Manufacturers Representatives

Written by Sandy Mitchell
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The Job of a Manufacturer Representative

A manufacturer representative is a self-employed sales person who represents more than one (generally, non-competing) product line. He runs his own business, buys his own office equipment, pays his own expenses, and pays his own taxes. If he needs a support person to handle scheduling, paperwork, and in-coming phone calls, that person's salary and benefits, if any, are the manufacturer rep's responsibility. Manufacturer representatives are generally required to travel at their own expense to visit clients and to entertain them as needed. Most manufacturer reps are paid exclusively on commission and usually command a higher percentage of the sales they generate than their company-hired counterparts.

Like a company-hired sales representative, a manufacturer rep is responsible for generating new sales, preserving existing accounts, and addressing client concerns. In addition, he represents his products at trade shows and conventions. Because he generally represents more than one line, a manufacturer rep can offer a comprehensive package of several complementary products to his client.

Skills Required for a Manufacturer Representative

First and foremost, a successful manufacturer rep must be knowledgeable about and believe in his product. Depending on the product, some technical knowledge may be required. In addition, a successful manufacturer rep must be a good salesperson, enjoy interacting with people, and be able to manage his time wisely.

Although many manufacturer representatives are very successful without benefit of a college degree, prospective candidates would be well advised to pursue a degree, ideally in sales or marketing. Increased competition for sales jobs has made having a college degree nearly essential. In addition, technical training may be necessary depending on the product represented.

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