5 reasons reps turn lines down

Hi, Tom Metsa your friendly 1099 rep expert here:

Many companies have attempted at one time or another to hire a “full commission”, “1099”, or “independent rep”. This could be an individual, an agency, a distributor, reseller, etc. Regardless of their structure, there are 5 major reasons why these folks chose to not take on your product and/or service. Let me walk through them based on my experience:

  1. Not a fit for their client base: most 1099 reps/firms have built their business structure around a very specific market segment. Regardless of how they present themselves on Internet sites, they have a specialty market they serve. If your product/service does not fit in that vertical, they will most likely turn it down.

    Alternative: if there is a way your product/service can still benefit the rep in a secondary way, explore that avenue with them. For example a pharma rep is looking for time with the Dr or office staff. If your product is something that can enhance the office and/or patient experience….even if it has nothing to do with Pharma, the rep may give it consideration.
  2. They can’t add another line as they are at capacity: pretty common with many reps/groups. They have a full book of products/services and they simply can’t add another one.

    Alternative: review their line card. Find the one that your product/service can replace….its in their book because they have existing sales. If yours is better, they will consider swapping them out.
  3. They have a non-compete with another product/service: deal breaker in most cases. Even if they swap out, they legally can’t turn over their client base to a new principle. Probably not a good target in the first place.

    Alternative: they will know other reps in the vertical, best to use these folks as references for other potential reps.
  4. No customer base for line: also known as pioneering a line. Many experienced reps are not interested in bringing a line from infancy as it costs the rep a lot of time and money to bring the product/service into the market. They will often turn down without even reviewing it.

    Alternative: have some killer “go to market” sales tools. Some fun ideas on how to help the reps introduce the line. If they can have fun doing it, and they already have an existing customer base…they may give it a chance. Plus offer a little larger commission base.
  5. New company, no company history: a completely new company is always a risk for the rep. They don’t know if the line or the company will be in business in 6 months. Many turn down simply on principle.

    Alternative: similar to the ones above. Make it fun, find a way to use this line to help sell their other lines. Pay them a higher commission and guarantee no house accounts…..ever!

Will any of these suggestions guarantee a rep will take on your line? No, they can be a fickle lot….yet by being prepared to have a detailed conversation about how your line can help the rep’s business (Yep, you heard me right)….you may just be able to build yourself a powerful rep force in a very short time period.

Happy Selling!

Tom MetsaTom Metsa

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