How Involved Should Reps Be on the Internet?


I am sure for many Baby Boomers (like me) this question comes up on a regular basis and like many situations, we have options:

  • Jump in with both feet and figure it out
  • Wait awhile and see what everyone else does (leading edge not bleeding edge) or
  • I don’t know what I am doing so I am not going to do anything.

Sadly, it appears that option #3 is selected far too often by some Boomers that run independent manufacturers’ representative businesses. Often, we refer back to what we know and are skeptical of the unknown, so we move slowly … Read the rest

What’s the Value of a Rep Council in 2015?


It seems to me that many of our manufacturers have either done away with or for some reason have lost interest in having rep councils in the last 15 years. When I started in the rep business there were a number of our principals that had councils and it was often considered an honor to be part of one. Like all things, there had to be value added for them to continue so presumably someone (and maybe both parties) lost interest due to a lack of value to the participants. Many of us have likely been part of these in … Read the rest

Succession Planning —
So What, Now What?


I found it interesting when asked to write this article that there appears to be some karma in timing in my personal case, as it seems succession planning in more than one form is taking over my life. The first factor is that I will be coming off the board at the end of April 2015, so this is likely the last time I will be asked to write an article as we plan a “successor” on the board from an international perspective — I can assure you that it is not an easy chore to find someone that is … Read the rest

Determining the “Ideal” Match


Over the last few months Agency Sales has focused on the theme of “Ideal,” and this month the magazine concludes the series with a focus on the “Ideal” principal and the “Ideal” rep finding each other.

It reminded me of a conundrum we faced in our business a few years ago. We were on pace to have a record-setting year when we began thinking about our planning for the next year and beyond. With puffed chests and pride in ourselves based on past accomplishments, we began the process. As the books advise, we began with a SWOT analysis of our … Read the rest

Is It The Market Or Is It Me?


A good friend and mentor of mine in the rep business used to say to me, “It’s not one thing, it’s a thousand things!”

It becomes quite easy and maybe even fashionable to blame the economy for our woes, yet even in the worst of times there are companies, businesses and people who continue to excel and outperform all others. You have to ask why when many can tend to get mired in self pity and blame everyone and everything — it might be time for a look in the mirror.

One element that is apparent is that the role … Read the rest

How about a Punch in the Teeth?


This month, Agency Sales’ editorial focus is on facing change in our business and how both we as independent reps and our principals will need to change our working relationships in order to survive in the future. I can remember attending my first ever association meeting in another business almost 30 years ago now and guess what the topic was — “Facing Change.”

It does lead one to wonder if “Changes” will ever stop and can’t we just stay where we are for awhile? For the most part, it seems human nature is to resist change, simply said it … Read the rest

So Long 2009


2009 is gone and many of us are saying, “Thank heavens.” It was a difficult year for many independent reps. There are few industries that came out on the positive side of what has proven to be a devastating year in terms of sales increases, profits, etc. On top of all this, widespread commission cuts work as a double hit against IMR’s. So let’s wave goodbye and good riddance to 2009. But not so fast. As much as we all need to look forward and work at making things better, there’s an opportunity to look in the rear view and Read the rest

The Habits of Salespeople


The main focus of this issue is based on “The Habits of Highly Effective People.” I don’t know if the right number of habits is 7, 10, 50 or 1, but what I do know is you have to have some good, consistent habits to be successful.

We often associate habits as negative things — smoking, it’s a habit; being late, a habit I must change, etc. There are good habits as well, and if salespeople find and adopt these, they can be very successful. For the most part, they are simple things, and if we listen to our customers … Read the rest

Time Is Money


So should “pioneering” costs be shared?

Should we as independent representatives expect compensation for developing a territory that has no income or in other words receive payment in some form other than commission (retainer, market development fee)? For the most part I am in favor of some form of compensation to develop a territory from scratch (also known as pioneering).

My explanation to manufacturers is often like this:

If I spend time on your line to make no income, then I am taking away time from another manufacturer that is already paying me. I suspect that other manufacturer does not … Read the rest