and the results are salient for anyone who uses social media for prospecting purposes. Here are some of the findings:

  • Approximately 81 percent of adults use YouTube, an 8 percent increase from the previous year.
  • Gender matters! — 46 percent of women use Pinterest, but only 16 percent of men are on it.
  • Age matters! — 50 percent of Americans over the age of 65 are on Facebook. Meanwhile, Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok are most heavily used by the 18-to-29 demographic.
  • Education
Read the rest

Beware of Principals Invoking Force Majeure to Avoid Paying COVID-19 Sales Commissions

By and

Demand for the sale of some products skyrocketed to record levels as a result of the unforeseen COVID-19 virus.

Manufacturers’ representatives who were fortunate to have product lines in PPE, medical equipment and other high demand Covid related products experienced significant spikes in their sales this past year. While increased sales should result in increased commissions, this was not always the case for some Covid related sales commissions. While most principals will continue to pay the earned commissions to their representatives, some may be tempted to invoke a force majeure clause contained in some sales commission agreements as a legal … Read the rest

Looking for a Way to Network With Fellow MANA Members?

The past year and a half saw a radical change in how we communicate with each other. As time goes on do not expect to go back to the way things used to be. Instead, look forward to new and improved ways to communicate with each other. In addition to person-to-person meetings, members will use a variety of online platforms, not only to build and strengthen customer relationships, but to network with fellow manufacturers’ representatives.

In the first decade of the 21st century, MANA members met through local chapter meetings, about two dozen scattered around the U.S. and even in … Read the rest