Million Dollar Deal. Rep’s Share: 100%


© neirfy |

Yes, sometimes reps write a six figure or seven figure deal and get to keep all the money. And it happens more often than you’d think.

How does this happen? It happens when the rep sells their rep firm to a new owner and retires.

What kind of difference would a six-figure or seven-figure payday make in your lifestyle after your retirement? Enough to put in some serious planning? Of course!

Can you answer “yes” to these questions? And if you can’t, would the possibility of a six-figure or seven-figure payday be enough to motivate you to work on changing any “no” answers to “yes”?

  • Have I identified a willing and able buyer, either within my own company or outside it?
  • Have I kept financial records to document for that willing and able buyer the financial returns he or she can reasonably expect after the sale?
  • Have I structured my company so that this willing and able buyer can manage day-to-day operations after I’m no longer part of the company?
  • Have I planned for the retention of key employees and principals after the transaction is completed?
  • Have I secured the counsel of a rep-savvy attorney and a rep-savvy accountant to navigate the many potential legal and tax pitfalls of the transaction?

And with careful planning, the sale of a rep company can be a win-win for the buyer and the seller. One MANA rep reports he has purchased five rep companies over his career, earning the sellers a fair return on their entrepreneurial investment and allowing the buyer to assemble a regional rep powerhouse that stretches from Maine to Virginia.

MANA membership includes a wealth of resources for reps who are ready to give succession planning some serious attention. Visit the member area at, click on “Steps to Rep Professionalism” and go to step 12, “Plan for Your Succession and Sell Your Rep Business.” Or contact us by email at or by phone at 877-626-2776.

Delegate to Elevate


The tasks business owners shouldn’t do and how AI and virtual assistants can help independent manufacturers’ reps.

In the ever-evolving landscape of entrepreneurship, independent manufacturers’ representatives play a crucial role in driving business growth and success for their factories. These owners have a unique set of challenges and opportunities, often wearing multiple hats to ensure the smooth functioning of their ventures. However, in the pursuit of efficiency and productivity, it’s essential for business owners to recognize the tasks they should avoid and harness the power of AI-driven tools like ChatGPT and virtual assistants to optimize their operations.

Running an independent … Read the rest

Like Father, Like Daughters


Anyone doubting the admonition that “history repeats itself” should pay close attention to the history of the William Baker Company.

More than 40 years ago, Jim Baker, who heads the six-person Indianapolis, Indiana, rep firm, recalls he was at a point in his professional life when he was anticipating a course change. Armed with little knowledge about what his father, Bill, did for a living, he raised the prospect of a change during dinner with his parents one night. His father, who had opened the agency in 1972, floated the idea of the younger Baker joining the rep firm. Ultimately, … Read the rest

Reps Detail Challenges


The majority of reps relish the opportunities presented to them by being their own boss. With that appreciation for independence, however, comes the realization that there are many challenges that accompany being an independent manufacturers’ rep.

Several of those challenges were emphasized in the course of a MANAchat that was conducted over the course of three days earlier this year devoted to a discussion of what reps like least about their jobs. High on the list of challenges facing reps were:

Dealing with principals who don’t appreciate what the rep does for them — “I love what I do for … Read the rest

Competing for a Good New Line


When opportunity knocks how will you respond?

Is your agency in a position to compete effectively when good lines are available? To effectively compete in a “shootout,” your agency needs to be ready and rehearsed months in advance of any chance to go after a good line.

The business of getting a rep agency ready for live time is not complex, but it requires a very disciplined approach.

Your Profile

Is your company profile an effective working tool to provide a significant edge?

The profile must be totally professional.

First, the graphics presentation. Does your profile look as good or … Read the rest

The Second Sales Success Factor


A couple of months ago, my article was centered around the number‑one sales success factor: hard work. This month I’ll discuss the second most important sales success factor: self-discipline.

Self-discipline is important because it ensures that you do the hard work every day whether you feel like it or not, because there will be days when you don’t feel like it. One of the most difficult paths a salesperson maneuvers is that of staying motivated throughout the day. The amount of rejection a salesperson faces, along with the other ups and downs of the job, coupled with natural physical cycles … Read the rest

How Not to Plan Your Company’s Future: Common Mistakes When Identifying Customer Needs


When managers plan their business strategies, common sense dictates that these game plans should be in line with customer needs. The first step in planning is therefore to identify customer preferences.

