Representing Reps

SEMA Member News—July/August 2011

Representing Reps

MRC Leadership Strives to Enhance Council Standing and Benefits

MRC Chairman Wade Cobb (standing right) addressed guests at SEMA’s Town Hall meeting in April, held at Painless Performance in Fort Worth, Texas. SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting led the panel.
With the fierce competition of today’s automotive specialty-equipment industry, independent manufacturers’ representatives play an important role in bringing products to market. But reps need representation, too, in order to make their voices heard in this challenging yet rewarding industry. The Manufacturers’ Rep Council (MRC) provides that exclusive representation.

Working together, members strive to uphold the segment’s professional image and address its vital interests. MRC’s primary objective is to provide a forum for manufacturers’ representatives for the purpose of increasing their impact as an industry, exploring issues of common interest and concern, increasing their collective knowledge and elevating the overall image of the profession. MRC leadership has made a concerted effort to expand its involvement at industry events so that the MRC can get the best feel for the pulse of the industry and promote rep services.

In January, MRC participated in the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Media Trade Conference. The MPMC Media Trade Conference is a truly unique event that brings together editorial staff from all over the world with racing and high-performance parts manufacturers for three days of face-to-face, 30-minute meetings. For the first time ever, MRC established a presence and hosted a suite throughout the event.

“This opportunity provided the council and our membership with invaluable exposure to key manufacturers while continuing to promote the benefits and services of utilizing a manufacturers’ rep,” said Chris Fairless, MRC chair-elect.

In April, MRC Chairman Wade Cobb participated as a panelist in a SEMA Town Hall hosted by Painless Performance in Fort Worth, Texas.

“The Town Hall provided a unique one-on-one conversation with leadership and volunteers of SEMA, allowing ideas and questions to be expressed freely,” said Cobb.

The Town Hall format is quite simple. Essentially, networking takes place in the first hour and is followed by some good eats. The group then takes part in a panel discussion—the Town Hall portion of the event. The purpose of these panels is to provide the audience with the opportunity to address key issues and concerns with industry and SEMA leaders.

In addition to expanding MRC’s presence in the industry, the council remains focused on delivering critical services and benefits to its members. The council recently introduced a money-saving partnership with TeleNotes.

With almost 10 years of national sales experience, TeleNotes helps companies achieve revenue growth through more effective and productive sales teams and consistently improving client productivity by 20%–40%. The program was designed for sales reps and helps eliminates tedious administrative workloads.

On another front, the Manufacturers Representative Educational Resource Foundation (MRERF) offers comprehensive sales-training programs for manufacturers’ agents. Because MRC belongs to MRERF, every member agency’s personnel—including the principal and members of the sales organization—are eligible to participate in the foundation’s training courses and work toward attaining the Certified Professional Manufacturers Representative (CPMR) designation. By supporting MRERF, MRC members save $500 per year on CPMR tuition.

MRC also developed a separate section listing all SEMA-member manufacturer representatives as an offshoot to the SEMA Membership Directory. The expanded listing includes the agency, markets covered and types of products carried as well as a cross-reference listing by territory, making it a valuable reference tool for manufacturers and agents alike.

The cornerstone of any association or council that represents a specific niche is the relationships that are promoted through organized networking and educational functions. The Rep Center at the SEMA Show and industry events such as the Manufacturers Rep Conference and Seminar Program foster these relationships.

The Rep Center at the SEMA Show provides SEMA-member manufacturers’ agents with a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere in which to catch up on the days’ activities, meet with prospective clients and network with fellow reps. Services offered in the MRC-sponsored business center include computer, fax and copy services, message boards, a rep-matching service, conference areas and free coffee.

The annual Manufacturers Rep Conference will be held once again in Las Vegas during the SEMA Show. MRC will host an educational forum on Sunday, October 30, 2011, from 3:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m. The forum will provide attendees with industry perspectives and best practices on working effectively with manufacturers and wholesale distributors.

First and foremost, MRC is dedicated to representing the collective interests of all SEMA-member manufacturers reps and to providing a means of speaking with a unified voice on behalf of this industry segment. The MRC’s strength and success are a direct result of industry-wide support and cooperative action. By becoming actively involved, you and your agency can play a significant role in helping MRC achieve its goals.

Support the council that supports you! Contact Council Director Zane Clark or visit