Pushing the Envelope: Working with Sales Reps

Of all the questions I get asked, where or how to work with sales reps is at the top of the list.  A good question as hiring a sales rep is probably the best first step in expanding your wholesale sales to retail outlets.

Most producers I have known over the years, love working their line of product … and often hate and dread the process of selling their products to a gift shop.  Seemingly giving sales presentations, for professional crafters and manufacturers, ranks right up there with public speaking as the most feared and hated tasks.  (Unless you are an extroverted people person, such as me.  But then, I don’t have the creative know-all to come up with a unique gift product either!!)

Over the years, I have read lots of sales books, explaining the general how-to sell, but until I read Pushing the Envelope, I had never read a book about how to effectively pass this task off to a professional sales person:  a sales rep!

Pushing the Envelope: The Small Greeting Card Manufacturer’s Guide to Working with Sales Reps is co-authored by Meryl Hooker, a fellow sales rep and speaker/consultant and her business partner, Rob Fortier, a greeting card manufacturer.  In the book, you will learn:

  • How to get your greeting card line ready for reps
  • Tips on searching for reps
  • What you can expect from reps, and what they expect from you
  • How to deal with rep territories and pay commission
  • Tools and tricks to keep your relationships with reps on-track
  • Industry lingo that sales reps and retailers will expect you to know
  • How to grown your line and keep reps interested in your products

Although the book is written from the perspective of the greeting card industry, the down-to-earth advice can be applied to any gift industry!

Personally, I laughed and lamented with Meryl and Rob over the same issues I faced as a producer and sales rep.  Pushing the Envelope brought back lots of good memories of my days on the sales rep road.

For more information, visit Meryl and Rob’s website:  Center Aisle Group

2 comments for “Pushing the Envelope: Working with Sales Reps

  1. June 20, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Hi

    My business is located outside the US, but I sell online to US customers. Can I still arrange to work with a rep to sell my items to shops in the US?

    How can I reach such reps, and how do I know I can trust them?

    Thank you very much.

  2. June 20, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I see no reason why you could not hire a US rep to sell your products even though you live outside the US.

    Check out my mini-website for information on how to find reps:

    http://www.squidoo.com/where-to-find-sales-representatives-for-your-gift-products

    As far as trusting them, there is no easy answer! Trust is a decision. Once you make that decision and act on it, I think things will work themselves out. You may run into a few bad apples here and there, but just dismiss them and go on to the next candidate.

    Good luck!

    Sandy

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