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27 minutes | 3 years ago
021: Peter Zafiro
Peter Zafiro, General Manager, LinMot USA, Inc. is an experienced hand working with manufacturers’ representatives and in this episode of Outsourcing Selling he shares how he views working with reps. “I’ve gone to market with a variety of business models over the years. I’ve worked with factory direct-only salespeople, hybrids of direct and independent reps and with independent reps only,” says Zafiro. “What I’ve found is that I get the most bang for my buck with reps. Here’s why: I’ve found that reps are simply the most professional salespeople in their territories. They’re absolutely dedicated to the sales function in their territory.” Reps offer faster time-to-market, he adds: “Whenever I’ve had to hire a direct person for a territory, it takes a while to get them up to speed, sometimes several years. Then when you’ve done that you can have a problem with maintaining consistency in your sales force. You’ll have the normal turnover every year not to mention the occasions when someone’s wife decides it’s time to move back home. Once that happens, you have to go through the same process all over again. You can spend upwards of three or more putting your sales team together. When you’re all done, you’re not going to be as productive as you could be with reps.” For more of Zafiro’s insights from his experiences, enjoy this episode of Outsourcing Selling.
12 minutes | 3 years ago
020: If Your Rep Agreement is a Cadillac Don’t Trade It For A Broken-Down Yugo
Years ago, your principal signed a rep agreement with you that protected your commission earnings, so you invested time and hard work to grow that line. Now your principal wants you to sign a new rep agreement. What should you do? In this podcast attorney Randy Gillary shares his recommendations on how to evaluate a principal’s proposal to re-write your rep agreement. Principals don’t re-write rep agreements because they feel the rep’s interests were not sufficiently protected, says Gillary, they do it because they want to reduce the commissions they pay or to terminate the rep without paying post-termination commissions the rep had earned under the terms of the original contract. It’s a not-uncommon complaint from reps who call Gillary’s firm for legal representation, and Gillary’s program to address this situation is fascinating listening for any rep. Interestingly, notes Gillary, of all the principals he’s had to pursue on this type of matter, none have ever been a MANA manufacturer member.
15 minutes | 3 years ago
019: Best Practices Interview with First Mfr. on MANA’s Board of Directors: Charlie Ingram, Eriez Mfg.
In this podcast Charlie Ingram, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Eriez Manufacturing, gives representatives a chance to see themselves as a manufacturer sees them. For representatives’ benefit, Charlie shares his perspectives on sales reports, rep councils, international sales meetings, manufacturers’ recruiting practices to locate and onboard new reps, 50+ year representative relationships, and ways representatives can protect their lines with proactive communication. It’s a rare opportunity to view representatives through the lens of a manufacturer and a must-listen program for representatives who want to keep their current lines happy and add new lines.
18 minutes | 3 years ago
018: My biggest principal was just sold. What do I do now?
Sometimes a new owner makes things better for reps. More often, a new owner eventually challenges legacy reps to prove their value, or even fires all its reps to save on commissions. Whether the outcome is positive or not positive, the news that your largest principal is always jarring, and the first thing that comes to reps’ minds when that news breaks is “What do I do now?” In this podcast, attorney Thomas J. Kammerait of the law firm von Briesen & Roper, s.c. discusses the rights reps retain and the perils reps face when one of their principals undergoes a change of control.
15 minutes | 3 years ago
017: Women Entrepreneurs – Untapped Rep Talent Pool
In this podcast the first woman member of MANA’s Board of Directors, Michelle Jobst of Jobst Incorporated, Eden Prairie, MN, discusses her recent Agency Sales magazine editorial The Untapped Talent Pool and her own experiences as a woman working in the manufacturers’ representative industry since 1994. Opportunities for women, and opportunities to capitalize on the untapped skills of talented woman entrepreneurs are growing, says Jobst, and companies that flourish will not want to miss their chance to include woman-owned representative firms in their sales network.
