Useful blog for Sales Reps

Anyone working with or as an independent sales rep can benefit from the wisdom of Bob Reiss. You can find a lot of his writings on his blog at the Bootstrapping101 website, at http://www.bootstrapping101.com/blog/.

We also recommend his book Bootstrapping101.  You can also buy Bob Reiss’ book on Amazon.

Software Sales Tips: Making the Sale

The software landscape changes all the time. Start-ups innovate and new software models, such as Software as a Service (SaaS), emerge to change the way even the largest businesses do business. Despite this rapidly changing landscape, enterprise IT sales still operate on many of the same fundamental principles they always have. In fact, all of the changes in software may even reinforce traditional ways of doing b2b software sales. Check out our software sales tips below to stay up to date with how enterprise IT sales are done today.

  1. Appeal to Conservative Customers

In Enterprise IT sales things move far more slowly than they do in B2C. Members of IT departments or operations don’t always need the flashy new thing on the market – in fact, getting too caught up in fads might make them look bad. They need to be reassured that your software is a sound decision, that it will meet all their needs and that they will receive sufficient support in installation and beyond. You are selling to someone who will likely have to train up a staff to use the software. Reassuring them that their job responsibilities will get easier, not harder, and that they won’t get fired is very important!

  1. Emphasize Utility

As much as some people enjoy being early adopters in their lives as consumers, businesses rarely can afford that kind of luxury. Selling enterprise software requires emphasizing functionality, usability, and security. Extra bells and whistles are just that.

  1. Patience

Replacing enterprise level software can take a long time, and involve the input of a number of decision-makers. As a B2B software sales rep, you must learn the nature of the food chain at businesses you are targeting, and make sure you get the right materials in front of the right people on that chain. One of the most important software sales tips is “don’t give up easily, but don’t lose touch.” Different members of an organization will find different parts of a software compelling. Even giant companies like Salesforce have sales reps getting in front of customers, and the reason is, it still works.

If you are looking for new B2B software sales job opportunities, or B2B sales reps that can help catapult your business to the next level, check out RepHunter today!

Eco-Friendly Lighting News: LED Lighting

The LED lighting industry in the United States is already quite large and new innovations on the market promise to only expand its reach. The market not only offers great opportunities for LED sales reps, it also saves energy and helps the environment.

Eco-friendly lighting is an important aspect of any environmental movement due to how much energy it is able to conserve. Saving a watt of energy is generally more efficient than creating a watt of clean energy. LED lighting is a very practical solution for businesses that want to reduce their footprint. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, approximately 461 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) were used by commercial and residential buildings in 2011. Cutting into a number that large by significant percentages makes a huge difference, and is a significant advantage that LED lighting adoption offers.

One of the newest innovations in the LED lighting field are LED-based T8 tube lights. They offer 30% energy savings instantly, putting far less stress on the environment and creating less pollution. Perhaps their greatest advantage is their eco-friendly lighting design. They are designed to replace the overhead tube lights you closely associate with office environments. Traditional tube lighting has a dull quality that LED lighting significantly upgrades for a more pleasing experience. This in and of itself is motivation to convert to LED. When you consider that almost half of lighting electricity is used for the commercial sector, and a little under half of that is consumed by fluorescent tubes, applying the energy savings of LED lighting could have a huge impact on our office experiences and the environment at large.

LED lighting has other advantages that extend its lifespan and add to its eco-friendliness. The lights are highly durable and less likely than conventional bulbs to break. They are resistant to vibrations and shock, and hardy enough to last through exposure to bad weather or public use. They can also handle extreme cold and heat well. This makes them a great choice for eco-friendly lighting of outdoor spaces. They have almost no UV emissions, which makes them ideal for indoor lighting on sensitive materials in museums and art galleries, too. An additional advantage to these lights is that they do not contain mercury, like fluorescent bulbs do.

As long as LED lighting is taking such effective aim at the lighting market, LED lighting jobs should continue to grow. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in this exciting industry next.

Fashion Industry Challenges & Apparel Industry Roadblocks

If you own a business in the apparel industry you are well aware you must think years in advance and anticipate changes in consumers, the supply chain, and more. How can you position yourself so that you’re catching the wave years into the future, not being knocked over by it and more powerful competitors? Read our list of some apparel and fashion industry challenges below.

