Active TopicsActive Topics  Display List of Forum MembersMemberlist  CalendarCalendar  Search The ForumSearch  HelpHelp  RegisterRegister  LoginLogin
Outside Sales Representatives
 MALAKYE.COM:: DISCUSSION FORUMS : In Your Profession : Outside Sales Representatives
Message Icon Topic: Finding reps for smaller brands. Post Reply Post New Topic
Page  of 2 Next >>
Author Message
huesif
Forums Member
Forums Member


Joined: 30 Dec 2007
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7
Quote huesif Replybullet Topic: Finding reps for smaller brands.
    Posted: 01 Jun 2008 at 9:51pm
Quick question, I have helped a lot of small brands get going, whats the best way to find some reps who would get into something new and small?
 
Ask store buyers and stuff or what?
 
 
Best,
Michael
http://www.michaeljlhuey.com
IP IP Logged
steezer
CONTRIBUTOR
CONTRIBUTOR
Avatar

Joined: 15 Mar 2007
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 75
Quote steezer Replybullet Posted: 02 Jun 2008 at 2:44pm

I would put a list of reps from each territory together  that your interested in, study how long they have been a rep, ask some key retailors about them, make sure the lines that they carry are compatible ( and if they have good distribution even better).  Even call the sales managers of the other lines they carry for feedback.

Then prove to them why the line will sell and make them money.  That is the biggest struggle, reps want established lines, and don't like to pioneer. 
IP IP Logged
Bhawk
FORUM RULER
FORUM RULER


Joined: 09 Aug 2006
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 236
Quote Bhawk Replybullet Posted: 02 Jun 2008 at 4:08pm
Ain't that the truth. That's why more an more companies are doing in house reps, aleast from what I have seen here on Malakye. With shrinking markets, I think the old rep agency model will become out dated, just not as many accounts as there used to be, so reps have to carry a bunch of lines to make ends meet, so they my not give you the time that you need, especially if you are a start up. If you have a lot of buzz in the trades, it might be easier to get picked up by an established rep agency, if not, it's gona be a ruff ride. With the cost of gas and travel going up it is getting even harder for reps to make it. Then charging them for samples, that's like the nail in the coffin. Make sure you have a dedicated sales manager in house that is ready to do a lot of knocking on doors.
 
From what I saw you are trying to start a snowboard brand, is that correct? These days unless you have found an amazing niche market it is very hard to sell a hardgoods line, since stores do not make many points off the sale of hardgoods to begin with, so it better be a guaranteed sale for them. Now with snowboard manufacturing well in place in China, brands are poping up faster than dandelions on my front lawn. The competition is getting fierce at the up start level.


Edited by Bhawk - 02 Jun 2008 at 4:40pm
IP IP Logged
DudeBroMan
FORUM RULER
FORUM RULER


Joined: 17 Jul 2006
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 119
Quote DudeBroMan Replybullet Posted: 02 Jun 2008 at 4:13pm
Reps don't like to pioneer because we are comission only. A non-established line costs the rep money. A lot of times you will actually lose money on the deal unless the brand takes off. If you want a good rep, maybe you should consider paying them a small amout for a specific amount of time until they start making comission. Most companies won't want to do that.
IP IP Logged
cjrep
Forums Member
Forums Member


Joined: 03 Jun 2008
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7
Quote cjrep Replybullet Posted: 03 Jun 2008 at 8:25am
Smart reps work their lines on a simple time-in/ money-out basis.  If you have a line that needs to be pioneered then you need to find a way to buy a rep's time.  If your line was profitable enough to hire a full time salesman in a territory, then you could pay that person to just sell your product, but it is not cheap.

If not, you can make your line more attractive to a potential rep by offering increased commissions for new accounts, or one time "pioneering" payments in addition to commission for opening new accounts.  The cost of samples can also make or break the profitability of a line for a rep.  No one wants to have to sell for six months to pay off samples.  Samples don't have to be free to the rep -- there are other ways, but the rep cannot be "sample poor" and afford to spend time selling your product. 

