Developing New Markets and New Customers Using Professional Field Sales Reps


Should your business enter new markets?

The answer may be “Yes,” but pause to reflect before making that jump. If you are considering expansion, even targeting new territories or new customers, the odds are you’ve enjoyed some level of success in your current market. You know your market, know your customers, and know how to serve the market and those customers. On the one hand, entering a new market is less comfortable because you must prove yourself to a new customer base. On the other hand, you know your current products and services, administrative and distribution systems are in place, … Read the rest

Planning for the Principal Territory Visit


One of the themes in this month’s Agency Sales is principal territory visits to the rep. It is important that representatives are visited by the principal from time to time in order to conduct sales meetings, product training, or just to meet with new employees who have joined the agency. Look at these visits as a positive experience, a learning experience and a way to maintain and strengthen relationships with principals.

A principal’s visit to the territory can be one of the most important events in the selling process. However, in today’s challenging economy principals and reps report such visits … Read the rest

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same


The past, present, and future for a sales professional is ever changing with technological tools constantly being upgraded. I began my career before the technology boom. It is overwhelming to see the benefits from the past to the present and still realize I rely on the “old-boy” concepts.

Before all this technology came my way, it seemed that we had more face-to-face encounters with the companies we represented. Through national sales meetings and regional meetings we got firsthand information from the companies on a more personal level. We also had more product training and a better understanding of the company … Read the rest

A New Challenge Facing Reps: the Generation Gap!


It used to be that the standard answer to the question “Why do you do (fill in the blank) that way?” was “Because that’s the way I’ve always done it.” I say “used to be” because times have changed, and they’ve forced the independent manufacturers’ representative to change not only the way he thinks, but the way he does virtually everything.

Among the many drivers of change that reps are coping with today are the different generations populating the workforce. These generational differences are highlighted in this issue of Agency Sales. This is a subject that we’ve looked at before … Read the rest

What Is the Greatest Problem Reps Face?


As the market the rep works in continues to grow internationally, rep firms must walk a tightrope in order to achieve balance between the needs of principals and customers.

On the one hand, it’s imperative for the rep to communicate customer needs to his principals — especially as those needs relate to product quality and competitive pricing. The importance of this consideration is compounded if the principal locates a partner for manufacturing needs in another country. Such a move can result in commission cuts to the rep, or can result in cutting the rep out entirely.

On the other hand, … Read the rest

Editorial…In the Field


Every sales agency knows the importance of commission management. The topic of commissions presents many dilemmas while you’re negotiating a fair and equitable contract.

All manufacturers’ representatives should have contracts in place with principals whom they represent with written and agreed commission percentages. All commission programs should establish successful rewards to both parties in order to create a long-term relationship.

The commission on existing business helps to defray the new sales agency’s expenses for investing resources and time to create demand for the new principal’s products among the rep’s customer base.

Some manufacturers have little or no business in a … Read the rest