So in your bonus materials there is a checklist of questions to help you determine if you're ready for a sales rep and we're going to go through some of those questions right now and I'm going to explain more so the importance of why you need to consider these questions obviously all of your answers are going to very based on where you are in your business but it's more to get you thinking about whether or not this is something you want to pursue and if your business is at a point that it makes sense to pursue so how long have you been wholesaling? I know this seems like a very odd question to include and whether or not you're ready for a wholesale rep but a rap just like the retailers want to know that you have your ducks in a row they want to know that you're meeting industry standards that your pricing is distinct that your filling orders in a timely manner the other thing is a sales rap really wants to know that you've been out in the field selling your products that you've heard f...
eedback from the retailers you're working with and that you are also making adjustments based on that feedback that you're seeing so there's a valuable learning curve when you're selling your own product anyone that's been to a trade show can really tested this because you're inundated with feedback on the spot you know it it's a little more intimate and frankly nicer when you're going directly to store and getting that one on one feedback but when you're at a trade show for several days you really are like it is incredible what people say sometimes good, bad and sometimes ugly but for the most part good, but my point is just that that process of learning to sell your own goods is a a really valuable tool for all aspects of your business and so some sales reps will want to know that you've been going through that process on your own before they're willing to work with you is that okay? Um so how large is your product line and are you releasing new product on a regular basis? We talked about this a little bit in the beginner's guide for wholesale when we talk about the importance of releases but they want to know that you have a large enough collection of product is to appeal to different buyers because all of their accounts it's just like all of your accounts your wholesale accounts are very different they have a different and consumer that they're working with and so they want to see enough variety that they can pick and choose place in order meet your minimum order requirements and then you know there's enough there for their their accounts to choose from so their wholesale council by on dh just the number one question a retailer will ask is what's new it's, usually the first thing they ask a sales rep. What's new what's, new what's, new. All I want to see is what's new, and so you really want your ribs toe have something new to show, and so that's. Why these regular releases air pretty important can you handle and increase in sales? This is a big one, so I'd like you to flag it on your hand out materials. But do you have the infrastructure and the inventory ready to handle the influx of orders that you will receive from the sales? Read every sales, right, but does their sales called differently? Sometimes there are, they go out quarterly, sometimes they're going out monthly, so I noticed I had one sales rep that would go out for quarterly visits to her shops. And so every quarter I would get this influx of orders, which was awesome. But I also hadn't needed to make sure I had the inventory ready for it, so and you can't predict what people are going to order, but you need to have again if you're wholesaling, you need toe have that steady stream of inventory there so that you can fill orders in a timely manner on dh this is important one working with rebs because if you start having to back order things or if you're having hold orders because you need to reproduce your products or do another run of things, it slows down the process and the longer the lag time between the order coming in and the anticipated ship date you know you not hitting that anticipated the longer the lag time between the anticipated ship date and you should actually should be in there's a greater chance that the store will cancel their order, which loses you income and it loses the sales rep income. So again, a rep is going to want to know that you have these sales processes in place that you've got the infrastructure to process these orders quickly on efficiently, the question came over online. Um sonia be wanted to know she's, a jewelry designer in canada, and she'd love to settle the u s and she wants to wonder if you have any any tips in regard to shipping and duty? Are the cell reps accustomed to dealing with that that's a good question and it's actually a very common question we have a lot of canadian companies in our treasure boot camp community that deal with those same types of things I don't have firsthand experience of of dealing with those things but typically the sales reps won't get involved with the shipping they won't get into involved with the logistics of actually fulfilling the orders their job is solely writing the orders so that's something you're going to need to work out and frankly if you are you know planning to work on cross border wholesale accounts getting a system in place is going to benefit you in the long run for a lot of different reasons not just in working with sales reps but in your own accounts that you're working with so I bless you on dh I don't know unfortunately it can't provide direct strategies for you on that because I don't have personal experience but I know that some companies have just worked out systems to send things directly I know other companies have found you know, shipping warehouse in the united states that can ship orders from here so that things aren't having to ship across the border I don't know what is the most cost effective or the most streamlined but those air two alternatives that you could look into sure okay so we talked about um increase in sales you will get a lot more orders yeah kristie I'm kirstie I sell paper goods at a jar of pickles and my question is when you're working with sales reps and they're on the chance that you will get a lot of orders and you're you already know your inventory is going to run a little low is there like a communication with sales rep that you know I need to slow things down for a little bit or how does that really work? Yes that's a really great question and I'd love for you to ask that question when cream is on later and we interview her because I would love for her to give her feedback on what her preferences are I think constant communication regardless of whether it's regarding inventory or you know upcoming promotions is always critical in working with the rab if you are backlogged on something that is going to take you you know, maybe a longer turnaround time I would give them a heads up that this is back ordered or I'm running low on inventory for this on dh but I'd also offer solutions this will be back in stock on this day or you know whatever provide as much information as you can so that you know the worst thing that can happen is they're going to place an order that you're not going to be able to fill and if you can't feel it straight away it might be canceled so if you can tell them this is a little backlogged yeah great thanks ok so going through some more of our questions about whether or not you're ready for sales rep are you able to provide sample products and seals tools teach europe's you know printed catalogs again in my opinion are a must especially if you have higher and luxury items where you're not sampling them with everything in your line they're going to do a lot of selling from that catalog so having that sales tool and having that as both a marketing piece and the seals peace will really benefit your business in a lot of ways thie other thing is you want to get them samples and new product releases pretty quickly so don't delay like they should be the first ones to have your new stuff in hand and you want to get it to them as quickly as you can s so if you have new catalogues that you're updating or if you're just building in that insert sheet that we talked about just make sure that they're getting those pieces so that they can update their materials and have the latest and greatest okay we're going to head into finding a sales rep unless anyone has any questions about the a handful of questions we just covered yes tiffany so timeline why I suppose um there's a new release coming on for an ss friday when are they expecting to receive the material that the new samples catalog and inserts by like a mite ahead are two weeks ahead what's the I mean there's no, I don't want to I don't want you to think there's like a golden rule of yes, but I would recommend in that case, that specific case a couple weeks before so early may I mean, but then your catalog should be done and you should absolutely be done developing new product so you know, supply and that to them at that point really great and just letting him know that you know, you'll be releasing these an ss, but if they want to take some orders wire with show, they can um you know, the sooner you can get it to them, the better. So frankly, I'd tell them like, if you had it done earlier, I'd send it earlier, but I would just note to them that this is going to be released at the show, so hold off and let's do it all in one swoop, so some people don't have it before others got it or you could say you could show it to retailers, and but orders won't be shipping until you know, whatever your ship date is for the show, okay, if it's june tenth or something, you know so they could go out and kind of take preorders too good question
Katie Hunt is the founder of Proof to Product, a podcast host, business strategist and coach for product based business owners. Since 2011, Katie has helped thousands of brands get their products on the shelves of retail stores big & small. Her client’s products are sold in Target, Nordstroms, Container Store, Starbucks as well as independent boutiques around the world.
Katie is so knowledgeable!!! Everything in the class is so helpful and the workbook is amazing! This is beyond worth the price!
Going into this class I knew nothing about sales reps. I now know that my business isn't ready for a sales rep. However, that is so useful in itself. Plus, now I know just when I'll be ready to expand and hire a rep. And when that time comes, I know about how the relationship will work. So great to learn all these things ahead of time.
Loved the class and the interview with a sales rep. I'm not even at the point where I would consider hiring one yet, but it was still so valuable to hear the insights and start planning for the future.