by Ken Benjamin
The purpose of this series will be to continue to give you constant doses of reality. Assuming for the moment you are still determined, let’s review some of the basic decisions you will have to make. I cannot emphasize enough — you must be totally honest in your thinking and evaluate if you really have the determination, confidence and discipline, along with the knowledge, finances, fortitude and patience, to sell and survive.
If you happen to be married and have a family, are you being totally honest with your family and yourself as to potential monetary and time sacrifices that will be required to get your new manufacturers’ representative agency off the ground and successfully established?
It’s been my experience over the years that many individual new sales ventures are doomed to ultimate failure at some point in time if the spouse of the sales agent does not like, (A) his or her mate’s long hours away from home, (B) the potential or perceived monetary insecurity no matter how good a salesperson he or she is, (C) the lack of a steady paycheck, or (D) a business in the home and its disruptions. A total and willing long-term commitment and support by all members of the family is absolutely necessary for long-term success.
You have to understand I’m classifying you as an above average individual who is highly motivated, goal-oriented, but does not necessarily have a huge surplus of funds to finance your efforts. You are willing and able to accept the risks, execute financial arrangements, absorb all of the expenses alluded to, plus additional miscellaneous incidental costs like Blue Cross medical, vacations, etc. In the beginning, all of these considerations must be anticipated and planned for without the certainty of a paycheck and for many, many months to come.
If I’ve overwhelmed you with this heavy dose of task self-evaluation, you may want to quit thinking about this career, and that’s certainly understandable. If you decide to stop, this publication has been well worth your time and has prevented a potential financial disaster in your personal life and career. If it were easy, everyone interested in a sales position would be in it already!
Next month, read about reasons for becoming a manufacturers’ representative.
This article is excerpted from Make Your Future Happen, Ken Benjamin’s definitive guide to starting an agency.