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> TTI’s Michael Knight to Deliver the First General Session at the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference

Nov. 24, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

The 2021 ERA Conference Committee announces that it has selected Michael Knight, President of the TTI Semiconductor Group and Senior Vice President of Business Development at TTI Inc., to present the first General Session — “Musings on the Future of the Electronics Industry and the Electronic Component Supply Chain that Enables It” — on March 1, at the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference, which runs March 1-3.

Knight, a perennial speaker at the ERA Conference and expert with more than 25 years of experience in the electronics field, will deliver a thought-provoking session on the evolution of the electronics industry.

According to Knight, the modern electronics age began to crystalize in the 1920s and since then it has evolved in what appears to be a linear fashion. In the process, life for a growing number of people on the planet has evolved from one driven by the pressures of scarcity to one that is transformed by abundance.

“As we move into this decade, it will become ever more apparent that technology is moving along an exponential curve and that the possibilities ahead of us will dwarf the advances and progress behind us,” Knight explains. “Inherent in all of this is a change to virtually everything. Many industries are already in the throes of upheaval and disruption, and our industry’s turn is soon to come. With current industry trends and operating modes in mind, this presentation is an attempt to construct a three-point harness that we can all use to buckle-up for the exciting ride ahead of us.”

According to General Sessions Sub-Committee Co-Chair, Craig Sanderson, VP Supplier Marketing & Product Management at Sager Electronics, attendees can look forward to Knight’s extensive industry experience, in-depth research and visionary outlook at the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference.

“Through his presentation, Michael will help us explore and reconsider the critical aspects of the global supply chain, which is so important but often taken for granted by our industry. His thoughtful information is sure to be of great value to ERA members as we transition from a tumultuous year toward a promising future,” Sanderson said. “On behalf of the General Sessions Sub-Committee, I want to stress that the opportunity to hear about this important topic will be of interest now, more than ever, to ERA members, including the component manufacturers, distributors, and of course, the manufacturers’ representatives.”

For more information about the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference, visit https://era.org/era-events/era-conference/.

About ERA
The 85-year-old Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) is the international trade organization for professional field sales companies in the global electronics industries, manufacturers who go to market through representative firms and global distributors. It is the mission of ERA to support the professional field sales function through programs and activities that educate, inform and advocate for manufacturers’ representatives, the principals they represent and the distributors who are reps’ partners in local territories. For more information about ERA, visit era.org.

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> ERA Water Cooler: Tips for Trusted Industry News Among the Chaos

Nov. 20, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

An audio recording of the Nov. 17 ERA Water Cooler, “Tips for Trusted Industry News Among the Chaos,” is now available on the ERA website.

In this program, three media experts discuss how to verify news while removing bias in a news content analysis. The panelists unpack how to find trusted industry news across many platforms.

This ERA Water Cooler session was facilitated by Walter Tobin, ERA CEO and co-facilitated by Steve Cholas, Vice President/Business Development for Big Zeta; Barb Jorgenson, Editor-in-Chief for Aspencore (formerly EPSNews); and Bolaji Ojo, CEO of DataSights GmbH, media executive.

Visit the Audio Library to listen to all past ERA Water Cooler sessions.

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> ERA Podcast — A Peek Behind the Curtain of the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference

Nov. 20 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

A group of more than 50 talented and enthusiastic industry reps, distributors and manufacturers who serve on the 2021 ERA Conference Committee, or one of its four sub-committees, have been working tirelessly to develop a dynamic and fully immersive educational and networking experience, bringing you the best topics by the best speakers.

In this latest episode of ERA Talks, Erin Collins, Events Coordinator for ERA, as well as Conference Committee Chair Craig Anderson, CPMR, President and Owner of Sumer Inc., and Conference Vice Chair Bryan White, CPMR, VP of Catalyst Unity Solutions, discuss details about the new virtual format of the 2021 ERA Conference and what attendees can expect during the three-day educational and networking virtual event, scheduled March 1-3, 2021.

Tune in to get a peek behind the curtain of this must-attend industry event of the year.
All ERA Talks podcasts are currently available on the ERA website. You can also subscribe to our podcast channel on one of the following podcast networks — Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music and now on iHeart Radio.

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> Now Available: 2021 ERA Virtual Conference Sponsorship Opportunities

Nov. 19 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

The Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) invites you to become a sponsor of the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference, “Stronger Together: Reconnecting & Reinventing for Success,” scheduled March 1-3.

Your sponsorship will support the conference’s vital educational programming and provide electronics reps, manufacturers and distributors the opportunity to connect, learn and collaborate during these new and challenging times.

To reflect the new virtual format of the event, these updated 2021 conference sponsorships opportunities offer many excellent benefits via the virtual platform as outlined in a detailed benefits grid, including:

  • The opportunity to host a virtual booth, showcase company products and services, and connect with attendees one-on-one
  • Robust virtual attendee-to-attendee and attendee-to-sponsor networking opportunities
  • Various pre, during and post-conference promotions on the ERA website, publications and virtual event platform
  • Complimentary conference registrations
  • Special mentions and acknowledgements

To reserve your sponsorship level, review the complete list of benefits and register as a sponsor, visit 2021 Sponsorships Opportunities.

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> Gerald Newman Named Recipient of the ERA Lifetime Achievement Award

Nov. 10, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

The Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) announces that Gerald Newman, a partner in the law firm of Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell & Glazer LLC and ERA Legal Counsel, is the recipient of the ERA Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award was presented to Newman during the ERA Mid-Year Board Meeting held virtually on Oct. 29, 2020, in recognition of his service to the electronics industry, manufacturers’ representatives, and ERA.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was created to recognize individuals who play an integral role in supporting the manufacturers’ representative model in the electronics industry.

For five decades, Newman has provided outstanding legal support to thousands of manufacturers’ representatives leveraging his expertise in trade association representation, sales rep matters, commission collection issues, corporate mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buy-outs, business continuation and succession plans and financing, business counseling, estate planning, and intellectual property matters.

He has written many articles dealing with rep issues and has conducted numerous seminars for trade and professional associations on manufacturer-rep-principal issues and general business matters.

ERA President Chuck Tanzola, CPMR, of Fusion Sourcing Group Inc., who presented the award, said, “It gives me great pleasure to present Gerry Newman the ERA Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of and with the deepest and sincerest gratitude for his legal guidance, wisdom and friendship to the ERA community.”

