According to MANA (Manufacturers’ Agents National Association), an important part of maintaining and strengthening customer relationships is for manufacturers’ representatives to “backsell” their value to customer principals. In a recent article, Jerry Leth, Vice-President and General Manager at MANA stated: “when high-quality manufacturers create relationships with professional manufacturers’ representatives, the results way exceed expectations.” With that sage advice in mind, I decided to put this backselling theory to the test.
This past January, I invited Jim Fetcko, President of Ohio Screw Products (OSP), to come to New England for a few days so we could emphasize in person the vast service advantages OSP delivers. My announcing his pending visit to select client and prospects was met with genuine interest. Putting our collective “feet to the street” was appreciatively and warmly received. Even better, the time spent yielded value beyond what we had hoped.
The main purpose of Jim’s visit was to meet some new and prospective customers. In our 2 days, we were able to schedule 5 key visits— four with new prospects, and one with a current customer. As a direct result of those efforts, OSP wound up with three quote packages, and three RFQs pending!
The time together also gave Jim and I the opportunity to enjoy a few lunches and an evening dinner together with one of our customers—valuable time to catch up, review account details, and get important feedback on the ways MARN can increase its value to the lines we represent.
All in all, a positive experience that affirmed MANA’s advice—and a great way to start 2017!