Manufacturers Representative Directories

Written by Sandy Mitchell
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Types of Sales Professionals

Sales professionals come in many different forms. There are sales representatives who work for one company, are paid by that company, and represent that company's product lines. There are independent sales contractors. These salespeople are businesspeople who enter into an agreement with a company to represent its product line. They may or may not represent other products as well. These sales contractors are generally paid on commission.

Manufacturers representatives are self-employed sales people who represent one or more product lines. Commonly, they represent a whole selection of complementary products. These reps are paid a commission on the sales they generate. They often also represent a company at trade shows, craft fairs, and conventions. They are usually responsible for their own taxes, benefits, and office expenses.

Traits of Successful Sales Professionals

A successful sales professional must, above all else, be able to sell. Great product knowledge is not useful if the salesperson can't communicate that knowledge to the customer. Excellent communication skills are mandatory, both verbal and written. A salesperson must be able to share convincingly her products' features and benefits with a customer.

Good organizational skills are important to a successful sales professional. Many salespeople spend most of their time on the road, visiting clients. Being able to prioritize tasks and handle paperwork efficiently gives them more time with clients. Computer skills are increasingly important. Laptop computers offer instant ordering and live product availability. A college degree, especially one in sales or marketing, though not essential, is increasingly desirable.

Where To Find Sales Professionals

Finding qualified, enthusiastic, knowledgeable sales representatives is essential to any company's sales effort. Newspaper advertising, the traditional method of locating employees, is relatively ineffectual, generating vast numbers of, largely unqualified, applicants. Referrals are desirable, when offered, but are generally limited to those who work in a company's same area.

Sales representative agencies and contract sales agents can save time and money in recruiting sales personnel. A sales representative agency can screen applicants, narrowing them down to just a choice few to present to the company. No time and energy is wasted interviewing dozens of not-so-qualified prospective sales people.

Contract sales agents provide sales representation for a specific time, useful for sales reps on maternity leave or a leave of absence. A sales consulting firm can help companies find qualified sales staff as well as help write a marketing plan and devise an effective advertising and promotions strategy. These firms can also create packaging, catalogs, and point-of-purchase displays.

A relatively new method of finding good sales representation is to use an online manufacturer representative directory. This service invites sales representatives or manufacturers representatives to post a detailed profile in the directory's database. A company can subscribe and be matched with candidates that match their hiring criteria or with a manufacturers rep who already covers a targeted area. The information gathered is confidential and only shared with companies seeking sales representation.

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