ERA Chairman of the Board David Norris of Norris & Associates Inc. added, “We want to take this opportunity to thank Gerry who has made such a difference in our industry and in our profession. It is hard to measure the impact that Gerry has had on our industry during his decades of support of the manufacturers’ representatives’ role and enhancing the relationship between manufacturers and manufacturers’ reps.”

“I am truly humbled to be the recipient of the ERA Lifetime Achievement Award,” Newman said. “I was fortunate to work alongside great mentors such as Ray Hall, Tim Coakley and Bob Trinkle, who taught me about the role of the independent sales representative, the electronics industry, ERA and the strength of an active association, not just through membership, but actually participating in programs and activities. I thank all my good friends at ERA for bestowing this honor upon me. I will cherish the memories. It has been a two-way street. I’ve learned much more from you than you may have learned from me.”

About ERA

The 85-year-old Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) is the international trade organization for professional field sales companies in the global electronics industries, manufacturers who go to market through representative firms and global distributors. It is the mission of ERA to support the professional field sales function through programs and activities that educate, inform and advocate for manufacturers’ representatives, the principals they represent and the distributors who are reps’ partners in local territories. For more information about ERA, visit era.org.

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> ERA Water Cooler: Staying Connected to Your Employees

Nov. 6, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

An audio recording of the Nov. 3 Water Cooler session, “Staying Connected to Your Employees,” is now live on the ERA website. Over the course of the year, how we stay connected to employees has changed drastically. This program welcomed three ERA members discussing tried and true ways to communicate with staff, keep up morale, maintain a personal touch, and promote balance while sustaining expectations in the remote work environment. The discussion also included how to manage performance reviews virtually, onboarding tips and challenges, and finding new talent remotely.

The ERA Water Cooler was facilitated by Walter Tobin, ERA CEO and co-facilitated by John O’Brien, VP for Coakley, Boyd and Abbett; Gary Zullo, Director of Sales, Passive, Electromechanical and Interconnect for Arrow Electronics; and John Guetens, North American Sales Manager for E-T-A Circuit Breakers.

To listen to past ERA Water Cooler conferences, visit our Audio Library.

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> 2021 ERA Virtual Conference Keynote Speaker Announced

November 2, 2020
Contact: Neda Simeonova / Communications Director / nsimeonova@era.org

The Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) is excited to announce that the ERA Conference Keynote Sub-Committee has selected Kevin Brown as the keynote speaker to kick-off the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference, “Stronger Together: Reconnecting & Reinventing for Success,” scheduled for March 1-3.

Brown’s unconventional path to business and personal success has taught him that winning in business and life requires anything but conventional thinking. With a streetwise aptitude and a never-quit attitude, he worked his way from the front lines in business to the executive boardroom. For nearly two decades, Brown was a sales and marketing executive that helped grow a little-known family business into an industry giant with annual revenues reaching two billion dollars. After a career in franchising, he decided to retire from corporate America and pursue his passion for bringing The HERO Effect message to as many people and organizations as possible.

On March 1 at 10:30 a.m. EST, join fellow industry peers at ERA’s first virtual conference for Brown’s keynote address — “The Hero Effect – Being Your Best When It Matters The Most!” — that will deliver a simple yet powerful message rooted in Brown’s philosophy for life that drives every thought and action, and ultimately every result achieved both personally and professionally.

Through his presentation, Brown hopes to inspire attendees to achieve greater results by eliminating “ordinary” thinking and mastering the habit of excellence; own the moments that matter (and they all matter) by taking responsibility for their attitude, their actions and their results; and create meaningful relationships and deliver an extraordinary experience for every “customer” at work and at home.

“As we navigate through these uncertain times, we are excited to have Kevin Brown as our keynote speaker for the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference,” said Adam Grigor, President, Tech-Trek Ltd. and Keynote Sub-Committee Co-Chair. “Brown’s energy and passion will strongly resonate, through the virtual medium, to all employees in an organization. Attendees can expect to be entertained and energized around Brown’s core message of ‘The HERO Effect’; embracing change, looking inward to improve oneself, and coming out of this period stronger by working together.”

Gary Zullo, Director of Sales, Passive, Electromechanical and Interconnect, Arrow Electronics and Keynote Sub-Committee Co-Chair, added, “With the migration of the 2021 ERA Annual Conference to a virtual model, it is especially important for our keynote speaker to engage our membership and set the tone for our conference right from the start. In Kevin Brown, the Keynote Sub-Committee has selected a high energy, professional speaker, whose messaging is not only relevant for the current environment, but will also resonate with actionable takeaways whether you are a business owner, leader of people or individual contributor.”

Watch Kevin Brown’s keynote presentation preview video, “The Hero Effect – Being Your Best When It Matters The Most!”

For more information about the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference or to register, visit https://era.org/era-events/era-conference/.

About ERA
The 85-year-old Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) is the international trade organization for professional field sales companies in the global electronics industries, manufacturers who go to market through representative firms and global distributors. It is the mission of ERA to support the professional field sales function through programs and activities that educate, inform and advocate for manufacturers’ representatives, the principals they represent and the distributors who are reps’ partners in local territories. For more information about ERA, visit era.org.

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> You are now entering the Twilight Zone

From the Top, The Representor, Fall 2020

by Chuck Tanzola, CPMR, ERA President

Chuck Tanzola, CPMR
ERA President
ctanzola@fusionsourcing.com

“You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Next stop … the Twilight Zone!”

With some variation, these were Rod Serling’s opening words for the 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone that aired over five years from 1959 – 1964. (I remember watching the re-runs). For those who are unfamiliar with the show, Wikipedia summarizes it this way:

“Each episode presents a stand-alone story in which characters find themselves dealing with often disturbing or unusual events, an experience described as entering ‘the Twilight Zone,’ often with a surprise ending and a moral.”

In my last article for The Representor, “Toto, I’ve a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore,” I spoke of three periods related to the pandemic, which I called Survival, Searching and Stability. (I’ve since come to favor the terms Triage, Transition and Transformation, but regardless of the term you prefer, the concept is the same.) Today, I would like to share a few thoughts related to our current, collective “Twilight Zone” experience; each of the periods I previously identified, and the journey to that “wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination.”

