Can’t Find a Rep In A Territory?

Here’s A New Way To Get It Done

When we were a dominant supplier to Department and Gift stores in the stationary department, we utilized 17 Sales Rep groups to cover the country. We prided ourselves on the quality of our Reps.

A number of times we had to hire new ones and after exhausting our usual selection options, we couldn’t find one to our liking. It was time to be creative in our search.
Many of our major customers had young, bright, ambitious buyers, who by other industry standards, were underpaid. We quietly broached one on the subject, and he was interested in making the move, but it was a commission only job, and he had a wife and two children to support and worried how long it would take to get his earnings up to at least his current salary. My partner, Sales Manager, and I huddled the next day and came up with what we thought was a win-win solution.

We tried to get one or two other non-competing successful suppliers to team up with us to offer the buyer our lines on a commission basis and were successful in getting two. We did the math, which showed that the existing accounts he would inherit would give him at least commissions equal to the salary he was currently receiving. The result was he quit his job, became a Rep, and was wildly successful. We and the other suppliers had major sales increases in the territory and had a very loyal and productive Rep for many years. We tried the same approaches in a few other instances, with the same success.

Bob Reiss

Bob Reiss was a national manufacturers’ representative for 14 years before changing his business model and becoming a manufacturer who sold through manufacturers’ reps. He has been involved in 16 start-ups and one of his companies was named to the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing companies for three years in a row. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Business School. An army veteran, he is the author of Bootstrapping 101 — Tips to Build Your Business With Limited Cash and Free Outside Help and Sales Reps, both available now on His website contains a large free blog archive of issues that confront Entrepreneurs.

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