Manufacturers Representatives National Resource Center
What Do Manufacturers Expect from
an Independent Sales Representative?

What Do
Manufacturers
Want from Their
Independent
Sales Reps?
For starters, They
Do NOT Want
Too Much
Independence!

Businesses that sell through manufacturers’ reps are looking for partners more than anything else. They want an independent sales force that’s not too independent. They want a sales force that is part of their sales and marketing team.

A Partnership: While there are principals who just talk the talk, most businesses that sell through manufacturers’ reps really want and are willing to support a true partnership with their rep network. A rep has to be willing to give as much as he gets, and there must be ongoing communication between the rep and his principals. Feeding intelligence back to principals on market trends, what the competition is up to, and new prospects in the sales territories are just a few of the areas in which a true partnership is built.

Responsiveness: Nothing irks a sales manager more than sending out leads to his reps, and never hearing a word back about them! Many reps have the attitude that they are not employees, so they have no reporting responsibilities. Only with feedback from the field, however, can a business determine if its marketing dollars are being well spent. Manufacturers’ reps should report back to their principals on any inquiry they receive. It’s smart, it’s professional, it further enhances the partnership that should exist, and it’s just plain good business!

Professionalism: Manufacturers expect their reps to be knowledgeable of the products they sell and the customer base they serve. If you cannot answer a customer’s or prospect’s question, it is the duty of the rep to find the answer and get back to that customer or prospect. Principals expect openness and honesty, and they deserve to have their calls and e-mails returned promptly.

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