In my previous column, I wrote that the initial Triage period had largely passed. While I still believe that, as the widespread effects of the pandemic linger, we may see increasing inability to survive on the part of some companies. This could lead to renewed emergency survival tactics and merger and acquisition activity. My first thought is this: I sure hope it doesn’t last for five years!

As I think about the Transition period we find ourselves in, I begin with a question: “What is the connection between Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, The Beatles, James Brown, Fats Domino, Bill Haley & The Comets, Brenda Lee, Peggy Lee, Trini Lopez, Muddy Waters, Tom Jones, Jay & The Americans, The Everly Brothers, Dean Reed, Sammy Davis Jr., Little Richard, and Wilbert Harrison?“ Yes, they are all performers, but there is a unique connection beyond that fact; and I suspect that for most of us that connection is not as easily made. This is analogous to a challenge we all have today — making connections.

During this time, the “rules” are shifting. How we connect with customers, channel partners, manufacturers and industry, in general, continues to evolve.

As work from home, social distancing and the lack of in-person meetings continue, feeling connected is harder than ever for each of us, our employees, and likely for every member of the industry. Despite all our advanced communications technology, we need to be aware that people feel less connected than ever before. What hasn’t diminished though, is the importance of connection. My second thought is this: Investing in a proactive and consistent connection strategy is more critical than ever before.

In this column, I have customarily promoted the ERA Conference; typically held annually in Austin, Texas, in late February/early March.

As you undoubtedly know by now, we will be transitioning to a virtual format for 2021. While nothing is typical right now, our conference committee has demonstrated a consistent ability to provide a world-class conference filled with valuable content; and I expect the 2021 ERA Conference to be no different in that regard. With the particularly apropos 2021 conference theme, “Stronger Together: Reconnecting and Reinventing for Success” — enhanced participation in the virtual ERA Conference is a great part of a proactive connection strategy.

As I consider the journey to the transformation of a post-COVID-19 world, let’s start with the inevitable question posed on every journey: Are we there yet?

In short … no, we are not there yet. Our GPS is constantly “re-calculating.” So, what will it be like when we get there? What is the surprise ending and what will be the lesson(s) of COVID-19? “Imagine if you will …” is a familiar Serling Twilight Zone expression; and in staying with our theme, some of my thoughts are as follows:

Imagine if you will … a time when the rapid implementation of innovative and new sales strategies and tactics are understood as the acceleration of strategic process imperatives as opposed to a reactive response to situationally dictated limitations.

Imagine if you will … a time when sales effort is judged not by the number of miles traveled to customer locations. A time when video sales calls are accepted as an additional sales technique as opposed to a compromise alternative sales methodology.

Imagine if you will … a time when we will return to travel and to in-person industry connection events – when “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” is once again more applicable than “What happens in the basement, …”

Imagine if you will … a time when being valuable is the result of your developed connections, capabilities, ideas, skills and experiences, and being valued is an acknowledgment of those developments, connections and contributions, independent of the company name on the business card.

Imagine if you will … a time when the “new normal” is no longer the “new normal,” but rather just Normal … “… a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination.”

“Imagine if you will …” These are just a few of my thoughts. What are yours?
Send me your ideas at ctanzola@fusionsourcing.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Full disclosure: I originally planned the title of this column to be “I’m Going to Kansas City” as a follow up to my previous column and based on a Leiber and Stoller song that reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the year I was born, but the Twilight Zone theme just seems more appropriate. For the trivia buffs in the reading audience, that song was also named one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs That Shaped Rock & Roll” and each of the performers listed above recorded that song — a rather unique connection.

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> Stay the course or full speed ahead – what ship are you the captain of?

Executive Commentary, The Representor, Fall 2020

All of us want to be recognized as ‘the company’ that continues to get things done despite COVID and have others ask: ‘How do they do it?’

Walter E. Tobin, ERA CEO
wtobin@era.org
T: 617-901-4088

by Walter E. Tobin, ERA CEO

By now all of us want to emerge from our basements, bedrooms, attics, family rooms, kitchens — our so-called offices since early March — to get back to our normal, pre-COVID-19 lives. We dream of putting on business clothes, perhaps a collared shirt, maybe even a tie (Do I even remember how to tie a tie; full Windsor or half-Windsor knot?). We dream of wearing a suit … Gosh, no! I do not even remember where my suits are! But just think how good would it feel to put on our work attire, get in our car, stop at Starbucks, walk-in and order our favorite drink (no face mask) and head to the airport to fly somewhere to visit someone to talk about something …

Did we ever think we would miss the small and mundane things that we used to dread or even complained about? Do we miss being the Road Warrior who set out to win the day for our company, to bring in a new customer, to win a new design, to book an order, or just to see an old business friend/customer?

I never thought I would miss it — the action, the thrill of the hunt, the back and forth bartering and bantering, the satisfaction we get when we book the order, get an appointment, get our products approved for a new design, meet a new procurement professional, meet the new design engineer, sign that new line — all to make sure that our company is positioned to stay ahead of our competition. This is all while providing a living for our employees and our families.

So, what has really changed? Certainly, clothing!

We find ourselves living in a much more casual environment, sometimes perhaps too casual. We are meeting with folks now on Zoom and Teams calls, still face to face, just not in person.

Many of us have worked hard since March to develop a cadence with our customers, our manufacturers, our rep/channel partners and our own teams to keep us all aligned and connected. We are all to be applauded for being able to pivot to this “new abnormal” world.

What is it that we cannot do today? Not much. All the tools are in place for us to conduct business in this virtual world with others who are also in their own virtual world. They, too, are working hard to maintain their relationships with the U.S. on behalf of their companies; sometimes we forget that.

A major challenge that all of us are perhaps struggling with is how to find new customers, or new personnel at our existing customers, to get new products designed in, to get samples delivered, to get our new products approved. Those folks and companies who figure this out will be the winners. And others may be telling themselves that this is simply not possible without an in-person meeting, that this cannot be done today, only after we get out from under the restrictions of COVID-19.

