Among the many benefits AIM/R provides its members is our commitment to a 24/7/365 learning environment to foster the growth of all rep agencies across North America. Whether it be in a social setting or through the annual in-person conference, ideas are always flowing, and best practices are shared.
The addition of AIM/R on Tap sessions created another layer of learning within our round-the-clock continuing education initiative. When the world shifted and the pandemic affected the way business was conducted, the members of the AIM/R Board of Directors came together on a weekly basis and put a plan together to drive success for our membership. One of the pivotal items would be to produce timely content for membership. The “On Tap” sessions are free to members and provide premium content for best practices and networking opportunities to AIM/R membership. “On Tap” sessions take place on the third Thursday of each month at 11 a.m. CT/12 p.m. ET, and registration for each event is available through the AIM/R website. Those who register and cannot attend a session due to conflicts also receive a recording for viewing on their schedule.
Since the inception of AIM/R on Tap, the association has presented and array of topics on the Third Thursday of each month to the more than 2,000 manufacturers and representatives who have tuned into sessions virtually.
To date, AIM/R has produced 15 “On Tap” sessions:
- Why are Manufacturers asking for more Data?;
- Rescue & Recovery since the Pandemic, T.I.P.S. for Reps;
- Managing through Disruption;
- U.S. Tax planning Strategies & PPP Loans;
- Best Practices for Reconciling Commissions;
- Another Seat at the Table;
- Super Charge Rep-Wholesaler Relationships;
- Reimagining 5 Key Areas of your Business;
- Marketing your Rep Agency;
- Best Practices for MFG During Covid Disruption;
- ASA Government Affairs;
- Budgeting through Uncertainty;
- Best Practices for Reconciling Commissions; and
- Using Your Sales Data to Manage Your Business More Efficiently.
As we look back at some of our previous sessions, we are even more excited for the future of our “On Tap” sessions. This content will always be “buy reps for reps” and complement other key initiatives coming together to strengthen our AIM/R Rep Network. While all our past sessions have had great success, let’s take a moment to recap some of the past sessions and share some of the talking points from various presentations from previous sessions.
John Mitchell, CPMR of Repfabric was one of our first presenters. His topic of “Why are Manufacturers asking for more data?” provided in-depth insight from both a manufacturer and rep point of view for the necessity of data management. John focused on a system of listening and are reps able to ascertain what is happening in their markets with their personnel. His focus key for success was determined by the ability to translate market data seamlessly to manufacturers either proactively or when requested by our manufacturing partners.
John Vrablic with T.I.P.S. for Reps (Tax, Investments, Protection, and Succession Planning) led a session where he discussed a cash balance plan and a cash value balance plan. The cash balance plan focused on maximizing tax-deductible contributions through tax deductions and tax-deferred accumulation. The cash value balance plan focused on maximizing a tax-free assets “synthetic Roth IRA” through tax-free growth and tax-free asset/income. John also discussed the formula for wealth momentum. Wealth momentum is a concept of leverage to create exponential not arithmetic wealth.
We, as reps, must understand what is important to our wholesale partners. This allows us to deliver the most value and is one of the key ways to separate from the omni channel of competition.
James Tippetts’ session — “Another Seat at the Table” — provided insight into diversity and inclusion through four pillars: Awareness, Empathy, Opportunity, and Engagement. James stated, “An organization with a culture of diversity and inclusion is a healthier and more profitable organization.” James provided some very interesting statistics: only 80% of employees report feeling included in their workplaces, but the remaining 20% is called the “perception gap”. If employers can close this gap through inclusion, employers could save millions and boost US company profits by $1.05 trillion dollars.
Michael Souders, former vice president of sales, and Ed Bishop, director of national accounts for Winsupply, led their session entitled “Super Charge your Rep-Wholesaler Relationships.” The role of the rep from a distributor’s point of view is, “Sell it to me, help me sell it, and support me.” This must be accomplished while constantly exhibiting a high degree of ethics, morals, honesty, and integrity. While understanding distributors’ point of view is important, our customers’ goals are essential as well. We, as reps, must understand what is important to our wholesale partners. This allows us to deliver the most value and is one of the key ways to separate from the omni channel of competition. Michael and Ed did a great job walking us through expectations from our wholesalers at each level from the counter seat, office/sales seat, Board seat, and to becoming a trusted confidant. At each level, the trajectory of trust grows upward into a rewarding and growing partnership.
Jeff Blair of Barclay Sales and Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki, founder + brand experience designer, tst ink, hosted a session called “Marketing Your Rep Agency.” A Brand is not a logo, color or a graphic identity, but an important and valuable company asset that acts as a filter through which all your decision and thinking about the business should pass. It implies trust, consistency, and a defined set of expectations. Our customers generally do not have relationships with a product, but they can have a relationship with a brand. In this session, we learned about the five pillars of a brand promise: Relationships create solutions, Passion and energy for the business, knowledge of our customers’ business, innovation and speed, and well-balanced product lines.
Steven Rossi from American Supply Association hosted an “On Tap” session discussing government affairs. Steven leads ASA’s advocacy efforts in the legislative, political and regulatory areas. Steven’s session focused on two key aspects upon which the Biden’s agenda focused, infrastructure and the American Rescue plan.
The 117th congress came together and approved an infrastructure bill that will focus more than $550 billion over the next five years on public infrastructure. Additionally, extra funding was approved for drinking and wastewater infrastructure projects. One of the key benefits of the extra funding for the clean drinking and wastewater project was a major focus to remove lead pipes from public use in schools and other public areas. ASA has been working on defeating a bill in California for the past two years called AB2060 which instituted a sale by date for endpoint fixtures to comply with the NFS 612021 standard. ASA with its coalition reached a compromise on the bill which pushed the date back to Jan. 1, 2023, manufacturer date and a July 1, 2023, sell by date. This bill would have created a massive product sacrality upon an already stressed supply chain.
While “On Tap” has had 15 sessions since conception, we have just highlighted six sessions. AIM/R on Tap focuses on different industry topics each month with new ideas and industry key topics. These hour-long sessions are packed with key content you do not want to miss. Even if you cannot join during these times if you register you will receive a video link to watch at your convenience.
AIM/R on Tap has a full schedule of upcoming sessions lined up over the coming months, and more sessions will be announced soon. Register here and tune in for the following topics:
- Contract Terms and Other Legal issues for Buy/Sell and Stocking Reps
- Blake Williams: Battle Tested Coaching; and
- Holiday Mixer & Virtual Networking.
If you have a recommendation or would like to participate in an “On Tap” session please reach out to here or view more information on our sessions here.
Mark your calendar for the third Thursday of each month at 11 a.m. CT/12 p.m. ET.