What Independent Manufacturers’ Representatives Should Expect From Their Principals
Training is essential, even if the manufacturer does not produce non-technical products such as socks or brushes. Training is required for all new representatives, even those who are not involved in technical products. Principals may cover some or all expenses for reps’ training, courses, or travel (if an independent broker is expected to visit the principal’s manufacturing facility or office).
Manufacturers will often help to ease the financial burden of new hires by reducing travel costs. They will pay some or all of the travel costs for new reps, depending on the contract. This increases confidence in new representatives in their ability to support them on the field. It also signals economic strength.
Independent sales reps are often incompetent because they lack the product knowledge necessary to confidently and competently market their manufacturers’ products—bottom line: If a manufacturer’s representative isn’t comfortable selling a product, they won’t. Training should not be restricted to the initial stages of a relationship. Products are constantly upgraded and improved. Training must be ongoing and comprehensive.
2. Initial travel period.
The first few months of a rep’s career can be difficult, especially when they are launching a new territory or market. Many news reps require assistance. To make initial sales presentations more manageable, principals might consider having a corporate employee accompany the sales rep. This helps agents gain a deeper understanding of the product line. This helps them quickly identify common customer problems or issues and allows them to resolve these issues once they are free from the tutelage of their principal.
3. Sales and marketing collateral.
As much marketing and sales collateral as possible should be available to independent reps. Brochures, catalogs, color charts, and pamphlets, as well as flyers, brochures, and product samples, are all valuable marketing materials. This material is not a legitimate reason for a principal to withhold it.
4. Rapid Response.
The principal must respond quickly to manufacturers reps who submit troubleshooting feedback or requests for quotes. Reps’ ability to react promptly to customer needs is key to their success in supporting customers. Although it may be obvious, principals also benefit from quick responses. Surprisingly poor response times are one of the most common complaints made by independent manufacturer’s representatives.
5. Tracking orders and sales.
Sales representatives do not have a guaranteed commission. They must work for every penny they make. To be able to do this, they need access to crucial information that principals should give them.
– Updated price list
Order status – (Back).
– Invoice copies
– Sales collateral and product literature
– Commission schedule
6. Customer lists.
Principals should give their reps lists of customers. Independent sales reps can leverage user lists and installation lists to market to new customers. It allows principals to demonstrate their products’ compelling value proposition. It is best for the principal to give this information to their reps, as with all other items on this listing.
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