You have launched your business. Your items have been produced. You have set up your website and secured all your social media accounts. All you need now are customers. But how do you go about attaining new customers that will buy your product, spread the word and help grow your business?
If you’re not yet ready to hire a sales team, consider independent sales reps. There is a great difference between marketing and sales so having a dedicated sales person can really help in scaling your business. Some of these professionals are also known as a manufacturer’s reps and are strategic in getting your products sold to retailers.
Where to Look For Sales Reps
Independent reps usually have their own companies or work for an agency that employs freelance salespeople. If you are looking to find a rep here are a few options:
- – There are usually reps for other brands at tradeshows
- – Reach out to a rep-matching service or database
- – Scout on LinkedIn
- – Ask around your network for recommendations
- – List the position on job sites
Are You Ready to Hire a Sales Rep?
By contracting sales reps you will be saving money upfront, but will loose a bigger part of your revenue as products are sold. Also these professionals will be completely new to your products and brand. Consider the answers to these questions before securing your rep.
- Do you have a marketing plan for your product to help support your sales rep’s efforts?
- Have you sold your product yourself so you understand the process?
- Are you clear on your minimum order requirements, a good price list and line sheets?
- Do you have professional product photography already ready?
- Do you have a statement of your terms of sale including your return policy?
- Are you willing to decide sales goals together with the rep?
- Are you willing to commit to a fair commission rate?
- Do you understand that hiring multi-line reps might mean that your product may not always have priority.
How to Manage Your Independent Sales Team
- – Sales reps work on commission so be sure to build that into your pricing model. The average commission is 10-20% for most industries.
- – Sales reps will need tools for selling. This could include free samples, marketing materials, etc. While managing your sales rep, anticipate the costs of having to replenish samples and re-educating them on any product info.
- – You need to constantly communicate with and check in with your sales reps. The more you communicate with your sales reps, the better they performed and the more sales they bring in. One idea is to schedule a weekly or bi-weekly touch-base in your calendar to follow up.