Manufacturers Representatives – 5 Things to Know Prior to Hiring One!
Do you have a product perfect for Major Retail Chains such as Home Depot, Walmart, CVS, Nordstrom or any others?
Are you looking for a Manufacturers Representatives to help you sell into stores?
If so, check out our new training video on some quick tips and strategies on ‘Manufacturers Representatives – 5 Things to Know Prior to Hiring One!’
Just click on the video to watch!
With that said, there’s some things that you need to consider before hiring a manufacturers rep, so let’s talk about that.
Before we begin though, I was a manufacturer’s rep for many, many years. And since then I’ve started a company called Retail MBA and now I’ve taught tens of thousands of product companies how to essentially be their own reps and make money and so forth. But I also know that there’s a lot of value in showing people how to work with the best reps and so forth. So I do understand that a lot of you really want a rep to represent your product. So that’s why I create these videos to really just help you thinking about what it’s like working with these reps and how to make money with physical products. Anyways, five reasons to consider before hiring a rep.
Not All Manufacturers Representatives Are Created Equal
Number one, not all reps are created equal. What does that mean? Well, some reps are awesome, some reps are not magical. And the reason I say that is just because they say they’re a rep and just because they let you know that they’ve sold into all these retailers and they have all these relationships and so forth. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to do good work for you. And so you really want to vet them out before you actually work with them because it just can be complicated for you and your business. So you definitely want to pick the best reps, but know that just because they say all these magical things, doesn’t mean that they’re actually going to execute correctly. So there are things to look out for when you’re working with these reps, but just know that they’re not all created equal. Please don’t listen to just anything, really feel it out, get some additional information before you choose the rep because it can be important for you and your business.
Manufacturers Representatives Can Delay Your Sales
Another thing to consider before hiring a rep is that they can actually delay sales for you. So what does that mean? Part of the reason why I created my original core training program called Retail MBA was that I was teaching people how to be their own reps, essentially, in selling to retail chains. Because they had been working with reps, they hired maybe the wrong rep, not on purpose. But basically they didn’t vet the person out correctly and then six months or a year later, the rep didn’t really sell a whole lot and so forth. And so they were kind of stuck with their business and so then they needed to learn other strategies. So basically it can actually really, really delay sales if you don’t work with the appropriate reps or the best reps for your product type. The good news is that when you do find the great reps, you can make a lot of money and it can be very successful for you and so forth. But think about that, they can definitely delay your business if you didn’t pick correctly.
Manufacturers Representatives Love Products Already Sold in Retail
Another thing to consider about hiring rep is that they like products that are already in retail stores. So what does that mean? Well manufacturer’s reps typically are working on a commission only basis, so if they are representing you, a lot of them are commission only. The really good reps usually have some sort of additional money they expect from you and so not all reps are on 100% commission, but a lot of them are. So please note that because a lot of them are working on commissions, they tend to pick and choose the products they work with. They want the products actually that are already selling in stores because those are the ones that are going to make the money faster. So a lot of times they’re rejecting you or not really paying attention to your product because if it’s not making them money very quickly, they maybe don’t focus on your product as much and so forth. So you really have to think about that.
And so what does that mean for you if you’ve never sold your product anywhere before? It doesn’t mean that reps aren’t a great strategy for you, but you might get rejected a little bit more unless you know actually how to speak to them and convince them that your product will sell and all sorts of things. But you do have to recognize that their commission only and so if you hadn’t sold a retailers before, they tend to maybe take a step back a little bit. And so that’s why I teach how to actually sell to retail chains and so forth in my other programs. But generally speaking, can be great for you, but they do like products that are already in stores because they make money faster.
Manufacturers Representatives Insist You Set Up Everything Correctly For Retail First
Another reason why you want to consider before hiring a rep is that you don’t want to bother working with reps until you set everything up appropriately for retail first. So what does that mean? Well, some people assume that they created this product and they’re “ready for retail” and what’ll happen is then they immediately want to go and hire a rep to go do all the work for them. Which makes logical sense, but sometimes your packaging is off or your pricing is off or your marketing collateral is off and so forth. And so maybe you don’t totally know if your marketing or packaging is off or whatever. And you’re approaching these guys and either they’re maybe not responding to you and it’s because of one of these things. Or they’ll say, “Okay, well I’ll try it out and I’ll see if I can get into stores based on what you’re currently giving me.”