Sustainability

It’s hard to ignore the emphasis on sustainability that has penetrated a number of consumer markets in the past years. The apparel industry is not immune to this, both in terms of public relations and in terms of improving the sourcing of fabrics and products. Discussion in the apparel industry has focused on being more pro-active in response to environmental and worker conditions. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition over the past few years has developed what they call “The Higg Index,” which measures social and environmental impacts at the Facility, Brand, and Product levels. This index appears to be gaining in popularity and influence, and encourages companies to use the same frame of reference in determining how successful their efforts at sustainability have been. Sustainability is one of the most important of fashion industry challenges.

Improving Efficiency

The cost of production is increasing all over the world, leaving apparel companies no longer tasked with finding the cheapest new source of production, but with coming up with efficiencies and savings in their own processes. This is one of the major challenges in the fashion industry. Increasing demands for transparency on the part of nations and non-profit organizations has exacerbated this need. Speed is another important aspect of efficiency. H&M and Zara turn over inventory quickly, pushing new looks and creating demand for novelty. They provide a lesson to other apparel companies on how to succeed in the present day business conditions. Finding a great apparel sales rep can also help you get inventory out faster.

Coping or Conquering Online

Simply put, all businesses in the apparel industry should have a plan for engaging with customers or potential partners over the Internet. Social media and online communities and services provide new outlets for discussing of pressing industry issues and, if you are a rep, finding new apparel sales opportunities. A good CRM is essential for tracking orders and creating efficiencies among staff. Mobile is probably creating efficiencies for you already, thanks to the ability to access data on the fly, but it should be an important consideration in your marketing, as well.

What apparel and fashion industry challenges do you see on the horizon for the apparel industry? Let us know in the comments!

Cosmetic Sales Trends for 2014

The beauty and cosmetics industry are particularly susceptible to trends, as the market is constantly changing due to technology and fashion. There are many groups with their eyes on the beauty market, and we take a look at some of their predictions below.

Skincare Benefits Still Popular

According to the NPD group, 86% of women purchase makeup products with skincare benefits, like moisturizer or SPF protection. If you are selling a product or thinking of entering the makeup market with a cosmetic sales representative, know that this added benefit will be a major plus to your consumer.

Beauty Spending Has Bounced Back from the Recession

The recent economic recession depressed spending in all areas. However, spending is bouncing back. In 2012, 14% of women began to spend more on beauty products, whereas 45% of women had spent less due to the economic crunch. Households with incomes greater than $75,000 a year were never touched by the recession, increasing their spending from 2008-2010. Beauty sales are a good bet in almost any economy.

The Men’s Grooming Sector Continues to Grow

When looking at product development, it’s hard to avoid the men’s grooming market. This market continues to grow as men pay more attention to their appearance, driven by the move from physical labor toward white collar office jobs. From 2012 to 2014, men’s grooming is expected to grow from $27 billion globally to $31 billion. Products contributing to this are shaving-related and increasingly post-shave, skincare and fragrance products.

BB Creams Are Flagging Slightly

BB Creams were the biggest trend of the past few years in the cosmetics industry. These products were advertised as an all in one product that helps eliminate blemishes, spots, and so on. If you are looking at selling cosmetics, these still provide a lot of opportunity, as does any product offering multi-purpose use. The buzz has died down a bit, however.

DD Creams May Be Rising

Buzz seems to have shifted to “DD creams” or “daily defense” creams. These are multi-purpose, like BB creams, and their added value is to protect the skin against external pollution as well as sweat and grease.

What trends do you see emerging in the beauty industry in 2014? Share your thoughts on skincare, cosmetic sales, and beauty sales in the comments section below!

Jewelry Trends & Jewelry News for 2014

The jewelry industry encompasses a wide range of products and purposes, from the most expensive upscale precious jewels to fun and casual jewelry for everyday wear. Checking in on jewelry trends requires looking at high end fashion shows, consumer behavior, and what patterns and ideas are intriguing designers now.

Colors

Blue was a big color in 2013 and looks to continue its reign in 2014. Sapphire and topaz are key jewels, as are imitations of sapphire and topaz. Abalone has been used more frequently in jewelry in the past year, and is somewhat inexpensive, as well as intriguing, since it is not your typical jewelry substance.

Other trending colors include orange (which looks great with blue) and what has been named the 2014 Color of the Year by the Pantone Color Institute, “radiant orchid.” Yellow gold has increased in popularity and will probably continue to do so, with the price per oz of gold dropping.