8 minutes | 4 years ago
016: 1949 Rep Article Rings True Today
The year was 1947. Harry S Truman was president, the World Series was televised for the first time (the New York Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in seven games), Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, and on October 17, 1947, the Manufacturers’ Agents National Association joined the community of not-for-profit trade associations. Fast forward to July 1949, and MANA members discovered the first, 24-page issue of The Agent and Representative magazine (eventually renamed Agency Sales) in their mailboxes. Digging through the first few issues of The Agent and Representative reveals how much MANA has changed, and also how much it has remained the same. In those first few issues we find sentences like: “I know it’s customary for men to call themselves and believe themselves to be ‘practical men’ to pooh-pooh anything savoring of academic classification in salesmanship.” No thought of women as salespeople or as customers in those earliest editions. But in today’s MANA, woman-owned firms are common and the first woman to join MANA’s Board of Directors does so in May 2017. Another glaring change since 1949 is that, although manufacturers were invited to advertise in our magazine, the articles in that 1949 issue focus solely on the needs of manufacturers’ representatives. Today Agency Sales strives to be relevant to both manufacturers and manufacturers’ representatives and includes articles for both audiences. And, also for the first time, a manufacturer will join MANA’s Board of Directors in May 2017. Those are things that have changed, and changed for the better. Yet, some articles from those early issues could be reprinted today and most readers would have no hint that they were written in 1949. In the very first issue of The Agent and Representative is the story of Bill Herendon, a manufacturers’ representative whose customers pressured his principals to fire Bill and cut the price by the amount of Bill’s commissions. And how Bill, lacking a written agreement, had no recourse when the principal’s new sales manager agreed to that customer’s request.
10 minutes | 4 years ago
015: European Manufacturers’ Representatives
Manufacturers’ representatives are thriving in North America, but that’s not the only place where sales force outsourcing has robust support. European manufacturers’ representatives, known there as commercial agents, are flourishing on the other side of the Atlantic. In this podcast we speak with Olivier Mazoyer, president of commercial agent company AJM Forces de Ventes Associées about his company and how commercial agents work in Europe. Olivier also is president of Alliance Professionelle des Agents Commerciaux de France (APAC), the French counterpart of MANA and of Internationally United Commercial Agents and Brokers (IUCAB), an umbrella association of most European countries’ representative associations and MANA.
5 minutes | 4 years ago
014: Business Networking Group 2.0 – The Rep Council
Business networking groups bring together business owners from a wide range of businesses. A veterinarian, a real estate agent, and a restauranteur could be part of the same networking group, with their only common interest being the desire to bring their business problems to a fresh set of eyes. But what if you could assemble a group who had deep, detailed knowledge of your business and industry instead of choosing your group from random industries? And at about half the cost of joining a business networking group. For manufacturers that sell through manufacturers’ representatives, that industry-specific group is easy to assemble. Just bring together a half dozen of your best representatives to serve on your representative council. In this podcast, MANA CEO and President Charles Cohon discusses the reasons representatives councils are so productive and touches on resources manufacturers can tap to launch their own rep councils.
18 minutes | 4 years ago
013: The Principal Is the Customer
Manufacturers’ representatives famously coddle their customers, the people and companies that buy products from the manufacturers listed on the representatives’ line cards. The manufacturers listed on the representatives’ line card, often referred to as the representatives’ principals, are the entities that send the representatives monthly commission checks. Too often representatives remember to sell to the companies that buy products from the representatives’ line cards and forget to sell to the companies that send the representatives their monthly commission checks. In this podcast, manufacturers’ representative and past MANA Chair Tom Hayward discusses the reasons why it is important for manufacturers’ representatives to remember that even though the customers are their customers, the principals are their customers too.
16 minutes | 4 years ago
012: Export 101 - Selling to Mexico Through Manufacturers’ Representatives
Last year Mexico imported approximately $182 million from U.S. companies. One of the ways U.S. companies can pursue their own slice of that $182 million pie is through manufacturers’ representatives in Mexico. In this podcast MexicoRepresentation.com President Ed Juline describes how U.S. manufacturers can engage with Mexican manufacturers’ representatives and clears up some of the misconceptions U.S. manufactures have about best practices in dealing with customers in Mexico.
