Trawling for a Good Line

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photoIn California we have a saying, “The only thing constant about California is change.” Having been a sales rep for a number of years, you can apply that same analogy to the sales representative business. A good sales representative is always on the prowl looking for a good line and working diligently to keep existing principals happy.

One of MANA’s principles is that a sales rep should be a member of a specific industry rep association in addition to MANA. We have been a long-time member of the Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) and in particular the Southern California chapter of … Read the rest

Consultative Selling

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BusinessDictionary.com Definition:

Personal selling in which a salesperson plays the role of a consultant. He or she first assists the buyer in identifying his or her needs, and then suggesting products that satisfy those needs.

In his book, Spin Selling, Neil Rackham came to an interesting and somewhat unexpected conclusion. After observing thousands of sales calls he found that the best salespeople were not necessarily the best talkers, they were the best listeners. Rackham found that the best salespeople had a higher listen-to-talk ratio and they used the classic questions, who, what, how, when and whereRead the rest

Getting Time With Decision Makers

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It has been my experience that if you convince the customer that you are there to help them, you often can get through to the decision-maker. You will be more successful if you know your product, your competition’s product (if any) and any particular selling features your product has over the competition. You should also have a good knowledge of the customer’s product and the best way to apply your product to theirs.

Quite surprisingly, the best way to get to know the decision-maker is when the customer has some type of problem with a product you or the competition … Read the rest

A Recipe for Success in the Rep Industry

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For many years, one of my friends ran a very successful one‑man agency. He had a handful of principals and managed to keep the principals and customers very happy. He maintained most of his principals through the years, and after a considerable amount of windshield time, he is now enjoying a very comfortable retirement.

One of the reasons this friend was able to stay in business for such a long time (with little change of his lines) was his philosophy of trying not to burn any bridges. In fact, he was able to get one line back after having been … Read the rest

Editorial…In The Field

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To make field visits more productive, the sales rep and principal must establish the primary reason for the visit, set up tentative dates, and then develop the itinerary.

Reasons for urgent visits to the field include severe quality problems, design changes or flaws, and loss of significant business or significant sales service problems. These visits should be planned as quickly as possible and the itinerary put together on an urgent basis. Other field visits for reasons such as product training, new product introductions, trade shows, vendor conferences and market assessment should be coordinated and planned to make maximum use of … Read the rest