Oftentimes a manufacturer will hire a manufacturer sales rep and expect instant, through-the-roof sales. But the truth is, selling a product is a journey and all parties bear much weight and responsibility in ensuring the job gets done.
If you’re a manufacturer who has outsourced all or some of its sales to a sales distributor to a third-party sales representative, here are some ways you can make his/her job easier and better poise your sales rep – and your business – for success (and you’ll notice none of these tips ask you discount your product at all!):
1. Provide Great Information: This first tip cannot be overstated enough. Give your sales rep any and all information you can think of to help them do a better job communicating your products, your company’s/founder’s story, and your value proposition. Share your press kit with them and any marketing materials you’ve created over the years. You never know what information will serve as a tipping point to helping your sales rep sell more, faster, and/or better!
2. Get Visuals: Basic product photography just isn’t enough today. Customers want to see highly visual content of your product in action. Don’t just provide pictures of blankets; rather provide your manufacturer sales rep with pictures of babies in blankets and moms wrapping their babies in blankets, etc. Use photography to create an emotional connection between your customers and your products.
3. Be Innovative: At some point, a product gets stale. It happens to the best brands and the best companies. That is why companies should continuously be potting the development of new colors, new features, improved designed, complementary products, etc. Remember, one product does not make a business. The sign of a strong and growing business is innovation, innovation, and innovation. New products and innovations will give your sales rep the opportunity to revisit current and even stale customers again – and help your brand and sales grow at a strong pace.
4. Market Proactively: Your sales rep is not your PR, SEO or Internet Marketing agent. While your manufacturer sales rep will do everything he or she can do to promote your company, they do not always provide a wide breadth of costly marketing services. Brands should always be out in the universe talking about their products on social media and via bloggers and press. And when you get great press, sponsor an exciting event, or get an outstanding customer testimonials, tell your sales rep all about it. He or she will definitely use your stories as an opportunity to revisit with his or her retail accounts and brag about you. The more exciting “news” you can drum up, the more your sales agent will talk about you – guaranteed.
5. Build Rapport: Treat your sales rep like a client – as they will treat you with the same respect too. This is a professional relationship dependent on one another to pull his or her weight in the process of growing a business. Treat each other with kindness and professionalism, and reap the rewards of a motivated sales agent who wants to contribute to your company’s success – as well as their own success – for the long haul.
What other factors contribute to a winning sales rep-manufacturer relationship? Sound off in the comments below.