MANA — A Wonderful Rep Resource


Recently, I was attending a MANA function with many other manufacturers’ representatives and my peer group from various industries across the U.S.

During the conference, we held an open forum Q&A and amongst the group were many single person agencies or simply rep agencies seeking advice or counsel. The discussion included topics like representative-principal contracts, succession planning, acquiring new lines, buy‑sell agreements, marketing techniques and the many other areas we all face running a manufacturers’ representative agency in today’s environment.

As I sat and listened to the discussion and each rep’s carefully thought-out reply, one common theme was apparent: the … Read the rest

How to Effectively Use Trade Shows as a Complement to Market Strategy


If there is any common challenge that reps cite as they continue to enter the post-Covid sales and marketing environment, it’s that it has become ever more difficult to reach prospects and customers.

Long-tenured reps recall the days of being able to reach prospects via their cold calls when existing customers would readily be available in their offices. Today, however, buying decision makers no longer populate offices as they did prior to the pandemic. While many of them continue to work at home, others that do come into the office have been able to avoid contact with the outside world … Read the rest

How to Successfully Sell Through Independent Reps


Selling through independent manufacturers’ representatives can be a very rewarding business partnership if a few key areas are taken into consideration.

The first step is for the manufacturer to understand the rep-principal model. MANA can serve as a great resource for those manufacturers who have never gone to market using reps. Insight into a rep’s role of selling in a defined geographical region, handling synergistic but non-competing lines and adding value through applications engineering assistance are just a few areas of responsibility in which MANA can serve to educate.

Next, it is important to find the right partner. MANA has … Read the rest

What a Representative Firm Is Looking for When a Manufacturer Contacts Them Regarding Representation


Long-lasting relationships between manufacturers and representatives are beneficial to each party and the customer as well. This relationship begins when the manufacturer reaches out to the representative and solicits professional representation in a specific area or on an account-by-account basis.

The information exchanged in this initial dialogue will help both sides develop an enduring foundation that can be built upon as each company grows. In this phase, representatives will decide whether to engage with the manufacturer or not. There are several things a manufacturer can do to prepare for this initial communication to ensure they find the representative best suited … Read the rest

Education Is a Two‑Way Street


In the ever-evolving relationship between manufacturers’ representatives and their principals, the need to educate one another remains vitally important.

Manufacturers educate reps on capabilities, quality systems, lead times, polices and procedures and best practices that they feel will assist the rep to be more successful in marketing and selling their respective lines. Do we ever stop to think about how important it is for reps to reciprocate this education back to the manufacturer?

Manufacturers should always consider their rep agencies as extensions of their business. The communication should be transparent, open and frequent, for the two sides are truly “partners” … Read the rest

Selling in the New Normal


Wow, what a difference 60 days makes!

Who would have ever thought our business climate would be where it is today looking back just a couple of months ago? The economy was rolling, the manufacturing sector was up, and the workforce employed. Now we have major OEMs shut down, labor force furloughed, laid off employees, and we are dealing with the unknown of how to re-enter the workplace safely and effectively. A lot to think about and even comprehend for small business.

So, what does the new normal look like as we begin to lift the current “stay at home” … Read the rest

Inside Sales and the Manufacturers’ Representative: Key Factors in Creating Mutual Success


The relationship between a manufacturer’s inside sales staff and the representing agency is one of the most crucial elements in creating mutual success.

Inside sales serves a dual role; first, they must provide support and service to the customer and secondly, they have to champion the rep and their efforts. Several key factors play a role in this model: communication, recognition, support, and the rep model being accepted as an extension of the manufacturer.

Communication must flow both ways and consist of timely written and verbal dialogue. It is incumbent upon the representative to keep the inside sales staff fully … Read the rest