You have just entered the market with a great new product to offer. But how do you get it into the hands of the people who want and need it? That all depends on the kind of sales entity you intend to use. In essence, you have three choices: hire an in-house sales staff, work with an independent manufacturers’ sales representative firm, or use an independent distributor.
In-house sales staff work as employees. A manufacturers’ representative is an independent entity who will sell your wares but does not warehouse or inventory those products. A distributor is an independent firm that actually buys the product from you, warehouses it, and then sells that product to an outlet that sells it to the end user.
You will have to do some homework to identify distributors or sales reps that sell products to stores that can successfully carry your goods. For example, if you are manufacturing disposable medical products, you want to identify distributors or sales reps who sell to outlets familiar with those kinds of products, says Bill Radin, author, consultant, and president of Radin Associates and Radin.com.
One way to identify distributors or sales reps is through Internet companies that match sales reps or distributors with manufacturers. Three such firms are RepLocate.com;RepHunter.net; and Manufacturers Representative Profile, or mrpusa.com. RepLocate allows a manufacturer to advertise its need for a sales rep or distributor. RepHunter.net actually recruits commission-only reps and has more than 7,000 profiles of independent reps on file. Manufacturers pay a small subscription fee ranging from $89 a month to $149 a month for the right to use RepHunter’s database.
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