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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  • I would like to personally thank Ken for all his help in helping me to find a job. On June 1st I was released from my job of 11 years. I was unsure of what my next steps would be. I haven't been through an interview in years and I felt like I was unprepared. Ken took the time to help me step by step. He first gathered all my personal information and work history. He built a resume from all of that information and articulated my accomplishments in a way I never could have. He sent me tips on what to wear, questions to ask, and called after my interviews to see how it went. He gave me support and encouragement when I was at my absolute lowest. I couldn't have asked for a better recruiter! Thank you again Ken! Thanks, Again, KenGeneral Manager, Logan's Road House, Chattanooga TN
  • Ken Schreifels was a great help during the whole process from start to finish. He was with me every step of the way with tips and words of encouragement. If I had any questions or concerns, no matter what time of day it was, he was there to answer it. I would recommend Ken to anyone. Thank you, William  I Would Recommend Ken to Anyone Looking for a New JobGeneral Manager, Fuddruckers, New Jersey
  • David Israel was a pleasure to work with and was instrumental in helping me find an excellent career opportunity .

    David was extremely professional and took the time to really listen to where I was in my career and what I was looking for. As a result of the work he did to connect me with the right opportunity, I was able to obtain a great starting salary and great benefits as well. I would highly recommend David’s services to both job seekers and employers. Josh Axmacher David Israel was a pleasure to work with!
  • Tim was nothing but helpful from the start!

    I was originally contacted by Tim as a reference for someone who used to work for me. He must have recognized that I myself was a good fit, because within a few minutes the conversation turned to me applying for the job.  He was always pushing for me. He was there to help with everything, every step of the way, and was in constant communication. He played a massive role in me landing an amazing job with an even better company. I can't stress enough how awesome this guy was. Tim will coach you through the entire process and be your biggest advocate. He has a lifetime of experience and knows exactly what companies are looking for. A+, 10/10, two thumbs up, 5-stars. Thanks for everything Tim! Brock Kinley Tim was nothing but helpful from the start
  • Tim was very patient and thorough when going through the process of trying to find employment for me and my skills. I appreciate the time and effort he put in for me and I would recommend Tim Walker & Patrice and Associates to anyone looking for great opportunities. Carolyn Floyd Tim was very patient & thorough!