Representor Winter 2018 - Feature Story

The one percent difference: At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. So what?

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By Liz Beerman

Liz Beerman is past executive director of MRERF/IPA – Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation.

Liz’s background includes extensive terms as director of operations for CQG, Inc., corporate marketing manager for Arrow Electronics and global training in consultative sales and marketing for Hewlett-Packard. A graduate in psychology and education from California State University in Los Angeles, she received her Masters Degree at the University of Northern Colorado.

You can call Liz Beerman at 303-463-1801 or email her at

Boiling water generates steam. With steam, the power to drive an engine is realized. That single degree — the boiling point — differentiates everything. So how does that relate to you?

Here comes a brand-new year. Like your competitors and colleagues, you have got the tools, the plans, the timeline and goals lined up to make 2018 the best, right? However, with every talent you identify in yourself or your resources, new skills you take on and/or new tools you purchase, real frustration at the finish line can too often finish YOU.

Think of the best class, lecture or presentation you have ever heard. Identify that one terrific idea you determined was going to change your life. Did it? Why not?

Think about a single commitment that was likely chipped away with day-to-day, moment-to-moment distractions. Now is the time to realign small steps against the big goal, get up when you fall and follow through on those actions.

This article discusses three key factors that can make a real difference in your 2018 performance: expertise, resilience and action.

These three steps will help set you apart — the one percent difference. Turn up the heat!

1. Expertise

In all major golf tournaments combined, the average margin of victory for the past 25 years was less than three strokes, AND the winner took home an average of 76 percent more in prize money than the second-place finisher.

The theme of ERA’s 2018 Conference is “Tools of Our Trade — Constructing a Successful Future.” To develop and certify sales professionals has been the focus of MRERF over three decades. Founded by ERA members and dedicated to ensuring rep success, MRERF stands with you as you sort these tools to sell more! Members of ERA who have earned the Certified Professional Manufacturers’ Representative (CPMR) and Certified Sales Professional (CSP) designations will attest to the value and power these tools provide.

Your expertise is more than your performance. It is your reputation-building trust in your ability to deliver. It is why customers and manufacturers return to you to partake in that expertise and move business forward. Resolve to increase your expertise starting now. Use or identify tools needed, like steam, to turn up YOUR heat today. Craft no less than three workable resources you will use to advance your expertise. These are your tools, your future.

2. Resilience

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games are almost upon us. Did you know that in the 2014 games the difference between a gold and a silver medal in men’s giant slalom was 0:00:48? That’s 0.48 hundredths of a single second.

How many times did those skiers fall, smash into the rock-hard course and consider not getting up? Your last lost sale might have felt just like that. This is your life. YOU are responsible for the results of your own races.

There is an argument that one cannot run at 212 degrees all the time. At some time or another, we all fall and need help getting up. When you fall down, do you know where to reach for help, internally or externally? Resolve to strengthen YOUR resilience. Identify the one percent difference factors you can grab in your tool box, skill set, internal core strength and available external resources.

3. Action

There is a saying by E. Hubbard: “The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it, so fine that we are often on the line and do not know it.”

Do you believe in the possibility of achieving what you have never even tried? It isn’t the contest; it is the belief that you can do it. Most of us unfortunately are held back thinking we must see it to believe it. Resolve to believe first in the one percent difference, even if you can’t immediately see it.

Your sales can outdo any goal set. Make one more call each day, follow up on one uncomfortable challenge, research one new tool, recognize someone’s one outstanding achievement. Each is an example of the one percent difference that will impact you and your goals for 2018.

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