Focus on the Wrist

While watches and bracelets never go out of style, per se, there does seem to be a resurgence of interest in them as beautifully designed, statement pieces of jewelry. Bracelets are particularly great for spring, as sleeves get shorter and bare skin occupies more real estate. Watches are in some ways the companion to this trend for men, while also maintaining popularity among women. Technology is restoring attention to the watch. The Samsung Galaxy Gear watch may’ve revitalized interest in watches in general, and there are a number of watches available that look great but sit in the mid-level price range. Plus the often-rumored iWatch from Apple is something else to add interest in this area, and is sure to be a high-style item.

Getting Geometric

Another jewelry trend that’s been spotted is the emergence of eye-catching shapes, like circles, pyramids, and chevrons. These are appearing in high-end and mass market jewelry stores, adding some pep and fun to contemporary looks, and playing off punk and rock inspired fashion.

Whether you are a retailer looking to stock the hottest items in the jewelry industry or a designer looking to capitalize on trends in your production or wholesaling, paying heed to these jewelry trends and keeping up with jewelry news should help you meet with success in 2014. Learn How to Find Great Independent Jewelry Sales Reps or Jewelry Sales Rep Opportunities to set yourself up well for the rest of the year.

LED Lighting News: What’s Happening in Industrial Lighting in 2014

The LED lighting industry is an interesting one, frequently making waves one way or another, as lighting in general is subject to standards that change every few years, if not each year. In the case of LEDs, many of these changes are favorable. As regulations increase demand for energy-efficient lighting, the LED lighting industry finds more customers.

New Lighting Regulations

In January of 2014, the latest set of regulations took effect, aimed at the simple white light bulbs we remember from our youth, the 40 and 60-watt incandescent bulbs. These regulations were originally passed as part of the Energy Efficiency and Security Act of 2007 and finally rolled out as part of a staggering of regulations. These bulbs must now be 25% more efficient. A 60-watt bulb must use no more than 43 watts and a 40-watt bulb no more than 29.

This is a huge development in LED lighting news, as the 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs make up about 80% of incandescents. For businesses this squeeze on traditional lightbulbs will lead to them more seriously considering a LED retrofit of their current lighting setup. It also means that figuring out How to Find Great LED Lighting Sales Reps will increase even more in importance.

Research on ROI

Lighting retrofits are making progressively more sense for businesses. According to research from Navigant, LED lighting can yield a return on investment in 2 to 3 years, and the local, state, and national incentives that can accompany such a project can short the ROI timeframe to as little as six months.

The ROI in question is often a big number, too, and for good reason. At a retail store electric lighting generally accounts for about 22% of total energy use. Consider that a lighting retrofit can save up to 30 to 50 percent in terms of lighting energy, and 10 to 20 percent in terms of cooling energy, and you are looking at significant savings in a commercial enterprise’s budget.

With all signs pointing to a very LED lighting friendly future, you may want to read our guide, “How to Find Independent LED Lighting Sales Rep Opportunities.” LED lighting news is taking over the lighting industry, and there’s never been a better time to be part of it.

Great Sales Rep Job Interview Questions

Great Sales Rep Job Interview Questions

You’re a business owner in the financial industry in the process of expanding your lines quickly. Your product or service is ready to go, and you have used a service such as RepHunter to create a pool of highly qualified independent financial sales reps. How do you build a team of commission-only sales reps that will bring you the most success?

Below we look at some essential job interview questions to ask candidates when you’re staffing up a sales team, with reps selling financial services or selling any other type of product.

How To Conduct a Job Interview for Great Reps

Work – Job Interview Questions

What is your experience with this line?

Make sure they understand and like the product. In today’s business environment, a lot of selling is coaching prospects through the selection process and being able to rebut competitors or dispel misinformation. Having a depth of knowledge around the product and an appreciation of its value are important and hard to duplicate sales tools.

In the past, what were your quotas and how did you meet them?

A good sales rep must hit quotas, but to hire a good sales rep for your business, it’s important to drill down a bit more. Was the rep given leads by past companies, or did the rep pound the pavement to find their own? Are your rep’s numbers the product of renewals or new sales? Was the rep skilled at selling the highest priced packages, or selling many of the lowest? How long did it take the rep to close deals? This information is key for finding out who makes the best rep for your financial industry related product. Some reps will fit different businesses better than others.

Culture – Job Interview Questions

What are your hobbies/how do you like to spend your free time?

Make sure your sales reps fit the culture you are trying to create. Some companies like to incentivize sales reps by offering gift cards, vacations, cars, and so on. If your sales rep isn’t incentivized by what you have to offer, you may want to find someone else who will mesh with your company better.

What motivates you in your sales rep career?

