Manufacturer’s representatives can be defined as contractors who work independently to develop different kinds of relationships with client companies to sell products and services. Usually, these representatives do not function under the manufacturer’s supervision. This means that their relationship is not like that of an employee to the boss but rather that of a business to business.
These kinds of firms are also called multi-line companies in the sense that they can be owned by one person or they can be a complete organization that has many sales persons working and covering different territories. Normally, an agency includes six employed people and can include those who handle all office duties, and such firm sells for about 10 manufacturers or principles. On average, such reps handle a sales volume of around 8.9 million dollars annually. Independent sales reps represent all sorts of product lines like food and beverage, furniture, processing equipment, energy, electronics, jewelry, crafts, and so on. Any kind of product that is manufactured can be handed over to sales representatives.
When you think of hiring sales reps, you need to oversee some things that are very important to your brand. These things include:
Records of a call
You may be used to having sales reps employed in-house. When you have independent manufacturer reps, do not be inclined to get call reports. In most cases, agreements, often in writing, are drafted to exempt the independent rep from such a responsibility. The rep is considered a businessperson. This means that they do not need to follow what you say. They have their own resources, which they allocate as they see fit. This means that resources will be dedicated to the areas that he or she feels is productive in his or her own perspective. Most reps avoid situations where they may not be able to sell. It is very important to track the results that the sales reps achieve, but you should never try to track or control their activities. In short, manufacturer reps are actually exempt from giving records of a call.
Report of market competition
An independent manufacturer’s rep needs to notify the company or principals that they work for about all the market trends, including the competition especially within the territory where they operate. This is in relation to the different lines that the principals deal with.
A rep should understand that the sales climate might change significantly in different areas or even all around the world. When you offer the manufacturer this kind of feedback, you give them the ability for them to adjust all the marketing strategies in accordance with the needs of specific regions, People view products differently and one region may not necessarily be as successful as the next.
Manufacturing forecasts and budgeting
The independent sales rep is required to submit different forecasts in the territory where they operate. They should also be in a position to submit their own expected budget. The expectations should be set up well in advance to avoid exceeding the budget that the manufacturer can be able to handle without straining too much. In this way, you can be sure that there is no wastage in terms of money and time.
You should understand that it is very hard to get new customers than sustaining the ones that you already have. For this reason, the rep needs to act as the customer service for the product that they are selling. When they are confident about the product, then there should be no problem at all. This means that they should be actively involved and trained to deal with manufacturing defects, errors, problem solving, setting displays, inventory control, and equipment startups and so on. When the customers get their needs and questions addressed fast and effectively, then your company reviews will always be positive. Understand that many people look at a company’s reliability and authenticity by going through the reviews. When an independent sales rep is able to handle more responsibilities for the company, the more commission they get.
Usually, sales reps are also responsible for all direct expenses that they incur with the territory where they operate this may include things like meals, hotel visits, automotive costs, and travel. However, if the rep needs to offer services over and beyond the defined territories, then it may be the responsibility of the principal to make a reimbursement to the sales reps for the expense and the time spent.
What not to foresee?
There are some common things that should not be expected from the independent reps. It is important to know this too soon as to be successful in the way you deal with the representatives.
Independent reps do not need to keep inventory or even take the title of your line. This is a relationship that should be awarded to distributors.
Application responsibility should not be expected from the reps either. This also includes the financial burden that may be expected when warranty issues are being resolved. This burden is a sole responsibility of the principal.