Requirements for Successful Use of Independent Reps

Productive independent sales reps want quality products and services from quality companies. Ready your company to maximize your opportunity for a successful independent sales representation experience.

  1. Be "Rep-Ready" with an adequate business plan
    • Your business plan allows a "living wage" for the rep. For example, if a rep is going to spend 25% of his time on your line, then he needs to generate 25% of his income from it. To achieve a median income level, that means the rep would need to clear $14,000 from your commissions, net of expenses.
    • Adequate capitalization—can you finance your raw materials, advertising, staff and all other expenses during your ramp up period?
    • Your Branding
    • A compelling website
    • Marketing communications and messaging already crafted explaining the benefits and features of the products and services
    • A good pricing model
    • A compelling commission rate
    • Sales Model/Process - lead generation, cold calling scripts, sales pitches, answers to common objections, sales presentations and follow up
    • Sales Management Plan - training process, ongoing support, marketing materials
  2. Understand the Rep Channel
    • Understand time to place order
      • Even if you have the most desirable product imaginable, you don't just walk in to a buyer at Target and get the order next week;
      • Even if they like you, it could take six to nine months before order is in hand.
    • Understand EDI
    • Understand market ramp up time at retail (displays, arranging shelf-space, etc.)
    • Understand that large order size might overwhelm your ability to deliver
  3. Be Ready to Communicate with the Rep on the details as they fit your business
    • Current customer lists
    • Company history
    • Brand comparisons
    • Sales book - pricing and sell sheets
    • Liability Insurance
    • Terms for customer payments
    • Blank invoice for setting up accounts
    • Price lists
    • Volume incentives/Volume bonus programs
    • Holiday and Seasonal items
    • Product and New item information
      • Case Cube / Case Weight / Case Dimensions
      • Pallet Count / UPC / GTIN UPC / Item descriptions
      • Club Packs / Special Packs / Pallet programs / Shippers
      • Knock down (empty cartons/packaging)
    • Placement programs / slotting available
    • Private label, co-branding, branded
    • Delivered and FOB your plant
    • Remittance address
    • Minority-owned opportunities: WBENC.COM
    • Certifications or audits if necessary in your industry
  4. Be Ready to Recruit
    • In order to recruit and entice established independent sales reps, you need to have a sales pitch to "sell" yourself to these candidates.
    • "Closing" a rep is like closing a customer
  5. Be Ready to Interview
    • Have a process in place to filter out those who will not be good candidates.
  6. Be Ready to Contract
    • 1099 Form for Independent Contractors
    • Independent Sales Rep Contractor Agreement (see our sample forms at Training)
    • Non-disclosure Agreement
  7. Be Ready to Manage
    • Have accounting software
    • Have commission reporting capability
    • Plan to get up and running
    • Establish a sales management system

Portions used with permission from Uwe Jannsen, International Business Support Center. and from Bob Cheek, Cheek Sales & Power Marketing.