46 minutes | 4 years ago
011: Ask the Right Questions
“Questioning is the prequel to selling,” says Manufacturers’ Agents National Association Board Member Stephen Fowler. “The RIGHT questions should discover the RIGHT answers. Questions uncover facts, beliefs, timing, and circumstances. Open minded, curious, goal-directed, RIGHT questioners have interest, enthusiasm, respect and need a special sympathetic intelligence. Armed with the right answers they map the trip and sequence the actions to achieve their goals by fulfilling those of their customers.” In this podcast, Fowler, President of Process Equipment Resources & Consulting Services in Bridgewater, NJ, described best practices in eliciting the information you’ll need to best serve your customers’ needs and to recommend your products that will be most effective in addressing your customers’ pain points.
17 minutes | 4 years ago
010: $76,877,889.41 Commission Judgement
I’ve heard of manufacturers’ representatives going to court and being awarded past due commission on a million-dollar order. I’ve even heard of manufacturers’ representative s going to court and being awarded a million-dollar commission. But this is the first time I’ve heard of a manufacturers’ representative going to court and being awarded a $76,877,889.41 commission judgement. In this podcast manufacturers’ representative Don Hanes and his attorney Anthony Santucci discuss the events that brought them to United State District Court where Hanes was awarded a $76,877,889.41 judgement against his Chinese principal, and the path ahead toward collection that judgement in Chinese courts. Read the judgement at https://www.leagle.com/decision/In%20FDCO%2020160606698/Senah,%20Inc.%20v.%20XI'AN%20Forstar%20S&T%20Co.,%20Ltd.
19 minutes | 4 years ago
009: Why I Love to Find My Competitors’ House Accounts
Why I Love to Find My Competitors’ House Accounts is one of the most popular articles ever to appear in Agency Sales magazine. In this podcast the article’s author, Doyle Evans, president emeritus, Pinnacle Marketing, Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina, discusses how accounts his competitors try to service without a manufacturers’ representative are low-hanging fruit for him to convert to his principals’ products. In the article, Doyle notes, “I’m referring to the principal that assigned a manufacturers’ representative to a territory, but holds back one or more customers as so-called ‘house accounts,’ or customers that will be managed directly by the principal. “The reasons for doing this vary, but usually fall into four categories: “We have 100 percent of the customer’s business, and the rep would add no value. “The business is low margin and we cannot afford to pay commission. “The customer purchases our legacy products, and we are the only game in town. “The customer requested factory-direct coverage, probably thinking that they would receive lower pricing.” When he finds competitors’ house accounts, continues Doyle, these “house accounts can be low-hanging fruit for a multi-line manufacturers’ rep. Even though the direct supplier may call these ‘key accounts,’ truth is, house accounts are often taken for granted by suppliers, as they assume their business is safe or ‘locked in’ and they have a tendency to drop their guard.” And because Doyle recently executed a succession plan to transfer his manufacturers’ representative firm to its next generation, he also shares some insights on how he managed that processs.
17 minutes | 4 years ago
008: 700,000 Manufacturers’ Agents Thriving in Europe and Worldwide
Sales force outsourcing is booming in Europe, says Christian Rebernig, Secretary General of the Internationally United Commercial Agents and Brokers (www.iucab.com). Known commonly in Europe as commercial agents rather than manufacturers’ representative or manufacturers’ agents, companies that provide European sales representation to worldwide manufacturers enjoy productive political and economic climates, says Christian. IUCAB is an umbrella organization of European and other worldwide country representative associations, and maintains a list of country associations where manufacturers seeking reps can launch a search. IUCAB also maintains a searchable database of North American MANA member representative firms that international manufacturers can search to outsource their North American sales activities at http://www.commercialagents-northamerica.com/index.html. Christian shares insights that let North American manufacturers’ representatives know that they have more in common with their international commercial agent counterparts that they might have expected, and let manufacturers know that there is a robust international network of outsourced sales force firms is available to take their products to new markets and customers they never would have reached any other way.
