Clean Sweep for Independent Rep in Commission Action Offers Valuable Lessons to Industry

By Adam J. Glazer

Raise your hand if this sounds familiar: A rep agreement plainly provides for a fixed commission rate. After the rep secures orders, the principal claims the parties orally agreed the rep would accept a lower commission rate on those orders. The rep disputes making any such agreement, but the commissions get paid at the lower rate.

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A Horseshirt Case: Equine Clothing Mfr. Loses Bid to Avoid Trial with Sales Reps

By Adam J. Glazer

A written rep contract is circulated, unsigned and quickly forgotten. Meanwhile, the parties perform for about eight years. When a dispute then arises, does the contract control? Both the principal and its reps long ignore certain key contract terms like sales quotas and non-compete provisions. Does this lack of enforcement support the principal also selling direct to the rep’s accounts, and converting large customers to house accounts? The principal underpays its independent reps for years, yet the reps continue to perform. Are they suckers who have waived their claims?

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Starting out in Healthcare Product Representation? You’re in the right place at the right time.

By Joseph Rini
Rini Consulting International

If you’re just starting out as a manufacturers’ rep in the health industry, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed and uncertain about how to build your career. This is a time of dramatic change in the industry, and that can be a little disconcerting to anyone who is just entering the fray. But, believe it or not, this is actually a good time for you to be
launching your career. Like many of today’s industries, ours is in dire need of new, young blood to give it the vitality it needs to thrive — not just survive —through the tumultuous years ahead. 

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Often a Rep’s Best Friend, the Procuring Cause Doctrine Enables Even Employees to Recover Post-Termination Commissions

By Adam J. Glazer
Schoenberg Finkel Newman & Rosenberg, LLC

This column ordinarily features legal issues confronting independent sales representatives who promote manufacturers’ products, not company reps involved in marketing the services of their employers. However, when Keith Miller was stiffed by his principal, who also happened to be his employer, it happened in a manner so brazen that all independent reps will not only feel his pain, but will respect and cheer his concerted efforts to get paid.

Employed for several years as a field sales representative for Paul M. Wolff Co., a subcontractor specializing in concrete finishing services known as PMW, Miller was responsible for facilitating and overseeing projects within his territory. When a project is awarded to PMW, the rep completes the final step toward earning a commission by managing the company’s performance through completion of the project. And PMW historically paid a healthy 15% commission on much of the business.

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By Adam J. Glazer
Schoenberg Finkel Newman & Rosenberg, LLC

Most reps properly focus on generating sales after signing with a new principal. Even as corporations constantly merge or get “restructured," consideration of the potential impact on the rep is rare. Yet several important questions are usually presented.

Is the rep’s commission stream adequately protected? What happens if the acquiring party purchases only some of the principal’s assets? And could the principal and the new purchaser orchestrate a sale enabling the purchaser to avoid paying commissions due?

These issues were front and center in a case recently decided by a Kentucky federal court after certain assets of a principal were acquired by a company with whom the rep/plaintiff had no contractual or other relationship. This fact pattern, while alarming, is hardly isolated.

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Dr. Walmart: Coming Soon to a Store Near You

Walmart is now in the healthcare business, and that could spell big opportunity
By Joseph Rini

A few years ago if anyone had told you Walmart would get into the business of caring for the sick in society you would have laughed loudly. You’ve been a medical manufacturer, distributor or manufacturer’s rep for a while now, and you know the difference between an esteemed medical center and Walmart. Sure, you might pop into Walmart and mingle with the rabble to pick up toothpaste or Tylenol, but when you need real medical care you can count on? Never! That’s when you want to be in a glass and steel medical center peopled by intelligent looking doctors and nurses and administrators in designer suits. The last place you want to be is in Walmart, rubbing elbows with patrons and salespeople who look like they’ve never seen a bar of soap or washing machine.

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HIRA conference: Selling Healthcare - Reform Style

The 2013 Annual HIRA Conference was featured in the Fall edition of Reperatoire Magazine.

"For salespeople, an emerging and important point of contact is the service line manager, who supports multiple departments, such as radiology, the OR, laboratory and the ER."

Face-reading dates way back, but it has been refined and is a useful tool for salespeople today. That’s according to Ann Marks, Amazing Face Reading, Fort Worth, Texas, who kicked off the recent annual conference of the Health Industry Representatives Association.

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Demystifying the ACO

By: Joe Rini 
HIRA Service Provider Member

These days, the healthcare supply chain seems to be drowning in a kind of alphabet soup. There are, of course, IDNs and GPOs to contend with, and not to be outdone: ACOs. If you’re going to make this new supply chain an engine of success—and not a dangerous road hazard that could stop you dead-in-your-tracks—you need to understand how all these little acronyms can have a big impact on the way you work.

