If you plan to grow your wholesale business, you may need to consider hiring sales reps or manufacturer reps. An independent sales representative or sales representative organization (or group) will offer your products to their established gift buyers who are ready to buy new items for their stores.
Sales reps’ main purpose is to introduce, educate and take orders for product lines and receive a commission as compensation. Reps commissions are taken out of the wholesale price of the product rather than on the price differential between buying and selling prices. Using sales reps probably qualifies as the lowest cost option for manufacturers interested in expanding sales regionally or nationally.
Manufacturer reps are found and hired through many different venues. Listed below are some of the places where sales reps can be found.
Six places where you can find sales reps
- Store buyer referrals are an excellent source of information regarding good sales reps. Visit with the owner/manager of your local gift store and ask them to share with you what companies have good sales representation that may be looking for new products.
- Talk to other producers in your niche who have successful sales reps. Most established gift manufacturers or producers can give you some excellent referrals for reps or rep organizations they have used.
- Regional gift shows are also a great place to solicit sales reps. Booths at these types of shows are often run by sales reps or rep groups that may be willing to talk with you about representing your line of products.
- Gift marts or showrooms, unlike gift shows, house numerous rooms where gift wares are showcased all year round. Many of these rooms are run by larger sales rep companies that may be looking for new products NOTE: Gift shows and gift marts are not open to the public. Check any show or showroom before you visit to find out their specific requirements for visitation.
- Trade magazines such as Country Business or Gourmet Retailer feature multiple gift companies. In the back of these magazines, you may find a ‘Want Ads’ listing where you may find a sales rep company specifically looking for new lines.
- Sales rep referral or matching organizations are one of the best options for finding a sales representative for your products. These organizations host a listing of sales representation looking for new product lines. Most of these organizations have websites with lots of helpful information to help you with your search.
Below is a list of some of the most popular referral organizations (not an exhaustive list):
- UAMR: http://www.uamr.com
- RepHunter: http://www.rephunter.net/
- Manufacturer’s Representatives Wanted: http://www.manufacturers-representatives.com/
- Manufacturer’s Representative Profile: http://www.mrpusa.com/
- Sales Agent USA: http://www.salesagentusa.com/
Hiring a manufacturer rep can be one of the best ways to grow your company in the wholesale market arena. Connecting with the right rep is often as easy as just talking to the right people. Do you work with sales reps? If so, leave a comment below and share your experience.
This is a guest post from Sandy Dell. Sandy is an experienced independent sales representative for the gift industry. She is the founder of Selling to Gift Shops where she helps entrepreneurs sell their products to stores and work with sales reps.