19 minutes | 4 years ago
007: Millennial and Baby Boomer Reps – Baton Pass to the Next Generation
Olympic relay runners routinely pass the baton with graceful finesse, never missing a step. Handoffs from Baby Boomers to Millennials tend not to go that smoothly. Those Olympic athletes have a distinct advantage over the Baby Boomers and Millennials. The athletes know in advance who will pass the baton, who will receive it, and exactly where in the race the baton will be passed. Baby Boomers and Millennials must make those decisions while they are running the race. And the person passing the baton often eager to hang onto it longer than the person who to receive it is wants to wait. To help these two generations better understand each other, Millennial manufacturers’ representative and MANA Board member John Davis and Baby Boomer and MANA CEO Charles Cohon discuss how generational differences affect the ways we work together and manage representative firm succession plans.
14 minutes | 4 years ago
006: First Visit To a New Lawyer: What Happens Before the Clock Starts
Some people can’t bring themselves to visit a dentist. Others struggle to get themselves into their accountant’s office at tax time. And for many, fear of the unknown keeps them from reaching out to a lawyer whose specialty is manufacturers’ representative law. In this episode attorney Matthew Benson discusses the kind of conversation he and most MANA-associated attorneys have with MANA members before the clock on hourly billing starts to run, for example: What are my legal rights? How much will this cost? How do you evaluate my case? How long will this take? What disruptions may be incurred in my business? With Matthew’s insights, we discover that launching a new relationship with a lawyer who specializes in rep law involves minimal cost and absolutely no Novocain.
17 minutes | 4 years ago
005: Preparing to Interview for a New Line
You’ve caught the interest of a manufacturer who needs a representative. The phone interview went well, you’re made it onto the short list of candidates, and the final face-to-face interview is coming up fast. The days when you can “wing it” are gone, say GSA Optimum President John Beaver. What kind of research should you do? What kinds of topics should you cover in your presentation? How should the interview be structured? In this episode John Beaver discusses the best practices in preparing for and delivering your pitch for a new line. “Unless you’re interviewing for the same line we are,” says John, “in which case I highly recommend you wing it.”
23 minutes | 4 years ago
004: Key Elements of a Rep Agreement
It’s more than making sure the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted. A good rep/principal agreement requires strategic thinking before the first clause is even written. In this episode attorney Daniel Beederman reviews the strategy underlying the creation of a successful rep/principal agreement.
24 minutes | 4 years ago
003: The Fatal Unforced Error - Why The Big Line Went Away
The rep was doing a great job for the manufacturer, but the certified letter just arrived in the rep’s office anyway. Why did this happen? Not for the lack of sales activities. Not for the lack of sales. It was for the lack of Backselling. Bottom line, the rep did a great job with customers but a terrible job with the manufacturer. The manufacturer only knew what the rep was telling her, and the rep wasn’t telling her anything. So she assumed the sales were just luck and that the rep was milking her line. In this podcast John Haskell who writes under the pen name Dr. Revenue discusses how reps can backsell to their principals and avoid being terminated, not for a lack of performance, but for a lack of communication.
16 minutes | 4 years ago
002: Canadian Reps - The Same But Different
What’s it like to be a rep or work with reps in Canada? It’s the same as it would be in the United States, but it’s also different. In this podcast we speak with Canadian rep Craig Lindsay, President of Pacesetter Sales & Associates, who share the misconceptions and misunderstandings manufacturers and reps have about how reps operate in Canada. Among the challenges Craig’s firm has mastered is servicing a mostly long and narrow sales territory, some 2,800 miles long but just 100 miles deep. That’s because most of Canada’s commerce occurs within about 100 miles of its border with the United States, although Craig’s salespeople do cover the entire country. Craig brings 25 years of experience in his own firm, eight years of experience on MANA’s Board of Directors, and a commonsense perspective on international commerce to this interview.
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