In this article I want to demystify ACOs, powerful forces in today’s healthcare universe.


By: Adam J. Glazer
Schoenberg Finkel Newman & Rosenberg, LLC.

After years of mutual success building and servicing a product market, some rep-principal relationships dissolve amicably, with each party evolving toward other pursuits. Some such relationships are allowed to die natural deaths as the contract termination date approaches. And some explode in a ball of litigation fury, generating years of brawling and counter-punching through the court system.  Welcome to just such a furious battle.

Managing the Contracted Sales Force

For soon to be published: The Oxford Sales Management Handbook

Dr. Thomas DeCarlo, Ph.D., Ben S. Weil Endowed Chair of Industrial Distribution and Professor of Marketing and Industrial Distribution at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, interviews Joseph Rini of Joseph Rini Consulting about the use of Independent Manufacturers Reps vs. a direct sales force.

4 Sales Tips to Sell More and Build Better Relationships through Better Eye Contact

By John Chapin

In the world of selling, eye contact is extremely important when both making a first impression and building credibility. In addition to some of the obvious aspects of eye contact, there are also some subtleties involved. So how do you make sure you're making the most of your eye contact?


By Adam Glazer

Sometimes, a large manufacturer really believes its size and resources will enable it to overwhelm itssales rep. By withholding commission payments due under the contract, and by then attempting to wear down the rep in litigation once the rep makes the difficult decision to exercise its legal rights, certain companies follow a “might makes right” business strategy. Resolve, however, goes a long way toward leveling the playing field for the long-abused sales rep.

Consider Canadian rep Haltronics, Ltd., who signed up to represent the inductor giant Coilcraft, Inc. of Cary, Illinois back in 1985. The contract contained customary language calling for a commission to be paid on all sales made into the Haltronics territory of Canada, and also contained a “Split Commissions” paragraph enabling Haltronics to allocate splits in its sole discretion.

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by: Adam J. Glazer
Schoenberg Finkel Newman & Rosenberg, LLC

Capitalism as we know it features competition.  A centrally controlled economy is alien to Western thinking, which knows only a free market for goods and services.  Businesses, including rep businesses, must be free to compete for customers, including by taking them away from other businesses.  This freedom to compete for customers, fiercely but fairly, is at least a corollary of the American way.

Repertiore Magazine "A Kick Out of Sales"

by Laura Thill

It was 1972 and, like most college grads at the time, Steve Schultz was thinking about Vietnam and the ever-ominous draft. After seeing at least one friend return from South Vietnam without his legs, Schultz was adamant about finding the safest way to serve his country. Safe is a relevant term. For him, it meant serving in the military as a dentist. So, dental school it was.

That is, until he saw the results of the lottery. “My lottery number put me in a position where I didn’t have to worry about going to war,” he says. Around the same time, his father commented that Schultz really wasn’t much of a “science type of guy,” but that he “could talk to anyone.”

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Or click here to read the rest of the article online.

Sticky Contract Issues Lead Jury To Wrap $8 Million Commission Verdict Around Business-Producing Rep.

by Adam Glazer

It's an old, even classic, dilemma for independent sales reps, but it continues to play out across the country. Fueled on his own sweat equity over long hours and on his own nickel, an industrious rep scores a big customer contract for a principal. Rather than treating the rep to a steak dinner and a pledge to honor its contract by commissioning the the rep on this new-found business, a notice of termination issues. The principal then brushes off the rep: "We'll pay you everything we owe you as of today, and best of luck in your future endeavors. What's that?The new contract won't be signed until tomorrow? You don't say!"

This familiar scenario recently unfolded in New York involving some major food industry players. The rep firm BGI's relationship with McDonald's dated to the 1970s, when its owner, Lewis Barton, had a company that supplied its restaurants when ketchup packets. By the 1990s, the relationship had progressed to the point when Barton had a handshake deal entitling him to present new ideas for products or food preparation processes to McDonald's, which did not generally accept unsolicited ideas.

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Pavilion Participation

In Feburary 2011, Charles Higgins wrote a feature article for Repertoire Magazine on HIRA and its pavilion program. The article focuses on HIRA's history and its affiliations with other rep servieces to create the pavilion program. "HIRA has developed an affiliation with several industry associations: AORN, HIDA, MedTrade, and AACN. Working through these affiliations; an incubator pavilion program has been set up at the respective trade shows and exhibitions.

Read the article.

