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Being a Representative for a product or service can be financially rewarding. However, there are several Crucial Criteria a marketer/representative should consider when deciding which products/services/companies to incorporate into their working life. As a life-long Marketing Professional, when I observe and apply the following concepts, I win. If I compromise in any one of these area, I’m likely to suffer repercussions due to not being discriminatory enough, and so could you. The following are pertinent areas to thoroughly evaluate when choosing “what” you’re going to represent.
- IS THE MARKET BUYING: This is ESSENTIAL for your success as a marketer. Is there a genuine need for the product? Does your product/service competitively fill that need? Is the market crowded with similar products? Is the public already proactively buying your product, or will you have to “pull teeth” to find a sale? Your product should be one that the masses “WANT” to have, one to which they are genuinely attracted, and one for which they are ready and willing to pay. Ask yourself, “Is the public really buying this product or service, or am I being overly optimistic about the validity of this item?
- QUALIFIED LEADS: ”New Qualified Leads Every Day” should be a primary, foundational mantra for all Representatives. When ‘Qualified’ Leads are being generated and received in-office consistently, and assuming you possess reasonable marketing and sales skills, you can be assured that you will convert a good percentage of those leads into Clients, transactions, and regular commissions. You need to understand that you are always and unquestionably in the business of making certain that consistent qualified lead generation is a reality for you; and, if you have a team, it must be a reality for your Representatives as well. You should always be proactive in finding processes and methods that produce continual QUALITY lead-flow. Master this area and you’re in business! You can’t be caught flat-footed without leads – ever.
- FAIR & GENEROUS COMPENSATION PLAN: Having reviewed in microscopic detail hundreds of compensation structures over the last several decades, as well as having written my fair share of the same for companies producing millions of dollars in volume, I cannot tell you just how critical a given compensation plan is for a Rep’s success. Most Representatives, especially ‘newbie’s,’ are unaware that comp plan differences are as numerous as breeds of canine. A great compensation plan can actually complement and compound your efforts.
On the other hand, a bad compensation plan can absolutely thwart your efforts, hard work and ability to succeed. A comp plan must work for all involved in the sales campaign – the company and all levels of Management and Representatives, and not slanted toward any one sub-group, like the over-achievers, or the company itself. In order to be able to delineate good from bad, compensation plan detail is a subject in which you’ll want to develop expertise as quickly as possible.
Also, find out if there exists a Board of Directors that has the power to change the compensation plan. Honestly, most Boards, in my experience, are comprised of individuals who have had success in other fields and other, often non-related verticals; and, their primary interest is the company’s bottom line. They don’t understand the negative implications for the field when comp plans are changed. If they, at the drop of a hat, can change the comp plan, you could find yourself damaged or in an indefensible position even though it would not have been your fault. In instances where I’ve worked for other companies that I have not owned, each time the comp plan is changed, I’ve lost ~40% of my Rep base. So, be certain to discern with clarity who it is that has control over the compensation plan. If it is some ‘detached’ Board of Directors, you may want to consider another product/service or a different scenario.
- BIG TICKET vs small ticket: This should be completely obvious, but thousands of Reps will commit to represent a product that will simply not support their desired income goals. Small ticket items require more transactions in order to provide significant monthly income for a Rep. With bigger ticket items, fewer sales are required to create your desired monthly income. Seems self-evident enough, but far too many people choose to represent items that would, even if they were super-star producers, be almost impossible to make enough sales to add-up to a reasonable income. I have found that bigger ticket items usually require the same amount of energy to make a sale as does a small ticket item; so why would we not focus on products/services that pay bigger commissions? You should carefully analyze how many sales it will take to satisfy your monthly income goals when considering any product/service to represent.
- DUPLICATION: Can you build a team selling with/under you that pays overrides in addition to your personally produced transactions? If so, is the payout from their production substantial or minimal? Also, does the compensation plan create competition between you and your enrolled Representatives? If so, then you’re going to have issues that won’t support long-term team-building. You comp plan should rather, naturally encourage cooperation. E.g.; If there is a question as to where a new Rep should be positioned, or where a piece of business should be placed, the plan should allow that volume to go under the lower Rep to benefit both parties – you and your Rep.
Sometimes, we don’t know the accurate answers to these questions until the product/service we’ve fallen in love with is field-tested. Field-tests can often be non-rewarding financial periods of time as we attempt to spread the word about a certain product/service, but that’s a professional marketer’s reality. Not everything you or I attempt will work – sorry. I and my Reps have seen great campaigns, and then there have been those that were complete busts. If you aren’t willing to go through less-than-rewarding times as a Representative team member, or even as a marketing company owner, then you may be in the wrong profession.
The good news is that you’ll eventually find a product or service that meets all of the above criteria, and at that point, your patience and testing will turn into a lucrative position as an Independent Representative!
In closing, learn to scrutinize first. Don’t emotionally commit to “what” it is you’re going to represent until you’ve done significant due diligence that includes the points discussed in this article. Don’t let due diligence steal your enthusiasm. You can research, and all the while remain optimistic. There awaits you powerful campaigns with which you can succeed, and perhaps, even wildly! Be patient. Exercise scrutiny. Choose wisely. Your time is coming!