The most frequent question I receive from producers is “where can I find a sales rep for my products”. Of course, finding where sales reps “hang out” is as illusive as it sounds. But there are places where you can find good referrals.
In this article we will explore some of the simpler ways to find sales reps; whereas, in part two, we will review some of the more involved methods to locate sales organizations. No one place or referral is better than another – use whichever one will work best for you.
Store buyer referrals are an excellent source of information regarding good sales reps. Go to your favorite gift store (or shop that sells products similar to your own) to talk to the owner/manager. They may share with you what companies have good sales representation and may be looking for new products. I have personally found this option to be one of the best ones – especially if you have a good relationship with a store owner/buyer/manager who is willing to share this information with you.
Talk to other producers in your niche who they use as sales reps. Most established gift manufacturers or producers will have a history of reps or rep organizations they have used and can give you some excellent referrals. Most producers are pretty knowledgeable and are often willing to share this information with you!
Trade magazines such as Country Business (now called Smart Retailer) features multiple gift company with hundreds of different products and rep showrooms. In the back of these magazines, you can find a list of the different advertisers and with their contact information. Also, many trade magazines have a ‘Want Ads’ listing where you may find a sales rep company specifically looking for new lines.
Growing your company and hiring a sales rep can be one of the most productive changes you can make when moving into the wholesale market arena. Often, just talking to the right people will help you find what you need.
In part two, we will talk about sales rep organization and where to find them.