How Can I Find Independent Reps or Sales Agents?
The following are some of the main ways Independent Sales Reps or Sales Agents can be found:
1. Online Services.
There are several online services that provide cost-effective access to Independent Sales Reps. One of the most prominent is RepHunter. They have a large and growing database of Independent Sales Representatives and Agencies that you can search for free.
- low cost
- get in contact with reps in your industry looking for lines
- may not always be able to find what you are looking for
The website Manufacturing Reps Secrets has a page which reviews some of the top online services.
2. Trade Shows.
Visit regional and national regional trade shows to meet Independent Sales Reps and Sales Agencies. Or set up a booth at a trade show and post in your booth a “Sales Representatives Wanted” ad.
- low incremental cost if you are already attending such trade shows
- good attendance by reps in your industry
- may be expensive if you are not already attending such shows
- can be time consuming
- shows not always readily accessible; may have to wait quite a while for the right show
Employ or engage a consultant to act as a Sales Manager whose job it is to select, engage and train your National Sales Force.
- have a professional working to meet your specific needs
- pre-screen cuts down on the extent of the interviews necessary
- have been known to be able to provide excellent candidates
- can be quite expensive; as with typical staffing agencies, may cost from 25% to 40% of first year’s compensation of the rep
- more oriented towards employed sales reps, not independent sales reps
- can take a very long time
Use Craigslist, on-line job boards, or classified sections of newspapers.
- low cost in some cases such as Craigslist
- famiiar method
- while advertising routes may appear simple and inexpensive, be prepared for their hidden costs and time delays
- to use them effectively, you will need an appropriate level of Human Resources staffing to screen a potential deluge of resumes, reduce their number by a factor of as much as a hundred or more, finally leading to phone and possibly in-person interviews
- advance staffing may be necessary to plan your recruiting campaign
- need to budget sufficient time and resources over and above the up-front advertising expense for this staffing
- newspaper advertising can be quite expensive; commonly runs into thousands of dollars for a single Sunday insertion in a major metro area
5. Guerrilla Marketing
Here are a couple of “guerilla marketing” methods suggested by Bob Reiss:
- Ask buyers at accounts that you are selling or want to sell for suggestions on the best reps they have dealt with and with new reps with high potential. The new reps could likely give you more time and be willing to learn your ways.
- Solicit suggestions from reps you know and especially ones that you are working with. Try to tap into the rep’s own network, where they might recommend each other. It is in the interest of their own reputation for them to recommend only strong candidates.
- At trade shows, rather than a “reps wanted” sign in your booth, ask other exhibitors not competing with you for leads.
- Be aware that the “best rep in the territory” may not be the best for you, as they could have too many lines, or they may have become complacent.
- This is the long short where you come across a good salesman in another industry and sell can them on the “glories” of being a rep and hire them. When that works, they will be very loyal, dedicated and successful.