“I Need Help to Get Paid”


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It’s a common reason for reps to call MANA — but the reason this rep was not getting paid was not common. I’ll let the rep explain.

“My business model is not unusual,” said the rep. “I have a geographic territory with all my principals. I call on decision makers in my territory who decide what brand of products their company will use.

“If I am successful, those decision makers standardize on my principals’ products and buy them from one of the stocking distributors in my territory. I get paid commission on anything distributors in my territory buy, so it doesn’t matter to me which distributor the customers in my territory buy from.

“Except that many companies I convinced to use my principal’s products have been buying from distributors outside my territory lately. I did all the work, but the rep whose territory includes the remote distributor has been getting the commission.”

“My principal agrees that this is unfair but claims their hands are tied. What can I do?”

If the principal is serious about allocating commission fairly, there is a solution.

Your principal’s current commission model is called Point of Purchase (POP). The rep whose territory includes the distributor’s location gets the commission.

But there is another commission model. It’s called Point of Sale (POS).

In a POS commission model, the principal pays sales commission when the distributor sells the product to the distributor’s customer. The principal assigns sales commission to a rep based on the distributor’s customer’s location instead of the distributor’s location.

How does the principal know when a rep has earned a sales commission? The distributor provides a POS report to the principal, which may name the customer or may only list the customer’s zip code.

Is this an undue burden on the distributor? Probably not, because off-the-shelf distributor software often includes this functionality. Is this an undue burden on the principal? No, because the principal still only pays the commission once, based on which rep really earned the sale.

And everyone benefits when the rep doing a great job never has to say, “I need help to get paid.”

Note: The rep’s comments have been edited for length and clarity.

Choosing an Automated Email‑Marketing Platform


Edited by Stephanie Bray

Maybe it’s “third time lucky,” but this editorial, I knew what we were going to write about. Possibly because back in 2020, we told you: “Next up? Evaluating the automated email-marketing platform that directly integrates with our new CRM to streamline our efforts.” Well, we not only evaluated it — we committed to it!

Any manufacturers’ rep worth their salt knows that keeping in touch with customers and prospects is critical. Things change all the time, and if you don’t stay on their radar, you miss opportunities when those changes happen. But how in the world … Read the rest

Relationships Key to Rep Career


Establishing and maintaining relationships were the ultimate magnets that attracted Marilyn Kahler to a career as an independent manufacturers’ rep. That was 36 years ago and according to Kahler, the attraction is the same today as it was back then.

Today Kahler heads Tri‑Fab Solutions, headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Opened in 1973, Tri‑Fab Solutions was founded by Ron Shinn as a company to supply custom mechanical components to a wide range of industries throughout Arizona. With the expansion of maquiladoras in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, Tri‑Fab Solutions was one of the first representative firms to help secure product for OEMs in … Read the rest

One Can Be the Loneliest Number


It was unavoidable that the words to the 1968 song “One is the loneliest number” came to mind during a MANA special interest group teleconference earlier this year devoted to the concerns and problems faced by single-person rep agencies.

As the words to the song go:

“One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.
Two can be as bad as one.
It’s the loneliest number since the number one.”

Owners of single-person rep firms are faced with the daunting task of doing everything themselves, whether it’s strategic planning, searching for prospective principals, travel and entertainment related to selling to … Read the rest

Knowing More About Each Important Customer Is Vital


Knowledge is power. In the rep business knowledge is many faceted. The rep needs to gather knowledge about the best customers and have it organized for current and future use.

What Kind of Operation?

What is the customer’s business all about? How does the customer approach the market? What do the customer’s customers think of the company selling to them? What do their employees think of them? What do customers think of this individual salesperson and the firm that this salesperson represents?

Self-evaluation is critical to this in-depth penetration of the customer. The salesperson and the sales manager need to … Read the rest

Why Your Sales Numbers Aren’t Good


I belong to a workout group called Battle Ready. Basically, it’s everything you want to know about working out, weight management, etc. It’s run by Erin Alejandrino. We have a couple of group calls every week, and a recent one tied into sales.
The first five reasons for poor results in workouts, weight goals, and overall health were also the same reasons that some salespeople’s sales results are poor. Here are the five.