HIRA Conference Featured in Repertoire Magazine

HIRA Conference Featured in Repertoire Magazine Mike PetersMike Peters, the Past President of HIRA, as quoted by the September issue of Repertoire Magazine titled "Vollmer Presented with Lee Walters Award":

“Our goal is for our manufacturer partners and rep members to prosper in the year 2010, Mike Peters, S.P.M. Healthcare”
Read the Article.

AMRA Meeting in Chicago

barry-petrigalaBarry Petrigala, Healthstar Associates, recently attended the AMRA Meeting in Chicago on behalf of HIRA.  It is important that HIRA networks with other similar organizations to learn and share experiences.  Barry brought back from the meeting many new ideas of how HIRA can increase its value and outreach to its members. Thank you Barry for your time and interest in the continued success of HIRA.

Strategic Planning Meeting

strategic-planningThe Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of HIRA recently met in Fort Lauderdale, FL for two days for a Strategic Planning Meeting.  Many new ideas were developed and exchanged and HIRA is moving forward with a long term plan to increase its effectiveness with its members and the healthcare industry.  The Strategic Plan will be completed at a February meeting and will then be presented to the membership.  The Executive Board is extremely excited about the ideas that were exchanged.

Seated Left to right - Tom Vollmer, Mike Peters (President), Tom Pruitt (Past President), Robin Fipps (President Elect), Bill Howard (Treasurer), Barry Petrigala (Vice President) Standing – Charlie Higgins (Executive Director)

HIRA's Marketing Efforts

pdfThe HIRA Board of Directors is hard at work promoting HIRA throughout the healthcare industry. Repertoire and its affiliate, dail-enews, are perfect examples of HIRA’s marketing efforts. Repertoire had an article about HIRA in its November issue and this announcement in dail-enews keeps HIRA in the public arena.
Read the Announcement.

HIRA got some “press” in the January issue of Repertoire!

pdfBrian Taylor, the owner of MDSI and his family of companies (Repertoire, DailENews, The Max, The Journal of Healthcare Contracting, and EOL Precise Selling) gave permission to post this article to our website. The article is titled “2010 – The Best Is Yet To Come” and includes an interview with HIRA President, Mike Peters. Repertoire is a highly regarded trade magazine among healthcare manufacturers and we are proud to be included in the magazine.

Your board is working hard to promote HIRA and its membership of healthcare independent representatives. We are all proud of our organization and what we do on a daily basis. Read the Article.

8 Ways to Get a Second Order

By Dan Beaulieu

You got the order! Congratulations.  The pressure is on, however, if you’re interested in forming a long term, profitable relationship with your new customer.  Now is the time to make sure they are not only happy, but stay happy.

Here are eight ways to make sure your new customer will come back for more:

1.    Thank them.  Have the highest executive available give your new customer a call.  This person thanks the buyer for the order, gives him his contact information and tells him to call back anytime --especially issues arise. After all, that’s what he’s there for.  If your top guy is afraid or hesitant to do this then there is something wrong with your company. What are they afraid of?  That they will get too many calls?  Remember, if your company is well-run, they should want  to call the new customer.

Eight Ways to Make Your Business Stronger in Tough Times

What to do when business gets slow - by Dan Beaulieu

Now that Wall Street has delivered us an economic version of 9/11, what will this mean to your business?  Will the mess on Wall Street hurt us the way 9/11 did, when some markets dropped almost  30%?   If this happens again will your industry collapse and die?

Of course not.  Yes, it could slow things down for a while.  Your industry may endure a vigorous session of Pac man -- but in the words of Gloria Gaynor – I/it/we will survive.  But you can do more than just survive in hard times. You can use them to your advantage.

I saw a piece on television the other night that said when things are down, good companies move forward.   Competent companies find ways to grab more of the market share.  I firmly believe this is true.  Those who strive to get better when times are hard, get better.  

Here are eight ways to make this happen for your company:


13 Ideas to Run Engaging Rep Firm/Agency Meetings

Meetings can be either useless, energy-sucking wastes of time or a platform for lively discussion and the exchange of interesting ideas.

As we all know, because we have sat through too many of them, the first type is far more common than the second. And the blame mostly lies at the feet of the people who preside over these exercises in frustration.

Frankly, many rep firm and agency owners and managers don’t know how to manage meetings, and the lack of these skills is an expensive liability for their companies. Think about the cost of labour involved in the time people spend in meetings, and the lack of productivity when nothing is decided. Learn how to run meetings and your value to your rep firm or agency will soar.

As my editor Pat commented, “If this article prevents one more horrid meeting then it has done a great public service.”

There are three different types of meetings:

  1. Sharing information
  2. Learning something (a skill or a new process)
  3. Making a decision