Becoming the Emotional Favorite


Let me tell you a story. I struck up a conversation with a rep at an industry event. The rep glanced to the left and right. Then the rep lowered their voice and said: “Can I tell you a secret?”


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“Most of my principals pay about the same commission percentage. But I give one of them more attention than any other line, probably more than their commission checks really justify. It’s because they treat me so well that they have become my ‘emotional favorite.’”

The ways reps talk about their “emotional favorites” are pretty consistent:

  1. “They let me know how much they appreciate me and treat me like ‘one of the family.’ Most of my principals don’t do that. Of course, I work harder when I’m part of the family.”
  2. “They respond fast so I can give my customers answers right away. They make me look good to my customers, and my reputation with my customers is my livelihood.”
  3. “They treat me as a business partner instead of trying to be my boss, and they value my input.”
  4. “They pay me like clockwork every month. That’s a tangible way they demonstrate how much they value my efforts.”
  5. “They let me make a fair profit. I’m not looking for them to make me rich, but letting me consistently make a fair profit on all my sales shows that they want me to thrive and be their business partner for a long time.”

Then the rep looked left and right again, and their voice dropped almost to a whisper. “You know, it would be a tough conversation for me to have with my other principals to tell them why they are not my ‘emotional favorite.’ But they really need to know why they are not and how they could become the ‘emotional favorite’ of all their reps. Could MANA do something to help get out the word?”

Mission accepted.

A Shrinking World Is an Opportunity to Expand the Rep’s Line Card — Part 1


Representing overseas principals can be a very enriching and rewarding experience. It involves all of the skills associated with representing a domestic principal plus some additional skills that one needs to be sensitive to​​ before signing up with an overseas principal.

I have close to two decades of experience representing overseas companies and during that time, I have made many lifelong friends. I have always been fascinated and most times pleasantly surprised by the many subtle differences between representing domestic and principals from different countries. While there are differences between different countries and continents, I have distilled my list down … Read the rest

Williston Sales Reviews Its History


Nine years ago, Agency Sales visited S. Williston Sales Company. This year as the East Greenwich, Rhode Island-based agency marks its 15th anniversary, Steve Williston, the agency’s president and CEO, took the opportunity to recall several of the agency’s challenges and milestones. At the outset, Williston notes that the agency’s passion and efforts to succeed have firmed up the agency’s position as it serves the HVAC industry in its territory.

According to Williston, he learned the independent manufacturers’ representative trade in the HVAC/R industry from his father, a respected rep in the northeast region, which includes Upstate New York and … Read the rest

Five Key Factors in Choosing a Rep Company


Whether you are already committed to the independent manufacturers’ rep business model, are switching from direct sales to rep-based sales or are just starting to build your sales force, there are many factors to consider.

Here are five of the most important factors to consider when choosing a rep company:

  1. Synergy between the rep’s lines and your products and/or services.
  2. Reputation and longevity in the territory.
  3. Number of existing lines.
  4. Number of outside and inside salespeople.
  5. Long-term plan.

Let’s drill down a bit deeper.


“The interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce … Read the rest

MANA Members Share Concerns


MANA offers rep and manufacturer members opportunities to network and share concerns in teleconferences and MANAchats.

Dealing with customers they’ve never met in person and making face-to-face contact with customers in a post-Covid world dominated a MANA teleconference conducted by the association’s “A League of Their Own” (ALOTO), MANA’s special interest group for women.

Two of the discussion participants detailed what they described as unusual — but successful — relationships with customers with whom they never had an in-person sit-down meeting.

The first rep detailed, “I had been soliciting one customer for more than three years, but I had never … Read the rest

Personal Brand Quiz


Test how your personal reputation stacks up.

In marketing terms, your company’s net promoter score indicates your customers’ willingness to recommend your products and services. Bringing this concept closer to home, ever wondered how likely people are to recommend you personally? For example, would your supervisor go to bat for you to support you receiving a pay raise? Are your competitors hearing about you from your customers and considering offering you a job? The likelihood of these kinds of recommendations is based on what I call your “Trust Equity Score.” The higher your trust equity, the more inclined people will … Read the rest

How to Promote Your Brand Tastefully


It’s a story as old as Hollywood — a teenage movie star eventually turns into a washed-up drug addict with a collection of orange-jumpsuit photos.