And so my recommendation is don’t bother with reps unless you really understand and figured that stuff out correctly, because it can be the difference between you making a lot more money with these reps or not. You see, they’re not going to really coach you through things. They’re going to take your products, maybe give you a couple of suggestions. They’ll test it out, see if it sells, see if it makes money, they’ll get a feel for it and then they’ll move forward or not. But again, that marketing collateral is supposed to help that sales rep sell. So if you don’t have great marketing collateral, you don’t know what to do and stuff, that ultimately will backfire on you.
So you definitely want to learn a little bit more about strategies on how to build out your business correctly before you approach these guys. Because they’re not going to be running your business for you, they don’t have time to really support and coach and educate you. They’re looking for quick sales, quick money and so forth. So do a little bit of the heavy lifting in advanced, really make sure that you have your honed in storing and stuff before you reach out to them.
Check Your Contracts With Manufacturers Representatives
The final thing to consider before hiring a rep is that if you’re going to actually work with them and you actually start working on contracts and so forth, you definitely want an out clause. And this is one thing that I’ve noticed with people, they don’t limit the time of the contract and they don’t have like a very high quality out clause and so forth in the contract. And that can be a real problem. The reason it’s a problem is what if you work with a rep and you sign contracts and they are responsible for your product and so forth, but then they don’t do a whole lot. And then you’re stuck with them and then you can’t get out of the contract. So you can’t sell and they’re not doing good work and so forth. So you want some ability to limit that contract so you can see what they’re doing and then also you want to be able to get out if necessary and so forth.
And I’ve had lots of phone calls with people who are freaking out because they signed contracts with people. There was no real out clause, they’re not doing anything, you’re kind of stuck, you have all this money invested in this product and no one’s really supporting you. And you just kind of have to wait it out for the contract and I really don’t want that for you.
Now reps can be epic, but those are five things to really consider. As you can tell that there’s some things to think about in regards to working with reps, it’s not so black and white as it is to hire somebody, in the retail space it’s a little bit unique.
Want to Find the Top Reps?
Now, if you want to know exactly how to find the top reps, how to present to them appropriately, because trust me, you’re going to have to kind of pitch them a little bit on your product to get the best reps to represent you. You want to make sure that you’re doing all this stuff correctly and you’re working with the top reps in your space and so forth. I have a training program that I just created called, Manufacturer’s Rep MBA and the link for that is listed below. And basically what the program is, is it walks you through exactly how to approach and find these guys and what to say to them to get them interested in your product and how to prepare accordingly for these guys. And it’s a very, very powerful program, I was a manufacturer’s rep for many, many years before I started educating people. And so this information really came from my experience working with reps and then over the years and so forth. So it’s a very powerful program.
The best thing about this little program is that it also includes a list of manufacturers reps throughout the country. So I actually included a list of over a couple of hundred reps who are either national reps, regional and so forth and some with categories and everything. So it’s a really powerful list and the purpose of that list is for you to be able to reach out to these companies. Once you learn what to do, you can reach out to reps and hopefully get them to represent you. And so sometimes when you’re trying to figure out who the reps are, you can’t even figure out where they are and how to find their contact information. And so this list is very, very powerful and includes the name of the company, the name of the person and the phone number and so forth. A lot of these rep companies are a little bit more old school. And so in a phone numbers and these types of things are a little bit more important than other ways. And so anyways, that’s included in this program as a bonus.
Anyways, this is Karen Waksman with Retail MBA, I hope this helped you. Please be on the lookout for additional videos I create. Or if you want to learn about how to work with reps, the link for that is specifically listed below this video.
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In this training, I will discuss some of the things to think about when approaching a retailer to sell your products and become a vendor. Hope it helps! 🙂
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