by Ken Benjamin

Many of the guidelines I am recommending are the result of not having anyone to ask advice of in the early days. This resulted in my making some pretty dumb mistakes, which fortunately were small and not financially crippling.

My own experience, as well as that of many others, has been that you want to search for and represent small companies that have never had a full-time professional salesman. Try to find a company that has “the better mousetrap” and has been able to only sell them on a local basis by personal reputation. Sooner or later, these small companies run out of friends and neighbors to sell to!

What you’re really doing is discovering companies that are smaller, perhaps out of the way, and typify the entrepreneur owner who has the desire to expand, yet cannot afford to pay the sales cost for his own direct salesman. Long-term, this type of prospect has the potential for a very long-term relationship profitable to both parties.

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

Over the next few months, we’re going to take an in-depth look at what it took to start Western Environmental Equipment Corp. a very successful California manufacturers’ rep agency.