Reports – unnecessary burden or mutually benefical tool?
Working as an independent sales rep has several advantages. You get to choose the line to work on, your targets are not fixed by your boss and most lines will allow flexible timings. Everything sounds great but one important thing many sales reps ignore is their reporting. Just as an organization relies on their inside sales force to provide them with field data, having a sales rep can provide valuable data. As a manufacturer’s rep, you can provide your principal with data that can help them make projections for the next quarter or even for the next year.
When you make sure that the reporting is in line with your principal’s requirements, you are paving the way for a great partnership between you and the principal. There are many other ways to improve your relationship with your principal.
Keeping in Touch
As an independent sales rep, you may not have an office to report to physically. It is therefore important that you keep in regular touch with your principal. When you are presented with the sales rep opportunity, remember to have the contact details of at least 2 reporting supervisors. Do not wait for a reason to call your principal. If there is nothing important to report, you can always call to say a hello. You might be lucky to get some inputs from your supervisor that might help close that elusive sale.
Sharing Market Information
As an independent sales rep, you might represent more than one principal. It is not uncommon that some reps represent competing manufacturers at the same time. However, sharing market information with your principal is key to ensuring that the products or services that you represent are successful. Your principal will be able to use this information to improve their products and services. You can also share information on the field sales efforts of other manufacturers and service providers. This will help your principal fine tune any sales programs that are being implemented or is in its pre launch phase.
Your Loyalty to the Brand
A manufacturers rep can successfully establish himself or herself as being known by a brand. This is normally achieved through many months or years of dedicated service to that particular brand. Principals love to have such sales reps as it gives their brand better visibility and recall. Customers hate to have different sales people knocking on their doors every few months. Manufacturers and principals love sales reps that do not leave their line easily. If you as a manufacturers rep have been with a brand for more than a year, that also establishes the fact that you believe in the brand and the products being sold. It will also be quiet likely that you have been able to successfully sell their products or services and you have been able to secure your personal income from these sales.
Just as an employee working full time, it is important that you have a good relationship with your principal to guarantee a win-win relationship.