So, it seems to me that we have only two choices. The first choice is STAY THE COURSE. Do what we can to maintain our book of business. Convince our principals that “we are doing all we can and working hard to grow, but the darn pandemic is just not allowing us to do our jobs!” After all, “we are best when we are out in front of the customer … hard for us to find new customers without being out and about … how can you expect me to grow your customer base when I cannot go and visit them?”

The second choice is FULL SPEED AHEAD. Accept that this “new abnormal” will be here for a while; perhaps another year! We can accept the restrictions of travel, customer visitations and that one-on-one, in-person interactions are way off. We can embrace the notion that a Zoom/Teams face-to-face call is the same as an in-person visit. We can learn how to do a virtual call correctly. We can plan for them like we would an in-person visit. We can make sure that we have up-to-date equipment and sufficient bandwidth to not get thrown off the air. We can try to have a professional venue in our home office to conduct business free from interruptions by other family members (the dog barking or the kids interrupting is no longer funny) and do this with professional and agnostic backgrounds to not polarize the other party. And then to bring these new skills into the post-COVID world, whenever that may be.

Our customers are also learning these new ways of doing business. Some may even embrace the video face-to-face call as the same as an in-person visit. They may not want you to visit as often or perhaps at all when that becomes possible. What would their reaction be if we insist on going back to the pre-COVID ways? You may risk losing a customer, a principle, or a key employee. Remember, your employees are looking to YOU as leaders to guide them, to teach them new tricks, to provide them with the latest and best IT tools, to empower them and to hold them accountable to their goals.

Our principles will not accept missed design goals, bookings and billings goals, funnel updates, etc., just because of COVID. All of us want to be recognized as “the company” that continues to get things done despite COVID and have others ask: “How do they do it?”

So, the choice is yours. Stay the course, be safe, do not rock the boat. The pandemic will end soon and we will be back in business.

OR … embrace the new world. Learn new ways of doing business; get good at it, practice, upgrade your tools, take your game to the next level. If you don’t, I guarantee that your competition is. Do not get left behind. Now is the time to accept that we will be in this for a lot longer than any of us had expected or wanted.

Hop on board, full speed ahead!

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> ERA Water Cooler: “Refreshing Your Website and Digital Image During COVID-19”

Oct. 23, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

An audio recording of the Oct. 20 ERA Water Cooler, “Refreshing Your Website and Digital Image During COVID-19” is now live.

In this session, two digital media experts discussed valuable tips for improving a company’s overall digital image. The conversation touched on topics such as what people look for in a website, SEO, social media best practices, and adding calls to action for measurable results.

This session was facilitated by Walter Tobin, ERA CEO, and co-facilitated by Emma Gaedeke, Co-Founder and Director, Upright Labs for Upright, and Danielle Gaglioti, Co-Founder and Innovation Lead for Upright.

To listen to past ERA Water Cooler conferences, visit our Audio Library.

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> ERA Podcast — Association Collaboration: Women in Electronics

Oct. 15, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

The latest episode of ERA Talks, “Association Collaboration: Women in Electronics,” is now live. In this podcast episode, Jackie Mattox, founder and president of Women in Electronics (WE) discusses WE’s gender parity efforts, goals, expansion, history, and the collaboration with industry leaders and associations to better the electronics industry.

All ERA Talks podcasts are currently available on the ERA website. You can also subscribe to our podcast channel on one of the following podcast networks — Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and now on Amazon Music.

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> ERA Water Cooler: A View of the Pandemic — Manufacturer’s Insight

Wed., Oct. 7, 2020
Source Electronics Representatives Association

An audio recording of the Oct. 6 ERA Water Cooler, “A View of the Pandemic — Manufacturer’s Insight,” is now live.

In this episode, two electronics manufacturers share their views on the pandemic. The discussion focused on what manufacturers expect from their reps and from the channel, as well as what they think reps could be doing better. Attendees and listeners also had the opportunity to gain valuable manufacturer’s insight on other topics, including how to be creative with building (digital) relationships, how best to approach virtual opportunities, and the manufacturer’s outlook on travel and the return of face-to-face meetings.

The session was facilitated by Walter Tobin, ERA CEO, and co-facilitated by Gary Mountford, Vice President, Head of Sales Americas, C&K Components and Kris Whitehouse, Vice President Sales Americas, Omron Electronic Components.

To listen to past ERA Water Cooler conferences, visit our Audio Library.

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> In Memoriam of Joe Penna

ERA is saddened to report the passing of Joe Penna on Aug. 28, 2020 . He was 87.

Penna was the founder of the sales representative firm Precision Marketing Services Inc. (Florida). Originally from Linden, New Jersey, Penna joined the Air Force and was a member of one of the original crews to fly the B-52. He subsequently became an electrical engineer and president of manufacturing plants in Fall River, Mass., and Bridgeview, Ill.

He is survived by his beloved wife Sonia (Sonny) and his sons Scott and David, daughter-in-law Stephanie and grandchildren Mason, Aubrey and Sydney.

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> ERA Quick Connections – September V2

September 2020, Volume 2

ERA’s Quick Connections is issued twice a month. ERA invites you to share recent newsworthy items and calendar dates with your fellow members at info@era.org.

Monthly POS Reports

Budde Marketing, which provides monthly POS Index reports to ERA members, issued its latest summary, running from January 2018 through July 2020. Visit era.org to view the new index. According to the new report, July POS activity declined, with July 2020 being 8 percent lower than July 2019, 5 percent lower than July 2018 and 8 percent below the index base point of January 2018. On a positive note, July was 6 percent above the worst month of the year (May) and the stock market continues to improve. There still is a great deal of uncertainty for 2020 POS for the balance of the year and forecasting 2020 POS remains a questionable exercise. For details on Budde Marketing’s services, visit BuddeMarketing.com.

Industry News

Global shipments of wearable devices are expected to total 396 million units in 2020. This marks a 14.5 percent increase from the 345.9 million units shipped in 2019. Read more at SGBMedia.

The Trump administration has placed new restrictions on exports to Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), one of China’s most advanced makers of computer chips. The measure, which could cut SMIC off from the American software and other technology it needs to make its products, comes as the Trump administration takes a harsher stance against Chinese technology companies that it has deemed a national security threat. Read more at NYTimes.