Reason #1: A Lack of Activity

I’ve said it many times, the number-one reason salespeople fail is that they don’t make enough calls to talk to enough … Read the rest

What Happens When Your Client Goes Dark


It happens to all of us — a prospective client, one you’re sure is going to end up buying from you, suddenly goes inexplicably dark.

Prospects have been going dark since the sales profession’s very beginning. It’s a common problem, but it appears to be growing worse.

And it happens even when the prospect initiates the first contact.

A prospect will seek you out, ostensibly excited about your property or representation services. They want to meet with you immediately because “time is of the essence” or they want “to nail this down right away.” Your meeting goes well. You hit … Read the rest

Five Essentials Before You Negotiate


1. Does the Customer Have a Clear Need?

People will have meetings with you, or will have conversations with you, but do they have a clear need? It can’t just be a need that you understand, but one that they understand, too. Use the prospecting phase to articulate both.

I see customers calling people to ask, “Hey, what’s your price on this?” And it’s really just an itch. They have an idea, and they’ll only go in and buy it if it’s dirt cheap. Suddenly, you jump into negotiating with them.

It’s similar to when you go shopping and there … Read the rest

The Backpack


I messed up. When I was a junior in high school, I crashed my mom’s car. The worst part was that I lied about the cause. My excuse was that I was reaching into the back seat to grab a brush. This was the ’80s, so I had to tame the mullet! The truth was that I was attempting to get a cigarette out of the pack and lit. This is not a story my 16-year-old self wanted to tell my parents, so I lied. That same year, my parents went away on a trip over a weekend, so I … Read the rest

The Magic of Form-Storm-Norm-Perform


Over the past 40-plus years, I have been involved with or observed countless groups, large and small, and how they function.

Most have worked effectively, a number superbly and a few abysmally. But regardless of whether I am participating or looking over their shoulders, I have learned that a simple framework identified in the 1960s is a great lens through which to assess how well each group accomplishes what it sets out to do.

This framework has been labeled form-storm-norm-perform. Some of you reading this may think, “I’ve heard this before” and want to find something more interesting to do. … Read the rest

MANA Recognizes Members’ Milestone Anniversary Dates

Each year MANA recognizes members who are celebrating special anniversaries of their MANA memberships. In this issue we recognize members who are celebrating 65, 60, 55, 50, 45, 40, 35, 30 or 25 years of MANA membership.

MANA thanks and congratulates these members for their long-term support and commitment to MANA and our industry.

We also thank those long-term members whose membership anniversaries are not among the years listed in this issue. Your company name was either published within the past three years or will be published within the next two.

Representative Members
65 years

Brian Middleton
D & O … Read the rest

All A’s on This Report Card


A manufacturer recently offered what he viewed as a report card that evaluated his company’s performance in the marketplace once they had made the move from a direct to an independent manufacturers’ representative sales network.

Here’s how he described his company’s experience: “From the very beginning the combination of all of our reps’ talents clearly became evident. Their in-depth knowledge of the territory, local contacts and relationships coupled with their flexibility in the field immediately improved our market performance.”

He continued, “Then there’s the issue of synergy. The agencies we chose to go to market with had line cards that … Read the rest

Key Contract Terms to Strengthen Rep Agreements

By and

Based on our significant experience reviewing and managing commission claims with manufacturers’ representative (rep) agreements with their suppliers, the author thought it might be helpful to go through a summary of these provisions and provide some helpful perspectives and best practices.

“Rep Theory”

The value of a manufacturers’ rep is fundamentally tied into relationships they have with customers and with suppliers (principals). It has been said that the assets of an agency “go home at night,” which is a reference to the intangible nature of their relationships. The rep functions as a drummer, facilitator, expediter and solicitor. As a general … Read the rest

MAC October Meeting Report

MANA CEO and President Charles Cohon and Attorney Daniel Beederman, partner in Chicago law firm Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell Glazer LLC, packed the house at the October meeting of the Manufacturers’ Agents of Cincinnati (MAC). Speaking on “Getting Paid for Your Success” and “Putting the Succession in Succession Planning,” Cohon and Beederman explored how having a good rep agreement can increase the likelihood that you will be paid for the success of your efforts and key points about selling or buying a rep agency.

For information on future MAC meetings visit their website at www.maccincinnati.org.… Read the rest