$200,000 Down the DrainBy Charles Cohon
“There are worse things than unsuccessfully trying to find a direct salesperson,” said the manufacturer who called me today.
Let me tell you about the call.
Most of the phone calls I’ve gotten from manufacturers recently start out like this: “I have been trying to recruit a direct salesperson for quite a while, but none of the applicants that have contacted me are even close to qualified, so I need to talk to you about reps.”
Today’s call started out like most calls I’ve received recently. The manufacturer and I spoke about some of the more common reasons to use reps:
- Existing relationships with important customers.
- Market knowledge in their territory.
- Experience in their market space.
We also spoke about the fact that even in the current tough hiring environment, reps are still abundant for most markets MANA members serve.
I shared with the manufacturer that searching for direct salespeople and not finding qualified candidates was a common problem. Then he stopped the conversation to correct me.
“My problem is not that I have been searching for direct salespeople and didn’t find qualified candidates. My problem is that after a long search that didn’t turn up qualified candidates, a year ago I got impatient and decided to settle on the least problematic of the candidates who did apply.”
“Between salary, expenses, and medical insurance, I have spent $200,000 on the salesperson I hired a year ago, and I have absolutely nothing to show for it. $200,000 down the drain. That’s why I am calling you today to talk about reps.”
“So, you see,” he concluded, “There are worse things than unsuccessfully searching for a direct salesperson. Worse than unsuccessfully searching for a direct salesperson is unsuccessfully hiring a direct salesperson.
The manufacturer’s lesson learned: Take advantage of experienced, expert MANA rep members to take your product to market. And then you won’t have to call me about $200,000 that went down the drain.
Note: The manufacturer’s comments have been edited for space and clarity.