The worldwide edge computing market will reach $250.6 billion in 2024 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.5 percent over the 2019–2024 forecast period. “While no technology market has been spared from the economic impact of COVID-19, edge market suppliers are poised to experience sustained growth throughout the forecast from enterprise and service provider investments,” said Marcus Torchia of IDC’s Customer Insights & Analysis group. Read more at IDC.

Vendor revenue from sales of IT infrastructure products for cloud environments, including public and private cloud, increased 34.4 percent year over year in the second quarter of 2020 (2Q20). Investments in traditional, non-cloud, IT infrastructure declined 8.7 percent year over year in 2Q20. Read more at BusinessWire.

Women in Electronics (WE) is hosting its 4th Annual Leadership Conference on Nov. 10. The event agenda will cover relevant topics, including silent issues that impact productivity and profits, unconscious bias awareness, navigating interactive virtual presentations, reaching end users digitally, thriving through change, and industry innovation. For more information, visit WE.

ERA News

The 2021 ERA Conference will be a fully virtual event. The virtual conference is tentatively scheduled March 1-3, 2021, with final dates and conference program to be finalized in the upcoming weeks. For more details or to pre-register for the event, visit ERAConference.

ERA congratulates Karin Derkacz on her anniversary of 50 years of service. Karin joined ERA on Sept. 28, 1970. During her five decades at ERA, Karin has been and remains the association’s touchpoint for countless current, former and retired members, including many multi-generation ERA families. Her contribution, loyalty and dedication are the foundation of our success and represent the true spirit of ERA. Read more ERANews.

ERA has released a new white paper, “An Introduction to Manufacturers’ Sales Reps: Building a Mutually Successful Foundation for Growth,” by Cesare Giammarco, Special Consultant to ERA. The white paper is now available on the ERA website. ERA member login is required to access the document.

Listen to the latest episode of ERA Talks featuring an interview with Moe Elghrawi, Sr. Electrical Engineer for Aptiv, and Chad Bryner, Sr. Hardware Engineer for Sentient Energy, who discuss the answers to what customers want and need from a manufacturers’ rep in the new abnormal. Tune in at ERATalks.

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> ERA Thanks Karin Derkacz for 50 Years of Service

September 28, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

The Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) congratulates Karin Derkacz on her anniversary of 50 years of service.

Video: Congratulations Karin Derkacz on 50 Years of Service

Karin joined ERA on Sept. 28, 1970. During her five decades at ERA, Karin has been and remains the association’s touchpoint for countless current, former and retired members, including many multi-generation ERA families.

She has held various roles, including executive assistant to the CEO; managing the planning and implementation of all meetings of the national executive committee national board and staff; coordinating the registration process, exhibitor participation and hotel room reservations for all national conferences and assisting with all ERA White Pin events; serving as office manager for the 40+ years of her tenure that ERA maintained an office in downtown Chicago; maintaining the ERA membership and other databases and issuing all related reports; coordinating ERA’s Lines Available service; and many more.

Earlier this year, at the 2020 ERA Conference in Austin, Texas, ERA recognized Karin with the Fourth Annual Tess Hill Award for her longevity of service to ERA, for inspiring volunteerism in its highest form and for her dedication to ERA’s educational mission.

ERA CEO Walter E. Tobin, “We are truly fortunate and grateful to have Karin in our ERA family. Throughout the years, she has been the voice of ERA, connecting with everyone who reaches out to the association for any reason. Her contribution, loyalty and dedication are the foundation of our success and represent the true spirit of ERA.”

Please join us in wishing Karin a Happy 50th Anniversary!

Send Karin personal congratulations via LinkedIn or at kderkacz@era.org.

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> 2021 ERA Conference Is Going Virtual

The Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) and the 2021 ERA Conference Planning Committee are excited to announce that the 2021 ERA Conference will be a fully virtual event.

The transition of the 2021 ERA Conference from an in-person to a virtual event was necessitated by the pandemic, social distancing regulations and travel restrictions that have made it inadvisable to safely hold a traditional in-person conference.

The dedicated volunteer members of the Conference Planning Committee and ERA are working hard to ensure that the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference delivers an exceptional online learning platform that offers attendees an interactive education and networking experience.

The 2021 ERA Virtual Conference is tentatively scheduled March 1-3, 2021, with final dates and conference program to be confirmed in the upcoming weeks.

New sponsorship opportunities and registration information will be forthcoming.

If you have made hotel room reservations at the AT&T Center, you are responsible for canceling your booking. Please contact the hotel reservations department directly at 1-877-744-8822.

Questions? Contact Conference Coordinator Erin Collins at ecollins@era.org or visit 2021 ERA Virtual Conference.

2021 CONFERENCE COMMITTEE
Craig Anderson, CPMR, Sumer Inc., Conference Committee Chair
Bryan White, CPMR, Catalyst Unity Solutions, Conference Vice Chair
Lori Bruno, Luscombe Engineering of San Francisco
Tom Griffin, CPMR, Catalyst Unity Solutions
Adam Grigor, Tech-Trek Ltd.
John Hutson, CPMR, The MacInnis Group
Scott Lindberg, CPMR, Quell Corporation
Todd McAtee, Mouser Electronics
Holly Myers, CPMR, Genie Group
Craig Sanderson, Sager Electronics
Bryan Teen, CPMR, Tech Marketing Inc.
Gary Zullo, Arrow Electronics

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> MRERF/IPA Announces 2021 CPMR Hybrid Program

For Release September 1, 2020

Golden, CO — The CPMR subcommittee with support of the Board of Directors have determined a hybrid event for the upcoming CPMR program in January 2021 will be our method of delivery for participants.

Flexibility to Participate

By providing a hybrid experience, MRERF/IPA will be able to provide options for participants to begin, continue or complete the CPMR program during these unusual times for all. Our team was able to come to this decision due to the overwhelming responses from participants to surveys related to CPMR and its delivery method.

As with participants, we understand our faculty may not desire to be on-site in Austin so we are extending options to them for how they will deliver content to participants. We will honor their decision as each person should evaluate their own risk and do what is best for them individually.

This may change the feel of CPMR as we know from the past, but we believe this can be an exciting time to bring new content learned from this collective experience. We can be together with a familiar program and cohorts in January. You may find more information about CPMR and registration details here .

Safety Considerations

Kate Rhoten, Executive Director of MRERF/IPA, continues to work closely with the team at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center to plan CPMR unlike any other. Participants will be able to select to attend CPMR in-person or attend virtually.

