Become a Fan
If you plan to grow your business and offer your products to numerous retail outlets, you may need to hire a sales representative. An independent sales representative or sales representative organization (or group) will offer your products to his or her group of gift buyers and sell your products in retail stores in their territory.
Using sales reps probably qualify as the lowest cost option for manufacturers interesting in expanding sales regionally or nationally. Sales reps’ main purpose is to introduce, educate and take orders for product lines and receive a commission as compensation, rather than making your money on the price differential between buying and selling prices.
Listed below are several different places or venues where sales reps can be found.
Region gift shows are specifically designed for buyer to meet manufacturer, but are also one of the best places to solicit sales reps and let them know you are looking for representation for your line. Often when touring these types of shows, you see booths noting they are sales reps company.
Gift shows and not open to the public and have many requirements for attendees. Make sure to check the scheduled dates and make arrangements with the show management company before traveling to a region gift show.
Gift marts or showrooms are a building of numerous rooms where gift wares are showcased all year round. Most of these rooms are run by larger sales rep companies that may be looking for new products
Once again, gift marts are not open to the public either. Check also which days the rooms are open and if you need an appointment to visit a specific room as the marts may not be open certain days of the week. Make arrangements for passage into these marts ahead of time.
Store buyer referrals are an excellent source of information regarding good sales reps. Go to your favorite gift store (or shop that sells products similar to your own) to talk to the owner/manager. They may share with you what companies have good sales representation and may be looking for new products.
Talk to other producers in your niche who they use as sales reps. Most established gift manufacturers or producers will have a history of reps or rep organizations they have used and can give you some excellent referrals. Most producers are pretty knowledgeable and are often willing to share this information with you!
Trade magazines such as Country Business features multiple gift company with hundreds of different products and rep showrooms. In the back of these magazines, you can find a list of the different advertisers and with their contact information. Also, many trade magazines have a ‘Want Ads’ listing where you may find a sales rep company specifically looking for new lines.
Sales rep organizations are available nation-wide to help put rep and manufacturers together. These organizations list a database of sales representation looking for new produce lines. Most of these organizations feature a widely advertised website with lots of helpful information you can access on-line.
UAMR (http://www.uamr.com) is probably the biggest organization where you list your company to potential sales reps. Membership for manufacturers does require a fee, but the potential as a member is great.
Other sales rep “matching services” include the following (not an exhaustive list):
Manufacturer’s Representatives Wanted: http://www.manufacturers-representatives.com/
Manufacturer’s Representative Profile: http://www.mrpusa.com/
Growing your company and hiring a sales rep can be one of the most productive changes you can make when moving into the wholesale market arena. Often, just talking to the right people will help you find what you need.