Some Thoughts on Assessing a Sales Agent Opportunity

Commission only sales agents are often rightly regarded as the top of the league of sales professionals.

To make the move into an environment where you truly are “on your own” requires a great deal of self-confidence, specific personal qualities and sound professional skills. There is no fall-back position apart from returning to a salaried position but even that can be a difficult transition.

Sales agents are an attractive proposition for companies for a whole raft of reasons – in a previous blog on how to use Sales Agents we’ve outlined these attractions.

But what about the Sales Agents – when confronted with a new opportunity what are the sorts of things they should be looking at.

The three main headings for discussion are grouped around

  • The Product
  • The Processes – Procedures
  • The Remuneration

This list of questions that professional sales agents are likely to ask potential principles is not complete but as a principal you should have honest clearly thought through answers ready for all of these.

The PRODUCT

This is the core of the offer and principals should be able to deliver detailed answers to

  • What competitive advantages do your products have compared to competing suppliers?
  • Does the company have patents on the product or any kind of exclusive rights to distribute?
  • Where are your target markets?
  • Who are the prospects to target?

The PROCESSES and PROCEDURES

  • Do you engage in lead generation? Will agents receive prospects directly from the company?
  • Will there be any form of restrictions on who the agent can sell to, house accounts?
  • Will sales agents get exclusivity in their market or geographical area?
  • How does the company market its products or services? Do they have marketing material that the agent can use?
  • Does the company currently use sales agents? Are they successful? Can you talk to them?

The REMUNERATION

  • What commission do you offer?
  • When will the commission be paid? When a new order is signed or when the company receives the payment from the customer?
  • If the agent needs to travel to your location for a meeting will the travel costs be met by the company?

Not a definitive list but a start for making a comprehensive review of how to work with Sales Agents. Better prepared now than “off the cuff” at an interview!

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