The Way of Great Manufacturer Representatives
Manufacturer representative firms like Three Sixty Sales offer real value to their partners. They are advocates for manufacturers and customers alike. Living near and working directly with the customer means they are highly focused on customer satisfaction while simultaneously representing the manufacturer’s message.
The unique perspective these relationships give rep firms means they understand the customer’s needs as well as the capabilities and limitations of each factory or vendor they represent. Their knowledge and objective perspective becomes even more important when a customer’s needs differ or diverge from the factory’s standard procedures. There are many things a customer could ask for such as a product modification or an expedited delivery. In such cases, the rep firm can and will work for the customer to help get the changes made to the product or process. But similarly, when the customer’s request cannot be met by the manufacturer, the independent sales rep will relay information to the customer and work with both parties to look for other solutions.
Working with both parties means that manufacturer rep firms recognize the need to be proactive. They are constantly working to build their effectiveness as an economic engine. There are many manufacturer’s representatives and firms. In truth, any person can call themselves a Manufacturer’s Representative, but that does not mean that person has the education or experience that a manufacturer can trust. For a successful rep firm, both strategic planning and continuous improvement of management and processes are critical. Professional, trust-worthy firms will have several traits. They will display commitment to their lines, professionalism in all work and communication, and positive ethics.
Manufacturers need to know that hiring a rep firm should mean they are gaining true business partners who understand the wide variety of issues involved in running a profitable business. Rep firms should be efficient sales teams, strategic planners and understand the importance of succession planning. They should have wide networks and have various ins with trend-spotting intelligence on multiple business fronts.
On the manufacturer side, creating a solid partnership with a representative network is relatively easy. Important factors include:
- Paying commissions accurately and on time
- Communicating the value of the rep network throughout the manufacturing organization
- Sharing plans with manufacturer rep firm owners/managers and valuing their feedback
- Collaborating with rep firm owners/managers on decision making
- Treating the rep firm’s staff as an important part of the manufacturer’s team
Following these simple points creates a positive relationship, and allows for rep firms to continue to polish and improve their services for the benefit of all involved.