Many businesses are finding it more cost effective to hire a sales agent rather than commit to a full-time sales force. Outsourcing to a specialist who has their own broad network of contacts and the experience to create new ones has become more popular as we come out of recession.
Money is still tight and businesses can pay on a per sale basis.
What is a Sales Agent?
A sales agent is self-employed, working business to business on a commission only basis. They usually specialise within a particular industry and provide a number of products for that market, rather than working for one employer and selling one product or brand. In other words, they offer their network of contacts to a choice of different suppliers.
A sales agent can work under his or her own steam or use a specialist recruitment agency which brings together agents with principals like pharmaceutical, leisure and retail companies.
They can work on behalf of UK based companies or those based in other countries such as the USA, China and the European Union who are looking to make inroads into the UK market.
The Benefits of Becoming a Sales Agent
What Qualities Do You Need to be a Sales Agent?
As with many careers that involve being self-employed, there are going to be good and bad times. That means your earnings are going to be variable. In other words, if you don’t sell you won’t be putting food on the table.
You need to have the motivation to keep going and push through, to build your contacts and to choose the right principals and products to push.
You need to have sales experience already. It is difficult to learn how to be a sales agent by simply doing it, you only have yourself to depend on. There isn’t the back up when you hit those low spots that you would get working for a company with a dedicated sales force.
You need to have the right contacts particularly if you are working within a specialist industry and you need to select the right principals.
Security in EU Legislation
Some may see being a sales agent as risky. Who is going to do something when the customer doesn’t pay? There’s plenty of legislation there to support self-employed sales agents. The Commercial Agents Regulations Act 1993 means that you need to have a contract with your principal containing protection and obligations for both parties to adhere to.
Being a sales agent is not for everyone
It appeals to those with a proven track record and the confidence to go it alone and that comes with time and experience. The truth is that many businesses looking to sell in the UK, particularly those abroad, are increasingly ready to employ sales agents rather than developing their own in-house sales force.
If you have the right attitude and the right skills it may well be the right time to become a self-employed sales agent.