As we prepare for CPMR 2021, we will be communicating the safety protocols that have been put in place. Please visit mrerf.org/covid-19 for more information from the AT&T Hotel and Conference Center and the Centers for Disease Control. AT&T has begun holding meetings and events. Over time, these safety protocols most likely will evolve – please return to this page for information as we get closer to CPMR.

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The Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation (aka MRERF) is the creative energy behind educational programs offered by the Institute for Professional Advancement (IPA). The Foundation prepares curriculum and resource material about representative-manufacturer partnerships available to academia and business communities, including MRERF partnering associations and their constituents.

MRERF.org
1301 Arapahoe St., Ste. 105
T: 303.463.1801
Golden, CO 80401

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> ERA Quick Connections – September V1

September 2020, Volume 1

ERA’s Quick Connections is issued twice a month. ERA invites you to share recent newsworthy items and calendar dates with your fellow members at info@era.org.

Manufacturing Data Reports

Manufacturing data reports from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) are released at the beginning of every month and can be accessed at ISM. The latest report says economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in August, with the overall economy notching a fourth consecutive month of growth. Also, of the 18 manufacturing industries included in the report, the computer and electronic products sector was one of 13 industries reporting growth in August.

Industry News

According to IDC, vendor revenue in the worldwide server market grew 19.8 percent year over year to $24 billion during the second quarter of 2020 (2Q20). Worldwide server shipments grew 18.4 percent year over year to nearly 3.2 million units in 2Q20. Read more at BusinessWire.

Worldwide sales of semiconductors were $35.2 billion in July 2020, 4.9 percent more than the July 2019 total of $33.5 billion and 2.1 percent greater than the June 2020 total of $34.5 billion, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) reported. Read more at SIA.

The U.S. mobile worker population will grow at a steady rate over the next four years, increasing from 78.5 million in 2020 to 93.5 million mobile workers in 2024. By the end of the forecast period, mobile workers are projected to account for nearly 60 percent of the total U.S. workforce. Read more at IDC.

Total North American PCB shipments were up 10.1 percent in July 2020 compared to the same month last year. However, compared to the preceding month, July shipments fell 15.7 percent. Read more at Evertiq.

Women in Electronics (WE) announced that it is going global, with chapter expansions into Europe. As part of the initiative, WE will be hosting a virtual Meet and Greet on Sept. 16 at 4 p.m. CET. For more information, visit WE-Europe.

ERA News

Last chance to advertise in the Fall 2020 issue of The Representor. Ad placement includes a free three-month banner ad on the ERA website and a 20 percent discount on all classified ad rates for ERA members. Reserve your ad by Sept. 14, 2020 at Representor.

The audio recording of the Sept. 8 ERA Water Cooler is now live on the ERA website. The call features a conversation with attorney Andrew Bell of Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell and Glazer LLC who covered updates and details surrounding current legal and tax topic such as PPP loans, economic nexus laws, succession planning and valuing/selling/buying a rep company. Don’t miss the next ERA Water Cooler which will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 4:00 p.m. EDT. For login information, visit ERAWaterCooler.

Take advantage of early registration and sponsorship opportunities for the 2021 ERA Conference. For more information or to register, visit ConferenceRegistration.

ERA Chapters are continuing to plan virtual chapter events to keep members, connected, engaged and in the know. For more information and up-to-date chapter activities, visit ERAChapterEvents.

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> ‘Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore’

The Representor, Summer 2020
From the Top

by Chuck Tanzola, CPMR
The Fusion Sourcing Group Inc.
ERA President
ctanzola@fusionsourcing.com

In the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy says to her dog at one point, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” It’s a phrase that has come to mean that we have stepped outside of what is considered normal; we have entered a place or circumstance that is unfamiliar and uncomfortable; we have found ourselves in a strange situation. “Outside of normal, unfamiliar, uncomfortable, strange …” — sounds like life in 2020 where many are relegated to their basement and talking to their dogs, or having their cats walk across their keyboard as Bryan Teen, CPMR, president of Tech Marketing, pointed out on a recent ERA Water Cooler video call … but I digress.

Unlike in the movie, however, we cannot close our eyes, click our heels three times, think, “there’s no place like home,” and return to the normal, familiar and comfortable.

As I consider what we are facing with respect to COVID-19, I think about three distinct periods, which I’ve labeled Survival, Searching and Stability. (I was going to call them phases but it seems like the states have dominated that terminology, so I will purposely avoid it.)

Period 1 – Survival | The Pandemic Outbreak

In this first period, as the reality of an accelerating pandemic materialized, our survival instincts kicked in and we focused on health, safety and well-being; but also on implementing disaster mitigation plans; re-adjusting our immediate activities; and spending a lot of time telling ourselves (and anyone who would listen) that everything would be okay and we’ll get through it, while wondering privately, “Will it really be okay?” (You might also call it the “OMG” phase). Of course, individual experiences shape our outlook, so while this might not be universally true, for the most part, I think we are well through this phase and thinking about what comes next.

Period 2 – Searching | Looking to Reopen

So, what does come next? As I write this column, we are seeing many businesses searching for how to reopen under varied, changing and often confusing government rules, regulations and executive orders coupled with the companies’ own internal guidelines and convictions. In this period of searching, for some, the goal is to see a path to return to the familiar. For others, learning from our time of mass isolation mandates a vision of change. The natural tension created by this dichotomy of views compounds feelings of uncertainty. This is where I feel we are today.

Period 3 – Stability | Beyond COVID-19 (BC19)

If today we are searching, then tomorrow we will move toward a new equilibrium beyond COVID-19. I have named that period “stability.” When that will be seems to be a moving target, but I have no doubt that a) it will happen; and b) it will encompass a combination of the best of the familiar enhanced with lessons learned during this pandemic; and c) by definition it will be different.

As we consider what stability will look like and how we get there, it would be nice to be able to peek behind the curtain to ask the great and powerful Oz. Naturally, we cannot, but perhaps it would be instructive to apply some principles from another wizard to our industry.