A competitive rep has the drive to make sales. You can offer high commission and still end up with folks who don’t have the internal motivation to get things done for your company. In your interview, try to identify what makes this potential rep tick, and if their drive is a good fit for your product and sales cycle. Of course a sales rep will want to be able to get great commissions, but it’s more important to identify who has a talent and passion for selling itself, and not just chasing their own personal bottom line.

Get your interview questions right off the bat, and you’ll find yourself with a more highly qualified financial sales rep team and more HR time to boot. What questions do you think are important for interviewing sales reps?

Sales Trends: Finding Sales Reps & Succeeding In Sales in 2014

Sales Trends: Finding Sales Reps & Succeeding In Sales in 2014

We’ve talked about how as a supplier or provider of insurance (known in our terminology as a “Principal”) you can find excellent commission-only sales reps for your product (“How to Find Great Independent Insurance Reps”). These are great tips for identifying who should be part of your core commission-only staff. To increase sales and keep your team happy, it’s important to make sure your reps are the right ones and attuned with the most effective sales strategies for today’s economy and general business environment. Read our tips below for getting the most out of commission-only sales in 2014 in the insurance industry.

How to Hire a Sales Rep – Screen Thoroughly

Taking extra time to review applicants can result in a hardier sales staff that you can rely upon to grow your business. Learn more about their past experiences. Former teachers can be great assets as sales staff, for example, in their ability to communicate effectively and sympathetically. Dive deeper into resumes than you would on the first interview and get a good feel for the person. Find out if they’ve ever used your service or a similar service, and what they thought of it at the time. Break the churn and burn rep cycle and find superstars.

Select & Foster Today’s Sales Skills to Keep Up With Sales Trends

As with every other industry, the insurance industry has been deluged with information that puts potential buyers of your service at a higher info level than ever. Prospects will be checking reviews and learning information online before you have a chance to pitch them. This means that people pursuing insurance sales rep jobs need to be more informed than ever about the industry around them – competitors, misinformation, new sales trends, and more. They need to know about your company’s reputation, and be prepared to respond to online reviews of your service. In fact, reps should welcome this – the high info skeptics are beginning to drive purchasing more than the chummy types. It is up to the rep to help buyers make a decision, and show them the efficiencies in making that purchase with you, rather than simply packaging a product. Sales reps need to engage in a critical process with prospects to determine what unmade needs haven’t been met, what aspects of the business can be connected that are not now, and provide informed support through what has become a longer sales cycle.

What sales trends do you think will affect sales in 2014? Let us know how you are affected as a sales rep or as a Principal below.

Pharma Trends: The Optimistic Pharmaceutical Industry Heads into 2014

The Optimistic Pharmaceutical Industry Heads into 2014

The economy’s slow improvement has meant a rosier outlook for a number of industries, not least the pharmaceutical industry.

A business confidence report by Kable for the first quarter of 2014 shows a rosy outlook for the majority of pharmaceutical executives surveyed. 74% of executives were sanguine about the prospects for their company, and 60% believed the industry as a whole had strong growth prospects for the next six months. In fact the optimism levels of executives as a whole leapt by 8-10 percent page points over the last quarter of 2013.

To what can this confidence be attributed? Improved economic conditions around the world, new products ready to hit the marketing, and the emergence of new markets in which pharmaceutical companies have invested are among the most important pharma trends.

How the ACA Will Affect the Pharmaceutical Industry

As with the medical device industry, the pharmaceutical industry also stands to be changed by the Affordable Care Act’s implementation in 2014. From the looks of it, the pharmaceutical industry stands to overwhelmingly gain. According to Forbes, the industry should receive $10 – 35 billion of additional profits in the first decade of implementation. By 2020 revenue should be increased by one third according to GlobalData of London. This is despite expiring patents on some very well-known drugs, such as Lipitor. No wonder pharmaceutical executives are optimistic – GlobalData suggests $115 billion in new business could be generated in the next ten years for pharma. The influx of new patients simply overcomes the other hurdles the industry faces with competition from generics.

The sunny outlook in pharma trends will not surprise the careful observer. Pharma was an important partner in the construction of the bill, even though it exacts its costs in the form of greater prescription drug rebates. Being present in negotiations has paid off it seems, with the good outweighing the bad.

A Pharmaceutical Sales Rep’s Outlook

With so many new patients stressing the system, independent pharmaceutical sales reps should have their hands full indefinitely. Adding new lines and adjusting to the market should provide great opportunities moving forward into 2014 and beyond. For companies looking to jump out ahead of these trends, adding pharma sales jobs, or even more easily, taking on independent, commission-only reps, will help you expand your business rapidly.