Your Principal Sells Its Business: Now What?


As a sales representative, you’ve spent years developing the brand name and recognition of your principal in the marketplace. You’ve generated new clients and coddled existing ones for your principal. Sales are up to the benefit of both representative and principal. Now, you’re told that the principal has sold its business and is moving on. Where does that leave you as a sales representative, especially with regard to your earned but unpaid commissions as of the date of the acquisition?

It depends on the answer to many questions as well as the relationship you may have with the buying and … Read the rest

Common Traits of a Successful Sales Representative (and a Good Lawyer) and How to Develop Them


The substance of this article could possibly be better placed under one of the other departments of Agency Sales, but because I’m a lawyer with approximately four decades of experience representing sales representatives, I’ve come across some insights that I wanted to share, so it appears here under the department of “Legally Speaking.” There are good and bad lawyers and there are good and bad sales representatives. The good professionals have many common traits, and I’ve learned from experience ways of developing some of these (I didn’t learn them in law school).

A good lawyer, like a good sales … Read the rest

Look Before You Leap, or, He Who Hesitates Is Lost — A Lawyer’s Perspective


If you are new in the sales representative business and a principal offers you a territory with an established customer base for which commissions will be paid, do you take it without question? If you are a manufacturer who has decided to market new products via sales representatives, do you engage the first reputable sales representative to come across your desk? Should you look before you leap, or do you fear that if you hesitate the opportunity will wane?

Aesop’s “look before you leap” bedtime story tells about a thirsty fox who saw a big well nearby and peeped into … Read the rest

The Principal’s Standard Contract vs. MANA’s Model Contract


MANA members, principals and representatives can access the Manual for the Creation of a Rep‑Principal Agreement on the MANA website ( Much thought has gone into this document, and it is a useful tool. This document has been generated by a team of MANA member lawyers who have represented both manufacturers and representatives.

Likewise, a good number of principals have a standard representative contract generated at significant cost and through years of favorable experience with other sales representatives.

So, which one should be used as a starting point? The answer, I suggest, is neither and both.

Too often a principal … Read the rest

Home Court Advantage


MANA is doing its part to remind representatives and principals that from the moment the partnership is formed and throughout the time sales activities are conducted, both parties are best served by focusing on a win-win relationship. Any time that win-win relationship tips out of balance it puts at risk the success and profitability of both parties.

Principals who perceive themselves as the dominant partner are probably not MANA members, so this message is not addressed to MANA manufacturer members. But MANA representative members will from time to time represent a manufacturer less enlightened than most MANA manufacturer members, and … Read the rest

Questions to Ask Your Lawyer When You Have a Bad Day


Imagine you have represented a certain manufacturer and provided increasing product sales for a number of years, if not decades. Then one day, you unexpectedly receive a termination notice from the account along with a dictate from the principal as to how the relationship will be wound down. After reading your contract, you disagree with this dictate. Worse yet, you then discover that your key salesperson (who has recently resigned from your company) has been identified by the principal to be its new representative in the same territory! It’s been a bad day! You decide to seek legal advice.

MANA’s … Read the rest

The Shareholder Agreement:
An Ounce of Prevention vs. a Pound of Cure


It was Benjamin Franklin who once stated that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” He was telling us that it is better to try to avoid problems in the first place rather than try to fix them once they arise. For small entities serving as manufacturers’ representatives, an ounce of prevention may be found in a contract, often called a Shareholder Agreement, between its owners that specifies how the entity will be run and what happens when certain events occur. For entities with a small number of owners who are active in the daily business operations, Read the rest

Do’s and Don’ts for Sales Reps Engaging Legal Counsel


photoAt some time during the course of your business as an independent sales representative, you are likely to be faced with the necessity of engaging an attorney to represent your interests. It is recommended that you interview at least two to three attorneys prior to retaining counsel. To facilitate this exercise and make it seem somewhat less daunting, there are some basic tenets that anyone conducting such engagement process should follow. Consider the following four exercises.


Do: Sales representatives should search for counsel experienced in the particular matter in hand. MANA is an ideal source for such experienced counsel. … Read the rest