How To Look For The Right Manufacturing Rep, Part 2

A good rep can boost your sales and free up your time for other business matters.

Here are more tips on finding a manufacturing rep:

6. Get smart about commission structures. Some bigdiscount houses often work only with reps who deal with themexclusively. Therefore, you may need two reps-one who calls on bigstores and another who covers specialty stores only. Commissionpercentages depend on what the stores your reps are selling to arepaying for your product. Discount chains order very large volumesand pay much less for products than specialty stores. Because thediscount houses demand-and get-good prices, there is a smallerprofit margin; therefore, less commission money is available forthe rep, although the rep usually more than makes up for it withthe size of the orders.

7. Beware of hiring a rep who is carrying too many productsor selling competing products. What is the ideal number? Acommon problem is reps who carry competing products without lettingyou know about it. Be sure to ask prospective candidates what othermanufacturers they work for.

8. Keep your reps motivated. You're competing fortheir time, so you need to figure out ways to keep them asinterested in your product line as they are in the other ones theyrepresent. New products, great advertising and creative perks keepa good rep happy. You have to constantly be in contact with yourreps. Go to trade shows with them or call a sales meeting toannounce a new product or give some positive reinforcement.

9. Grow your own reps. You may have enthusiasticemployees who have been loyal and learned the business from theground up. Try them out in sales.

10. Be prepared to fill your orders. One of the reasonssome companies aren't able to hire top reps is their inabilityto keep up with the new business. Do you have the manufacturingpower to fulfill it?

11. Monitor your reps' performance through yourcustomers. If you want to know how good your manufacturer'sreps are, ask your customers. Where can you get a better evaluationof what's really going on in the marketplace?

Hiring a good manufacturer's rep could be your company'sfirst step into a bigger market. Once you've found a good repor two, take the time to train them and keep them as motivated asyou are. It sounds simple, but it requires dedication, commitmentand, yes, sacrifice.

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