Entrepreneurship & Small Business

Hiring sales people, local or remote rep?

  • Last Updated:
  • May 3rd, 2011 11:17 pm
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[OP]
Member
Jan 25, 2010
375 posts
26 upvotes
Montr

Hiring sales people, local or remote rep?

We've reached a point to expand our market to western Canada, our business is product based, and we're a wholesaler/manufacturer.
Our target goal would be to find distributors in that region.

I'm trying to make a decision as to whether it's a better idea to hire a sales person locally (e.g. vancouver based) and pay them a salary, trusting that the person is doing the job, or if it is better to hire someone in house in our office and have them open up the distribution channel via phone.

Does anyone have any experience in this? Or link to any good articles?
5 replies
Jr. Member
Jul 18, 2007
125 posts
5 upvotes
I think it largely depends on the product.

I know my family's business, we have both regional sales representatives, and regional distributors.

For us, the best bet is to find regional distributors who stock and sell the product on their own accord.

We have had lots of trouble using representatives, perhaps it was just the few that we have dealt with, but they seemed to require much more attention and their customers seemed to be a pain in the @ss.

Also, doing it by phone could be more difficult. I don't know your product exactly, but a lot of the time customers need to see a product in order to evaluate it.

Just my experience.
M
Newbie
Oct 31, 2010
16 posts
30 upvotes
Ontario
MiWiGi wrote:
May 1st, 2011 5:43 pm
I think it largely depends on the product.

I know my family's business, we have both regional sales representatives, and regional distributors.

For us, the best bet is to find regional distributors who stock and sell the product on their own accord.

We have had lots of trouble using representatives, perhaps it was just the few that we have dealt with, but they seemed to require much more attention and their customers seemed to be a pain in the @ss.

Also, doing it by phone could be more difficult. I don't know your product exactly, but a lot of the time customers need to see a product in order to evaluate it.

Just my experience.
M

Agree.
[OP]
Member
Jan 25, 2010
375 posts
26 upvotes
Montr
MiWiGi wrote:
May 1st, 2011 5:43 pm
I think it largely depends on the product.

I know my family's business, we have both regional sales representatives, and regional distributors.

For us, the best bet is to find regional distributors who stock and sell the product on their own accord.

We have had lots of trouble using representatives, perhaps it was just the few that we have dealt with, but they seemed to require much more attention and their customers seemed to be a pain in the @ss.

Also, doing it by phone could be more difficult. I don't know your product exactly, but a lot of the time customers need to see a product in order to evaluate it.

Just my experience.
M


Thanks for the reply. Actually, I'm looking to hire a sales person/rep to help me find that "distributor" that you were talking about, someone who would stock the products. And I'm wondering if it is better to hire a local rep with little control over whether or not they're actually working, or someone at the office where I can train them properly but would have to do business by phone.

Most of our customers do want to see the product in advance, some of them pay for a sample, some want it free, and a small number of them buy without having seen a sample.
Jr. Member
Jul 18, 2007
125 posts
5 upvotes
So, if i have this correct, you want to hire someone to find distributors? That seems to me like a waste of money, because you could just do it yourself. It shouldn't be terribly hard. Look for people who currently sell complimentary products in your market.

Our company sells the product to the distributor at a lower rate than if we were selling it ourselves direct to customers. This gives them the chance to sell it at the same rate that we sell directly to our customers, thats how they make money. These people will know how to sell, and will already have a market of people to sell too. You won't have to train them to sell, other than in aspects of your product.

If you have reps, you just pay them a commission as a per unit rate or a percentage of sales rate. That forces them to be productive, as they don't get paid if they dont sell.

-M
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
30109 posts
4796 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
MiWiGi wrote:
May 3rd, 2011 10:50 pm
If you have reps, you just pay them a commission as a per unit rate or a percentage of sales rate. That forces them to be productive, as they don't get paid if they dont sell.

If the sales rep is good and he believes in the product, he or she will work on pure commission.

Depending on the product, distribution may not be a bad idea. It is a lot harder to deal with retail. Get a distributor to handle the logistics and finance. Then you only have one invoice and one freight charge

I am curious now, please PM me the product you are trying to sell.

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