Call Reports?


As a long-time MANA member, I have found that one of the most frequently discussed subjects is call reports. Jerry Leth, MANA’s Vice President and General Manager, and longtime liaison to the membership, recently told me he gets at least three calls a month regarding the subject.

Many years ago I was visiting a new principal for orientation and to discuss strategy for the product line. As we were wrapping up the meeting, the sales manager very nonchalantly said, “Oh by the way, we require call reports.” During the course of the day, I noticed a pile of call reports … Read the rest

Partners in Profit and More


As a MANA member for over 35 years, I recall many outstanding articles Agency Sales magazine has written, covering everything from “Starting an Agency” through “Succession Planning.” In this month’s issue we key in on the theme, “Professional Manufacturer’s Representatives Working Together with Manufacturers as Partners in Profit.” Information provided throughout the years in Agency Sales has been a tremendous resource to me. So when I was asked to write this editorial, I wondered what I could possibly add to the subject that has not already been said. Drawing on many years of experience puts me in rather a unique Read the rest

MANA an Association for the Professional Manufacturers’ Representative


Professional, entrepreneurial, motivated, ethical, independent, optimist and competitive. If you identify with this description, you are most likely a successful manufacturers’ rep or at the very least on your way to becoming one.

As a MANA board member for the last several years, I have come to know many successful reps from a variety of fields, and they all seem to fit the above description. We are a rare breed of businessmen and women who strive for perfection.

Every successful profession has an important common denominator, a professional association that forms their base. Professional organizations provide a wealth of information, … Read the rest

Are You Lawyered Up?
Know When It Makes Sense


The last thing we want to think about are legal issues — until we have a problem! Then what?

Managing a successful agency today means more than just being a great salesperson. We must be well-rounded business men and women that deal with many issues on a daily basis. One of the most important is managing risk, or to put it a better way, limiting risk.

Legal issues, particularly the ones that are negative, can conjure up unfavorable thoughts, which may lead to procrastination. Hoping that if we wait long enough, maybe the problem will go away is, I … Read the rest

Stick to the Basics


About 10 years ago, MANA devoted a substantial amount of time and effort to developing coping strategies for manufacturers’ reps as they entered the new millennium. The lead article in this month’s Agency Sales revisits those strategies, and as the old saying goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” It’s amazing that, after all that’s changed in the past 10 years, with technological advances, off-shoring of so much manufacturing and how busy we’ve become, the basics are still the same.

As manufacturers’ reps, we have to remember that while the purpose of our businesses is to … Read the rest

Why Should You Be a MANA Member?


In the early days of my business as I was looking for information on how to become a successful manufacturers’ representative, I came across a copy of Agency Sales magazine. I was impressed with the information it provided and joined MANA. That was thirty-eight years ago.

As a board member, I have had the pleasure of speaking with many of my constituents. One of the many questions I’m asked is “Why belong to MANA?” A very leading question! If you go to the MANA website we have twenty outstanding reasons which include: rep protection acts, contract guidelines, legal resources, line … Read the rest

Editorial…In the Field


I had a very good friend and customer of many years who passed away suddenly. At the time of his death, there were two brothers as equal owners and family from both sides working in the business.

My guess is that they always thought nothing would ever change, and they did not need to plan for eventual succession of the business. The disaster between families that followed is a story in itself.

Human nature being what it is, we don’t like to think of the inevitable, particularly when the business is running smoothly.

My friend’s experience taught me a lesson.… Read the rest

Editorial in the Field


After 35 years in the rep business, I cannot help but reminisce about what my kids refer to as “the old days.” Often we made deals with a handshake, told our principals we would do a good job for them, went out and did it, and never worried about receiving our check.

My, how times have changed (and I am sure for the better). We have become much better businesspeople. Selling is just not selling anymore, but a combination of sales, marketing, consulting, accounting and much more.

When interviewing for a new line, the first two questions we ask are: … Read the rest