How to Hire a Sales Representative

For many brands that sell wholesale, utilizing independent reps and rep firms is a key part of their sales strategy. For some, it’s not cost-effective to employ in-house reps, or they simply need to get feet on the ground quickly without having to put resources into establishing a salaried team. Others recognize the depth of the existing networks and relationships an independent rep may provide, which can open up new business opportunities in existing markets, and provide access to new territories. Whatever the reason, wholesalers often look to hiring independent sales representatives, also called manufacturer’s reps, as an alternative to way to build a sales force. These independent reps usually have their own companies or work for a rep firm that employs a group of salespeople. They work as independent contractors on commission only (generally resulting in higher commissions on each sale) and may represent other brands, but hiring an independent rep requires no up-front risk. If you’re thinking of hiring independent reps but aren’t sure where to start, here’s a quick overview.

How to Hire Independent Sales Reps to Represent Your Brand

So you’ve decided that you want independent reps to at least be part of your sales force. How do you find a rep that’s in the territory you want, with the domain experience needed to sell your product? Here are a few ways:

1. FIND INDEPENDENT REPS AT TRADE SHOWS:

Trade shows can be great networking opportunities, not just for finding new customers, but also for finding sales representation. By attending high-traffic trade shows in your industry, you may come across independent reps or firms representing other brands at the show and/or looking for new lines to represent. Try to branch out at trade shows to develop relationships with these kinds of contacts.

2. USE A REP-MATCHING SERVICE OR DATABASE:

Services like RepHunter.net or RepRight.com specialize in helping to match independent sales representatives with wholesalers, manufacturers, and distributors who need their services. Sales reps go to these sites looking for new product lines to represent, while companies seek commission-only sales representation.

3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LINKEDIN:

Social Media can also help. Try finding independent reps in your industry by joining relevant LinkedIn groups or conducting a quick search for independent reps working in the industry/territory you’re looking for.

4. ASK EXISTING RETAIL CUSTOMERS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS:

If you already have an existing list of customers, try asking them to recommend independent sales reps that they’ve met or worked with before. As retail buyers, they have likely worked with many independent reps over the years, and this method can be a great way to find independent sales reps that retailers already enjoy working with.

5. POST THE POSITION ON ONLINE JOB SEARCH SITES:

While this kind of approach may not yield many targeted results, it can’t hurt to make it part of your search strategy. At the very least, doing this kind of exercise will force you to create a concrete job description that outlines the key qualifications you’re looking for.

6. PLACE AN AD OR REQUEST IN A TRADE PUBLICATION OR RELEVANT SALES ASSOCIATION PUBLICATION/WEBSITE:

This is a more targeted approach than the point listed above, as publications or websites dedicated to your industry or to the independent sales rep community will more likely get you connected with exactly the kind of people you’re looking for. Note, however, that there are many organizations geared toward specific industries, so be sure to do your research. Of course, in any of these scenarios, remember that despite the fact that these reps aren’t working on a salaried basis, they’re still going to be representing your brand to customers. Be sure to conduct a thorough interview process, get a good idea of their experience in the industry and the quality of their relationships with their existing customers, and seek referrals to validate what they’ve told you.

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What Clients Say About Patrice & Associates

  • Carly was very amazing!!!

    She worked and understood my situation, potential and needs.  She knew what I was looking for, what my options were, and she never offered fake leads or over or under-qualified positions.  Carly is a great asset to your company.  She is very polite, welcoming  and a professional individual.

    I once again thank her for her efforts and time to land me an opportunity which suits my skills and needs.   Thank you. Harshesh patel. Carly was very amazing!!!
  • I am grateful for Milton's help...

    I would like to give thanks to Milton Sallee, he definitely took the time make sure that I was ready for my interview. By just coaching me form start to end, and I believe the extra training he gave me was definitely the most helpful. He represents his client well.  I am grateful for everything that he has done and I can't wait till I start with with me new career. Thanks for your help, Anthony V. Branch II I am grateful for Milton's help...
  • Stacie is one of the best recruiters that I have ever worked with!

    She is very professional, resourceful, thorough, prompt, efficient, and engaged. She is full of so much passion and drive. She had my best interest at heart throughout our three month process (we were only engaged with one concept the entire time). I began the process with a wealth of knowledge and experience, but Stacie was still able to add tons of value to my profile and preparation throughout the entire process. Stacie keeps in contact with me on a regular basis, even during my training. She played an essential role in me joining a great organization. Stacie is a great asset, and I am grateful that our paths crossed. I give her a five star rating!   Sincerely, Joshua Towbridge Stacie is one of the best recruiters that I have ever worked with!
  • Jonathan Litt was amazing!

    He was there step by step. I never felt that I was alone in this process . I received constant feedback and updates. And within a few short weeks I had offers .  Patrice and Associates were instrumental in my job transition. Thank you, Rodney Powell Jonathan Litt was amazing!
  • Caleb was a absolutely a pleasure to work with!  

    Caleb reached out to me and was very professional throughout the entire process. He presented a great opportunity and offered guidance and support as needed to ensure a positive outcome. I would recommend him to a friend or colleague.   Thank you, Chris Feltz Caleb was a absolutely a pleasure to work with!