by Ken Benjamin

We are now approaching the second important business decision that must be carefully evaluated. This is almost the most difficult decision you will make, the most difficult being your decision to seriously consider and commit to this type of sales profession.

This decision is whom do you represent? What are you going to sell for them and where are you going to sell it?

I don’t know whether it’s true or not, but we’ve all heard the story many times that someone once asked Conrad Hilton the reason for the success of his hotel chain and he gave three reasons — location, location, location. Without a shadow of a doubt, the most important single reason for ultimate and sustained success as a manufacturers’ representative is the principal they associate themselves with!

I cannot emphasize enough that evaluation of every company interested in having you represent them is vital to your ultimate success. My recommendation to you is that you do not even start the business or jump into the self-employed frying pan until you can find a principal that meets the parameters of total integrity, quality and competitiveness in the geographic area of interest to you. Don’t settle for second best!

If you forget everything else I’ve suggested to you up to now, please remember that you are only as good as the companies you represent.

You must be concerned about the ongoing quality of your principal’s services and his integrity over a long period of time. Without these ingredients, you will go down in flames as a manufacturers’ representative even though you may possess selling skills, financial strength and work very hard. Remember, you are a teammate of your principal and will be judged by their business behavior.

Next month, you’ll find out how to find and select this all-important business partner.

This article is excerpted from Make Your Future Happen, Ken Benjamin’s definitive guide to starting an agency.