It’s also a story as old as professional sports — a star athlete is arrested for punching an autograph seeker in the face.

We commonly see celebrities behaving badly in public, and because of that, the word “celebrity” can have a negative connotation. Nevertheless, society is obsessed with fame and fortune. In fact, some people do outrageous things just in the hope of achieving celebrity status.

Viral social media videos and reality television shows have … Read the rest

Strong Personal Relationships Are Key to Closing More Sales


A strong personal relationship is one in which the customer fully trusts and likes the architectural sales representative (ASR), whether they are a direct hire employee or an independent manufacturers’ representative.

The customer is interested in a partnership that is equally valuable to him and to the manufacturer the ASR represents. For any product or group of products, the customer is willing to give most or all his business to that manufacturer.

There is a perception today among many in the commercial architectural products marketplace that personal relationships in selling are less important today than in years past. Information is … Read the rest

A Frustrating Problem Costing You Time and Sales


Recently I met with a new sales rep who’s been in sales for a little over six months.

He’s made two sales; he should be closer to 30. I started by asking how many sales calls he’s been making, how many proposals he’s presented, what he’s been saying, and what his overall process has been. It didn’t take long to identify his problem.

Keep in mind that most prospects are simply trying to get rid of you. The average executive has 52 hours of work on their desk and gets 200 to 300 emails a day along with 25 to … Read the rest

How to Lead When It Feels Like the Sky Is Falling


As an executive coach and business owner, I know balancing everything in today’s economy can be hard. Unfortunately, you can’t hit a pause button when leading an organization. We must find a way to win despite the odds. Here are a few tips to help keep you on track and in control.

Leading in a Turbulent Economy

First, let’s be clear about one thing: just because it feels like the sky is falling, it doesn’t mean you have to be buried by it. As a leader, you’ve got to slap on your superhero hat and create a way to make … Read the rest

Middle Manager Burnout Is a Real Thing


Slack Technologies conducted a survey a few months back that found 43 percent of middle managers feel burned out. You may be one of them. There were a lot of reasons given, but one of the biggest concerns was being caught between corporate return-to-office policies and the employees who complain that they don’t see the need.

As much as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has indicated that there seems to be a considerable shift back to office work since the beginning of 2023, this is not true across all industries. More important, it is not just about whether a … Read the rest

Get It in Writing


It’s not just the independent rep that believes having a written contract with their principals is imperative. That point was driven home recently when one manufacturer contacted Agency Sales magazine with the following thoughts.

“The executives of our company have always felt that it’s critically important to have our reps under written contract. Our approach is that we choose our reps very carefully. That means we spend a lot of time searching for reps, interviewing them, visiting them, and having them visit us and get to know our people. Figuratively, they become an integral part of our family, our organization. … Read the rest

Finalizing the Rep Agreement While Procuring Your First Order


I am currently working behind the scenes with one of my sales rep clients in trying to finalize a sales rep agreement with an automotive parts supplier located in Europe. They have been working on this for many months.

The Problem

The principal was recently awarded close to $20 million in annual business from a major-tiered automotive supplier that was solicited and procured by my client. The original discussion before the business was awarded was that commissions would be paid at the rate of four percent of the net sales. This was included in the original draft of the sales … Read the rest

IUCAB Executive Committee Opens 2023 Meeting Schedule in Boston, Massachusetts

The first IUCAB Executive Committee Meeting this year took place on March 31, 2023, in Boston, Massachusetts, to strengthen the relationship between Europe and the USA.

Olivier Mazoyer, president, welcomed Vice Presidents Eeva Pakkanen from Finland; Charles Cohon from the USA; Ralf Scholz from Germany; Axel Sturmberger from Austria and Christian Rebernig, IUCAB secretary general; to the meeting. Matthew Tickle from the UK participated as observer. Vice Presidents Enric Enrech from Spain and Marco Righetti from Italy were absent.

Rebernig gave an overview of the financial situation of the organization and the social media activities of IUCAB (Internationally United Commercial … Read the rest