The future of the independent rep is secure.  A good rep will sell more and cost a manufacturer much less than an in-house salesman.  Most companies that go in-house do it for sales control, more than profit.  It will cost a manufacturer more to hire 2 people in-house for $40k a year, than it will to pay an independent rep with 2 salesmen $200k a year in commission.  The problem for many manufacturers is that they are sharing that rep's time with other manufacturers that are making that rep money.  (I walk this line all the time.)

The bottom line is that small lines are looking for a cost effective way to get their product to market, and that is what a rep does best.  Now, that small line needs to give the rep a reason to take their product out of the bag when making sales calls.






IP IP Logged
Kathleen
Forums Member
Forums Member


Joined: 19 Aug 2008
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 13
Quote Kathleen Replybullet Posted: 08 Sep 2008 at 10:30am
Originally posted by huesif

Quick question, I have helped a lot of small brands get going, whats the best way to find some reps who would get into something new and small?

I've actually done this unintentionally, didn't intend it would work out this way. I keep a blog on how to start a clothing line and I went to MAGIC in part to interview independent sales reps on their perspectives on representing new lines. Iow, why they'll pick up a line or decline to. I found a couple of good reps like this. One worked out really well. She know does consulting for pioneer lines full time and helps them to get it together for a rep as well as helping them find representation.

The other suggestion I have for entrepreneurs searching for reps is to develop a good relationship with their accounts. If they've been delivering consistently, a buyer will usually make a referral to sales reps they like and that are appropriate for the product line.
~Nurture people, not products~
Fashion-Incubator: Lessons from the sustainable factory floor
IP IP Logged
iDIYa
CONTRIBUTOR
CONTRIBUTOR


Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 49
Quote iDIYa Replybullet Posted: 16 Sep 2008 at 2:49pm
If you wouldn't find it lucrative or a good use of your time, chances are others won't either.

Remember you get what you pay for.

But... if the line is solid and there is some great opportunity, it shouldn't be too hard to find willing Reps.
Working out the kinks
IP IP Logged
motivator
Forums Member
Forums Member


Joined: 06 Jun 2008
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 3
Quote motivator Replybullet Posted: 16 Sep 2008 at 3:00pm
Hey Kathleen,
I am looking for sales reps to pioneer my organic men's line in the wake/surf/skate market in florida and up and down the east coast. That woman you mentioned,who consults now full time on pioneering lines sounded very interesting. Could you put me in contact with her? my email is bigkahuna@motiveboardwear.com

cheers,
K:
IP IP Logged
Kathleen
Forums Member
Forums Member


Joined: 19 Aug 2008
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 13
Quote Kathleen Replybullet Posted: 16 Sep 2008 at 5:20pm
Hi Motivator. Unfortunately, like anyone who is good, she can pick and choose her clients and while she enjoys helping new entrants, there's a huge gamut of experience and knowledge -or lack thereof- amongst them. In a nutshell, I'm not "allowed" to refer anyone to her who hasn't read _the entrepreneur's guide to sewn product manufacturing_ and joined the forum and done some reading over at fashion-incubator.com . ::sorry:: 
~Nurture people, not products~
Fashion-Incubator: Lessons from the sustainable factory floor
IP IP Logged
SomeNewGuy
Forums Member
Forums Member
Avatar

Joined: 22 Sep 2008
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 2
Quote SomeNewGuy Replybullet Posted: 22 Sep 2008 at 10:43pm
Call me naive but if the old model is breaking down what's the new model going to be then? Whether indie or in-house a rep can only do so much. Given how many kids are on the internet doesn't it make sense to do some brand building, create some buzz, spark up some demand, and then go looking for reps?

Look at pharma. They do B2B to doctors but they also do B2C direct to consumer, right? I would think that any shop buyers who are willing to take a chance are going to at least do some homework.

With that being said, if you can, start local to where you are. Maybe this is stating the obvious but pound the flesh, sponsor parties, hook up a couple ams, stickers - you know the drill. Get that going. Make it work. A rep or a store outside your immediate area will be more open to you if they see you in action. Like I said, I hear this internet thing is gonna be big :)
IP IP Logged
Page  of 2 Next >>
Post Reply Post New Topic
Printable version Printable version

Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot create polls in this forum
You can vote in polls in this forum