By Jeffrey Simon
Jeffrey Simon is CEO of RepHunter.net, an online resource that helps manufacturers find representatives and representatives find new lines. Jeffrey can be contacted toll free by phone at 877-895-2909 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
An independent sales rep should expect to be treated as a valued partner who can help the manufacturer or supplier to create new sales channels or build on existing channels. The Principal expects that you will bring your industry expertise and established lines to his product lines; you also have a right to expect in return certain basic ingredients of your mutual success.
- Communication – as in most relationships, great communication is vital. This should go without saying in the Principal – Independent Rep Relationship. Make sure you emphasize to your Principal how important the communication factor will be to your mutual success.
- Market intelligence – while the Principal make expect you to provide a certain amount of market intelligence from your experience, the additional of the Principal’s insights can be invaluable in helping you develop and expand the line.
- Product Training – one of the most important success factors is knowledge of the Principal’s products and services, as well as those of competitors. Many times the Principal pays for a training materials, courses, expenses, and tools; it is not uncommon for the rep to be expected to pick up a share of these costs. Not having the training however can be a major error.
- Initial Travel – it can be very valuable for the Principal to make available a staff person to travel with the rep to help make initial sales presentations. Such a practice can bring the rep up to speed quickly on the expectations and needs of the buyers, as well as gaining familiarity with handling questions and objections of the customers.
- Marketing material – the Principal should supply adequate promotional materials, including samples, brochures, and catalogs. In some cases, your Principal may ask you for your credit card to secure the return of samples during the start of a new relationship.
- Sales information – it is critical for the Principal to provide to you business information such as copies of customer lists for the rep’s territory, quotes, orders, price lists, order status, invoices, commission reports, and product literature.
- Sales representation agreement – while not always necessary, in many cases it is beneficial to have a written agreement spelling out the details of your relationship. Putting some effort in advance into a good agreement can save grief down the road.