Unfortunately, most conventional approaches to determining customer needs are flawed. Here are five of the most common methods used to gather customer opinions along with their drawbacks. Keep these often-made mistakes in mind when planning your business strategy.

Mistake #1 — Counting Cash

One way to find out what customers think — indirectly at least — is to look at revenues, the assumption being that if revenues are increasing … Read the rest

Prospecting or Closing: Which is Harder?


A colleague and I talked about the greatest value that a sales professional brings to a company. Is it the ability to prospect for new clients, or is it the ability to close a deal?

Both are extremely important, and neither is terribly easy. That’s why we typically don’t put limits on the income a sales professional can make. We want to incentivize them to keep working hard on a difficult-but-crucial activity that truly is the lifeblood of companies.

We came to the conclusion that, while closing deals is ultimately the most valuable thing we do, prospecting is more difficult. … Read the rest

Help! I Hate Cold Outreach and “Bad” Leads!


Do you have a strong discomfort with cold outreach?

Or much worse — do you avoid the phone as a prospecting tool altogether?

I’ve got six strategies to warm up any cold call and help you get over this big obstacle to prospecting.

1. If you have the ability to help someone, it’s your responsibility to reach out to them.

This is a home run play if you have the ability to help someone.

If I had a problem and you could help me with it, I would want you to talk to me. If you didn’t, I’d be upset … 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 75, 70, 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
75 Years

Tim Gahan
Henry … Read the rest

A Contract — Always!


When a manufacturer heard a comment from an attorney concerning working with reps in the absence of a contract, here’s how he reacted:

“I can understand what the attorney was saying. He advised reps to be wary and to avoid contracts that were not fair to both sides. As a matter of fact, he stated his case quite succinctly when he said: ‘In the absence of a clearly worded contract that is fair to both the manufacturer and the rep, I’d advise the rep — if he really wants/needs the business — to go ahead without a written contract.’

“That’s … Read the rest

Risk Management: Navigating Employment Issues for Sales Agencies

By and

Running a manufacturers’ rep agency brings opportunities but at times can generate risks, especially when considering employment matters. This article presents an overview of those risks and suggestions for how to manage such risks.

Misclassifying Workers as “Independent Contractors”

Rep agencies use independent contractors or subreps for myriad reasons — “fit” for a particular situation, coverage for an open territory, flexibility and cost savings, as examples. While using independent contractors can provide significant benefits, misclassifying employees as independent contractors can lead to detrimental outcomes such as having to pay unpaid withholding taxes, back pay, penalties, fees and interest.

The IRS … Read the rest

Industrial Supply Association Announces New 2023-2024 Board of Directors

The Industrial Supply Association (ISA) is pleased to announce its newly appointed board of directors for the 2023-2024 term. Comprising a diverse group of industry leaders, the board will continue to uphold ISA’s mission of anticipating and serving the needs of its member companies, including distributors, manufacturers, and independent manufacturers’ representatives.

These volunteer leaders bring extensive knowledge, time, and experience to their roles and will be responsible for charting ISA’s strategic direction while overseeing initiatives that drive the advancement of the industry and the association.

The new board of directors consists of the following executive chairs:

  • Chair — Rob Keenan,
Read the rest

MANA Board of Directors Nominating Committee Announces 2024 Candidates

MANA’s Board of Directors Nominating Committee is pleased to announce that it has approved applications to appear on the January 2004 Board of Directors election ballot from Marty Grimes and Marilyn Kahler.

photo of Marilyn KahlerMarilyn Kahler owns MANA rep member firm Tri-Fab Solutions of Scottsdale, Arizona. Her firm has been a MANA member since 2004.

photo of Marty GrimesMarty Grimes owns MANA rep member firm Assembly Solutions, Inc. of Fort Wright, Kentucky. His firm has been a MANA member since 2000.

Ballots will be distributed January 1, 2024. To be counted, all votes must be cast by January 31, 2024. Results will be published on … Read the rest