Independent Sales Representatives

Written by Sandy Mitchell
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What Is an Independent Sales Representative?

An independent sales representative is a self-employed salesperson. She signs a contract with one or many manufacturers to define her sales territory, duties, and compensation. Unlike a in-house sales rep, an independent sales representative pays her own taxes, arranges for her own insurance, and, generally, pays all of her own office expenses. Independent sales representatives are generally paid only commission, frequently at an increasing rate as sales increase.

Independent sales representatives frequently represent more than one, non-competing line. By doing this, she can offer her clients a complimentary range of products, increasing the likelihood of a sale. This is ideal, too, from the salesperson's point of view. If one line takes a downturn, she still has other lines on which to rely.

Duties of an Independent Sales Representative

Like a salesperson employed directly by a manufacturer, the independent sales rep's primary duty is to sell. She is charged with generating new accounts and maintaining existing accounts. In addition, she generally travels to meet buyers in their stores or offices, writes orders, and checks on deliveries. An independent sales representative is the client's first line of contact with the manufacturer and, in the capacity, she fields customer service issues.

Training, product knowledge, and enthusiasm are essential to a good independent sales representative. In addition, she must be able to manage her time well and prioritize tasks. Basic computer knowledge is a help to independent sales reps, as much product and ordering information is now handled via computer.

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