What Is an Independent Manufacturer’s Sales Representative

May 13, 2016

Marc Laplante

Depending on who you talk to, that answer can be as long as Tolstoy’s War and Peace!

Google it up and you get this:

“A manufacturer’s representatives (rep), also known as independent sales representatives[1] or sales agent, is an individual, sales agency or company that sells a manufacturer’s products to wholesale and retail customers.” [2]

Not much of an answer is it? Well, that’s Wikipedia for you.

You would think that in this day and age, among peers at Electrofed that this question wouldn’t be asked of us anymore, yet we get it all the time, usually from inside people at manufacturers that do not use independent reps. Here is what an independent manufacturer’s sales representative is: It is by far the purest form of free enterprise. We finance our own growth and get paid only when we’ve performed. Try suggesting that one to an elected official and see how far it gets you! We live and breathe for the sale, for closing the deal, for getting that PO. Why? Because we bear all the expenses associated with fielding professional sales people. We are the ones paying the employee benefits, the training costs, the support staff, the cars, the travel expenses, entertainment expenses, safety concerns, and more than too often the liability associated with our recommendations. All of these are the reasons reps survive and thrive. We are skilled, market-driven strategists who work very closely with the manufacturers that we represent.

Not only do we know our territory, we’ve more often than not have grown up there and have worked in one way or another in this industry. Manufacturers count on our experience and knowledge but mostly they count on our relationships developed over decades of working closely with our clients. Reps truly offer more connections to their manufacturers. It’s because we know how to create deeper, broader long-term relationships with distributors and customers. It is indeed the PERFECT type of business only an independent rep can build. We are advocates for our manufacturers and customers alike. We always need to be able to find that ‘’ common ground’’ that satisfies both manufacturers and customers to get the sale.

All of the best independent sales agencies in Canada have one thing in common: we belong to CEMRA, the Canadian Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Association. CEMRA reps, with their association to NEMRA in the United States, have one common goal which is to become the leader in promoting and developing independent reps as an indispensable channel to market for the electrical industry. We help each other become better businessmen and by doing so, the manufacturers that have chosen the independent rep as THEIR way to go to market are the ones coming out on top year after year along with the independent manufacturer’s sales representative that represents them.

So, whether you’re a large, well-established manufacturer that thinks he has all the bases covered, or a smaller start up, the benefits of outsourcing allow you to reduce costs, and focus assets on core business strengths. We’ll take care of the rest!

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturers%27_representative#cite_note-1

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturers%27_representative#cite_note-2



As a manufacturing agent, Marc Laplante of Laplante and Associates represents a full range of products used in the sectors electricity, mechanics and ventilation, as in residential, commercial and industrial and also at the level of original equipment suppliers; marc.laplante@laplante.co.

Read more on Manufacturing in CEW from Marc Laplante below:

The Evolution of the Manufacturer’s Rep 

Read Marc Laplante’s profile.

Related Articles


Changing Scene

  • Westburne Announces Katherine Forsythe as Divisional Industrial Sales Manager

    Westburne Announces Katherine Forsythe as Divisional Industrial Sales Manager

    Westburne is delighted to welcome Katherine Forsythe as its new Divisional Industrial Sales Manager. Katherine, who brings a wealth of industry experience and a strong educational background, will be responsible for leading, supporting and developing the company’s Automation business as well as its Industrial Projects Team. Read More…

  • Westburne Announces Andrew McCririck as Divisional Pricing Manager

    Westburne Announces Andrew McCririck as Divisional Pricing Manager

    Westburne is pleased to welcome Andrew McCririck as its Divisional Pricing Manager. Andrew has worked with Westburne’s sister company, Rexel Utility, where he further honed his skills and gained valuable industry experience. The company looks forward to his leadership driving its pricing strategies, optimizing profitability, and enhancing the competitive edge in the market. Read More…


Peers & Profiles

  • Taken from Graybar Canada Linkedin Post Enjoy a glimpse of the wonderful moments from Graybar Canada’s recent customer appreciation BBQs! The company was grateful for the smiles and connections made with our amazing customers and vendors. They are looking forward to the next gathering! Source Read More…

  • Article taken from Linkedin Post Electrozad is thrilled to spotlight their Chatham Branch and recognize their exceptional efforts in cleaning up their community. The team took time to coordinate a community clean-up around their branch. This is a commendable initiative that not only helps maintain the cleanliness and hygiene around the branch but also contributes… Read More…