Over his 27 year career, John Wooden, nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood,” coached the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team to 620 victories (including one winning streak of 88 straight games) and a record-setting 10 national titles in 12 years (with an unprecedented and likely never repeated seven consecutive championships). Coach John Wooden taught the world that integrity and character are the cornerstones of success. Three of the maxims that Wooden taught within his Pyramid of Success are as follows.

Be true to yourself. Given the pressure to “change something” in the midst of disruption, it is paramount to know and promote your value proposition — not trying to become something you are not but enhancing that which you are.

The unique combination of characteristics which a manufacturers’ representative brings to the industry — local knowledge and flavor, synergy of non-competitive offerings, developed trusted advisor relationships — has inherent value to customers, manufacturers and channel partners, and transcends the capability of video conferencing to replicate it (no matter how many “Hollywood Squares” you have).

The specific combination of goods and services that each manufacturer offers to the market base makes your company distinct. Focus on your core competencies and amplify your distinctives. Does anyone really believe that it is in an automaker’s long-term strategic interest to produce ventilators?

Providing a channel for distributing products to the marketplace and the myriad of services and complexities associated with that function are best served by those well equipped to do so.

Fundamentally, being true to yourself is about maintaining the essence of an entity.

Flexibility is the key to stability. Flexibility is about adapting to changing conditions and circumstances. In the realm of coaching basketball, it is about adjusting the game plan as needs dictate. It doesn’t change the characteristics of the team and its members, but rather applies those members in different ways. I am truly in awe of the creative adaptation that I have seen (usually on a video conference) in the industry during this time.

Be at your best when your best is needed. This is the top of Coach Wooden’s pyramid and it serves as a daily call to action. Getting through the pandemic will take our brains, no doubt, some courage, and a lot of heart. The collective best in all of us is needed and will make us stronger as we travel through this time together!

As always, I welcome your comments and feedback and can be reached at ctanzola@fusionsourcing.com.

P.S. Don’t forget to mark down Feb. 28 – March 2, 2021, on your calendar for next year’s ERA Conference. I hope to see you in Austin!

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> The times they are a-changin’

The Representor, Summer 2020
Executive Commentary

by Walter E. Tobin
ERA CEO
wtobin@era.org
T: 617-901-4088

The summer months are upon us. This is usually a time to look forward to getting away from the office and spend more time with the family, to travel to new places, fly on planes, check into hotels or resorts, eat at new restaurants …

Boy, have times changed!

When did we ever think we would yearn for the days in the office, getting up at 4:00 a.m. to get on a flight to a city, to attend a meeting, to visit a customer, to share a meal with old/new friends and then to do the same thing the next day or longer?

Why do we miss the old customs of our recent past? Are we really hoping to return to the old days or some combination of the old and the “new abnormal” of the past few months? What will we take with us into our new world when this new abnormal emerges? Are we already in it? Is this how we will be living our business and personal lives for the near term? Forever?

Let me take a few moments of your time to summarize what all of us have gone through these past few months and share some thoughts on what to expect going forward.

When our world changed in early March, none of us thought we would still be dealing with these issues four-plus months later. What began as a perceived short-term inconvenience morphed into a longer-term way of life.

What did all of you do to react to this? Plenty.

The initial two to four weeks looked something similar to this:

You immediately sprang into action and equipped your company with the hardware and software necessary to work from home. You installed various opportunity tracking software on your home computers so you could continue to update and report opportunities to your principals and maintain contact with your distributor partners.

You also wanted to ensure that you could still get in touch with your customers, both engineering and purchasing, at their home offices. Did you have their cell numbers or just their work phone numbers and work emails? Had you ever called them on their cell? Would they even take a call on their cell? How did they want to be communicated with, if at all? It was certainly not a one-size-fits-all approach to your customer outreach initiatives.

You established a working agreement with your principals on opportunity updates, how and how often to talk via Zoom, GoToMeeting, phone or email. You also established the same dialogue with your channel partners to communicate on supply chain issues with common customers and ongoing branch training sessions.

You began to establish a cadence. You eventually began to settle into a new daily and weekly schedule, while working from a home office, possibly sharing this space with your significant other and children at home as schools were closed. All of you trying to carve out your own space, all drawing off of the same WiFi connection …

We all began to feel good about what we had done, didn’t we? We seemed to have nailed it! We were even beginning to tell everyone that “we are not missing a beat,” perhaps even saying: “We are just as productive NOW or even more productive than we were before the virus hit!” We were so proud of our companies and our team members!
But are we really as productive? Most of us grew up carrying a bag, and still do, visiting customers and manufacturers, our channel partners, spreading the word about our principals’ products, managing our “book of business,” following up on leads, seeking out NEW customers and NEW opportunities for our principals.

How effective have any of us been on MEETING NEW CUSTOMERS, DISCOVERING NEW OPPORTUNITIES, WORKING ON NEW DESIGNS with engineers who are at home? I would argue that we may have nailed the “as productive” aspect of existing customers but may have missed the boat on developing new opportunities with NEW customers.

All of us need to pat ourselves on the back for doing a GREAT job in reacting and setting up our companies and holding on to our existing business. However, I sense that we are certainly not as productive as we were in the past. We should never confuse activity with accomplishment.

The past few weeks have really shown the manufacturers’ rep model to be the most optimum sales model, not only in these crazy times but at all times. Many manufacturers’ direct sales force has faced severe layoffs due to fixed cost of sales, limited customer reach and limited knowledge of the territory. These are strong advantages that the rep model brings to our industry.

As a rep, you have several different products and technologies to Zoom with an engineer on when you get him/her on a call. You can “package” the various technologies from one of your principals with other principals’ products to offer a total solution to the engineer. The rep’s approach of a total solution selling model versus an individual socket sale has certainly shown itself to be most effective over the past several weeks. The reps are our industry’s “canaries in the coal mine” so to speak – to get an early entrance into the customer’s design process and “light up the target” for your principals.

So, I give the reps a HUGE THUMBS UP! for the job that they have done since the virus hit!

Depending on where you live, we are now in Phase three or four of reopening and many folks might hope that they are “done” and will run in place until we get back to normal and back to business as in the past.

But I submit that we will never get back to those days. We cannot simply put the pieces of the puzzle back together as the total picture of the puzzle has changed and all of the pieces are now different. You cannot solve a new puzzle with old pieces or old thinking.

