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Sales Leadership
Aug 1, 2009 | Canadian Professional Sales Association (CPSA) lock

Trust, realistic expectations and communication are necessary elements in a strong agent-principal relationship.

Dan McQuiston, an instructor for the agent certification program, offered by Manufacturers Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF) in the U.S. cites that there are six golden rules that apply to a successful agent-principal relationship:

Shared goals. Agents and principals need to be travelling down the same road and use the same roadmap for the journey. A good idea is to schedule time with your principal to set goals/quotas for the products you rep in the territory, as well as discuss strategies for reaching those goals and mutual obligations.

Mutual dependence. Both you and your principal need to have solid reasons for entering into the agent-principal relationship (e.g. grow the territory, increase penetration, increase up selling and cross-selling opportunities, increase sales/commissions)

Mutual trust. Many agent-principal relations falter and fall apart when one party fails to carry out or fulfill the duties, responsibilities and/or obligations of the partnership.

Concern for each other’s "bottom line." As an agent you need to accurately represent the product to the buyer, so that both you and the principal benefit from the sale of the product.

Open two-way communication. Make sure that you and your principal communicate regularly and not just about orders. Don’t put off taking to your principal about problems or issues in the territory. Likewise provide your principal with positive as well as negative customer feedback

Mutual commitment to the customer. Both you and your principal have to set aside any differences you may have with each other and ensure that all the promises made to a customer are fulfilled.

Notice that the word mutual has been repeated several times. Successful agent-principal relations are two way relationships. If you golf you know that a good golf swing consists of the following elements: set up, alignment, posture, tempo and grip. All of these elements have to come together if you are going to make a successful shot. Just like your golf swing, it’s the same thing with successful agent-principal relations–you’ve got to have ALL of the key in place to make the relationship work.

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