Working with Sales Reps from a Sales Rep

If you have not already heard, I recently became a grandmother!  I am currently away from home visiting with my grandson and visiting with my daughter and the baby’s father.  Little Dante is the cutest little guy!  I am thoroughly enjoying my time with him!  Since my 28 year old daughter is “my baby” it has been a long time since I have spend to much time with an infant!

Today, I am sharing an past article on working with sales reps.  I hope you enjoy it!

After working for nearly twelve years as an independent sales representative to the gift industry, I could share plenty of interesting stories about producers and gift shops.  I doubt that I have “seen it all”, but there are some pretty interesting stories to be told!

Salesperson 2All and all, I have loved working as a gift rep with both producers and gift shops.  Actually, I love the retail environment from every angle … so many interesting things and people to deal with!  But being a sales rep, has put me in a position to help new or seasoned producers see their business in a different perspective.

I would like to share some tips on what to do or not to do when working with your reps – from a sales rep’s perspective:

1.    Treat your rep as your sales and/or marketing partner.  They are out there to help you make sales, not to compete with you!

2.    Pay your rep promptly and accurately.  Nothing will de-motivate your rep faster than going months with being paid.  Selling your products is what they do for a living and they need to be paid  – just like you would pay your employees.

3.    Try to follow up with your rep in a timely manner when he or she calls for information – most likely the request came from a potential buyer.  They longer you take to get back to the rep the less likely they will be able to close the sale.

4.    Be generous with flyers and sample.  Once again, these items are probably requested by a potential buyer.

5.    If you receive an order direct from the customer, don’t assume the rep is not doing their job.  Many buyers will order first time from a rep and then prefer to order direct from the company.  Or maybe the rep stopped by with the information and potential sale, but the buyer calls you instead.

6.    Be honest and upfront with your rep.  If you plan to hire someone else to cover some of their territory, for example, talk this over with your current rep.  It is de-motivating for your sales rep to find out sensitive information such as this from your customers.

7.    Be timely with price or product changes.  If you inform your customers about your changes and forget to tell your rep, you will make your rep look misinformed about everything in your line.

8.    Don’t be afraid to have a written agreement with your rep.  I have found that “good fences make good neighbors”.

9.    Give your rep(s) as much information as possible about your potential customers (if they are servicing your house accounts).  They more they know, the better they will sell for you.

10.    If you have a problem with a customer, make sure to talk this over with your rep.  They may be able to help you.

These are just a few tips – from a sales rep’s perspective – on hiring and working with sales reps.  As you continue growing your business, I am sure you will find more items to add to the list.

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  1. ” Be generous with flyers and sample. Once again, these items are probably requested by a potential buyer.”

    Flyers… OK. But “samples”?

    I can see having samples for foods/other consumables, or small/relatively cheap items for everybody the rep contacts, but what sort of “samples” are expected for items which are expected to retail for $50-100+? (And you have no history of sales to the potential retailers).

    For example: If you do clothing– do you give the rep 1 item to show to everybody? a sampler of fabrics swatches/yarns/other materials used?

  2. Kaytee, every company, as well as sales rep, is different in their need for samples. For higher ended items, it is still advantageous to have samples to show stores. The most expensive items I sold was 24K Gold and Silver jewelry. I had a box of sample worth $300 to $500 filled with numerous different designs.

    For clothing, I do suggest sending your sales rep a sample so they and the store can see workmanship.

    Best to discuss this with your sales rep who has a better idea of what they will need to sell you products. And with higher end items, I recommend you request they are returned after an appropriate period of time (when shown to all buyers).