Do you think you can remain with this run-in-place model until we emerge into the new abnormal? Not if you want to keep your principals happy, your rep company competitive and stay on top of your customers’ design efforts and ahead of your competition.

While states are beginning to reopen, when will your customers? When will the distributor branches reopen? Will they even let you in? When will you reopen your own office? What physical changes will you need to make to your own office? What will your customers’ lobbies look like? Will they even allow anyone in? If so, they may limit your visit to the main lobby with social distancing in place possibly only fitting one or two visitors in the lobby at one time and scheduling time between visits to properly clean the tables and chairs. They may maintain a strict schedule that could result in your requested appointment being scheduled out MANY weeks beyond your requested date.

It is obvious that a “maintain” strategy is one of mediocrity and will set you up for failure.

What do you think the definition of face-to-face (F2F) will be moving forward? Do you think your customers will now define F2F as a Zoom call? It is hard to read body language or shades of intent on a Zoom call. However, we cannot reject this new way of supporting our customers. While we need to advocate for an in-person experience when times eventually allow, F2F will be a combination of Zoom and in-person meetings. Do not run from this new tool, embrace it.

What new tools will you be arming your sales folks with? What new training are you putting them through now so they can be ready when the lobbies reopen? How can you gain an advantage over the competition?

Let’s look at one example.

Over the past few weeks, I am sure that you have tried to support your favorite restaurant by ordering takeout food. What have restaurants done overnight to secure your takeout business? What changes have they made to their websites to secure your business? They have posted a takeout menu, provided an automated process to order, to select a time to pick up food and pay online. They have provided no-touch delivery to your car. They implemented this almost overnight and made it easy for you as their customer to buy from them. They reacted immediately to your needs.

What changes have you made? How will you support your customer or distributor moving forward? What changes have you made to your company website? What does your website say about your digital image? Does it have hot links to your manufacturers? What does it say about your team? Your technical abilities? Your design in capabilities? When was the last time you visited your company website?

Manufacturers’ websites often have hot links to your company – what will it tell a perspective customer who is looking for information when they land on your home page?

What about your distributor training? Many of the branches may not open for a while. I recommend that you get on the branch training schedule NOW. It is easier and quicker to conduct distributor training on Zoom than to get an audience in front of the entire sales team at the branch. The branches are scheduling their training session now, get in the queue!

How are you handling samples? As you know, we have always used sample requests as an early indicator of a new design or redesign. However, the delivery of these samples becomes a bit complicated in today’s times. Some manufacturers are beginning to ship samples directly to the customer at his/her home to avoid an extra set of hands touching them and thus bypassing the rep. You used to insist that the samples be delivered to YOU so you can deliver them to the customer, either at their home or at an off-site meeting. However, you may support these samples “drop shipped” to the customer and following up with a video demo call.

You then get a chance to review this design, get a sense of the block diagram and possibly ask, “What else are you working on?”

Continue to use samples as a Trojan Horse to get a Zoom call or in-person appointment when allowed.

What about buddy calls with your distributor? Of course! Get aligned with your lead distributor salesperson at EACH ONE of your accounts and set up Zoom buddy calls with engineering.

How about design reviews? Look at upgrading your customers’ designs by offering newer and better products. Now is the time to do preemptive strikes and look at EOL parts or “not recommended for new design” status parts. Be proactive. Your customers will thank you.
How about some non-solicited price reductions? Are you selling them parts that may be legacy devices and that your principal and distributor are realizing an extra-ordinary high-profit margin? Why not approach the customer with a price reduction? Have you ever done it? Was it ever done to you? I can assure you that your customer will never forget it! The price reduction result is so much more impactful than if the customer goes out for a bid and you then give them a substantial price reduction. They may feel that you were ripping them off all along! If you do a preemptive strike, you will win a customer forever, often at a very small cost.

NOW is the time to “sharpen your skates” for when things reopen.
Here are some suggested action items that you need to do NOW to have a solid advantage:

1. Look into Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint — a powerful tool for your rep company.

2. Upgrade your company’s software solutions — make sure it links to your internal database and is updated.

3. Upgrade your LinkedIn account to Premium/SalesNavigator package – this may cost each individual approximately $800 per year, a small investment in your business; rep owners may be able to get a group discount. We held an ERA Water Cooler call focused specifically on LinkedIn Sales Navigator tips. The call was recorded and is available on the ERA website to both ERA members and not-yet-members.

4. Tips on Google search tricks of the trade. ERA featured a session on this topic at our most recent conference. Presenter Sam Richter offered some pretty amazing information. Look into it.

5. Review/upgrade your website. You can do this with a relatively small investment. ERA can lead you to companies to help you if you are interested.

6. What sort of internet service do you have at home? Look into adding a second modem for your business that is separate from your home use and keep your family off of it! This may be perhaps at an additional expense of $200 per month — your business is well-worth this investment.

7. Upgrade your IT platforms in the office. When were they last looked at? Get your IT provider to do a review of your service.

8. Upgrade your laptops. How old are they? Do they have video/camera and hotspot capabilities? Arm your sales teams with the best weapons, NOW!

9. Upgrade your online video conferencing account. What sort of Zoom, Teams or GoToMeeting account do you have? Many free video services are crashing due to the lack of a solid backbone. Upgrade to a higher level paid package. It is well worth the investment

10. You are getting bombarded with emails on virtual training, software, etc. Look into a few of them, some are really worth the investment

11. The ERA Water Cooler calls and ERA Talks podcasts are open to all ERA members and not-yet-members. You may pick up some great ideas from your peers. All past sessions are archived on era.org. Give them a listen!

12. Use some of the monies that you are saving on T&E and gas today on sales training and these new tools so you can stay ahead of your competition.

13. YOUR company will be recognized quickly as BEST-IN-CLASS in the market, allowing you to beat your competition.

We will come out of this … someday … but the world will look different. Our customers will expect more from us. Your principals will expect more from you. Your employees are looking to you to take action now to ensure their long-term viability. We all need to act NOW.

As always, ERA is here to help you as needed. We are out there advocating a strong relationship between the rep and the distributor to work in partnership to deliver a strong product offering from the manufacturer — the three legs of the stool working together to deliver service excellence to the end customer. This is a pretty simple formula and magic happens with all of us working together. Frankly, it’s an unbeatable combination.

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