by David Dasson, CPMR, CSP
I recently had a conversation with a fellow rep, which started out with “We used to …” There also were some “Back when I started … ,” and “That is how we did it …” It made me realize that this industry today is vastly different than it was even when I started in it. The marketplace and landscape of our customers also are vastly different than they used to be. The “that is how we did it” mentality and mode of operation just does not cut it in today’s world.
You can hardly attend a conference or have lunch with a fellow channel partner these days without the conversation turning toward a discussion of what it is going to be like over the next five years.
So what do we do? One of the answers is knowledge!
Continuing education is so critical in today’s business environment, and that is why you certify. Like any professional designation, it means that you have invested in yourself and your business. It means that you have taken time out of your busy schedule to better yourself and remain current on today’s business trends and tactics. Third-party certification increases your professionalism and your credibility.
Our business model, the independent professional sales function (rep), has a certification program. This program is an intensive three-year course that will educate you on the current business strategies and tactics that are vital to your organization. Strategic planning, succession planning, line profitability and legal strategies are just a few of the topics that are covered over the three years.
The Manufacturers’ Representative Educational Research Foundation (MRERF) and the Institute for Professional Advancement (IPA) are the organizations that create, implement and manage the CPMR (Certified Professional Manufacturers Representative) designation course as well as several others. They are non-for-profit institutions and are backed by more than 17 different and diverse associations. ERA is one of the founding association members that continually has supported MRERF and IPA. Being certified separates you from the other agencies in your area. Furthermore, manufacturers increasingly are looking to hire firms with CPMRs. It demonstrates that you have invested in your firm and the continued operation of it. Find a CPMR, buy him/her a coffee and ask about the cetification experience, or contact me directly.
There is a wealth of information at our website — www.mrerf.org.
David Dasson, CPMR, CSP, is president of MRERF and partner at Net Sales Co. You can call David at 585-924-1844 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.