Turn around is fair play: last week we discussed what the principals want from the rep-principal relationship, now we are going to discuss what the reps want. As we mentioned last week, these are wish lists only, some of the things both these entities want are not fair or even practical, but it symbolizes the chasm between their agendas, which is what makes a successful partnership so challenging.
But wait, there is hope! Once we list their differences, we can list their similarities, the things they do have in common, and from there develop the ideal rep-principal partnership.
Here are what the independent sales representative is looking for in a partnership with her principal
- To be treated with respect
- To be treated as a true partner
- A principal who has a mission and a vision
- A principal who knows who his ideal customer is
- A principal who can turn quotes around rapidly
- A principal who has a great deal of respect for the customer
- A principal who focuses on great customer service
- A principal who is respected by her customers
- A principal who is willing to share any information that can help the rep
- A principal who is willing to turn over some house accounts, even if it is at a reduced fee
- A principal who will not shoot the messenger when the news is not good
- A principal who will take criticism
- A principal who can tell his reps exactly what kind of business she needs
- To be paid for his time. A Rep can no longer afford to work for free. He can no longer work for a company for three quarters of a year before he sees a penny in commission.
- She needs some sort of seed money, getting started money, either stipend or a draw; something that will pay for her time, or at least some of her expenses as she pursues new customers for her principal.
- A principal that puts out a great product
- A principal that believes in and makes delivery promises they keep
- A principal who is well-known
- A principal who invests money in marketing so that they can become well-known
- A principal who feels that reps are important and not a necessary evil
- A principal who goes to trade shows
- A principal who pays the reps on time
- A principal who includes the reps in their business decisions
- A principal who takes a long view at their relationship and their partnership
- A principal who makes sure that the reps are included in all customer interactions.
- A principal who is financially secure
- A principal who is willing to share leads, nay, produce leads for the reps
- A principal who makes sure the reps have everything they need when it comes to their accounting paperwork
- A principal who is willing to invest in his company to keep it technologically abreast with the needs of the market
- A principal who will support her
- A principal who is willing to visit the customers with him
- A principal who invites the rep to his annual sales meeting…and helps with the expense.
- A principal who has an excellent web site
- A principal who has excellent and up to date literature
- A principal who will not fire a rep as soon as there is any sign of trouble
- A principal who will not cut commissions because the rep is making too much money
- A principal who will not terminate the rep because he is making too much money
- A principal who will stick to the letter of the contract once it is signed
- A principal who has a fair contract with clauses beneficial for both sides.
- A principal who is not going to reduce commissions every time there is a pricing issue
- A principal who is actually willing to raise commissions or give a bonus when things have gone exceptionally well
- A principal who will pay bonuses for special sales initiatives
- A principal who does not put the rep last when it’s time to pay the bills.
Whew! That is one long list isn’t it? I think I covered just about everything I have heard reps say they want from their principals. There might be a few items that I have missed and if that is so then I am sure one of you will let me know!
I invite you to lay this list side-by- side with last week’s list of what principals want and you will start to see a pattern that goes from some items being fairly close to others being completely polarized.
Now the next step is to find the common ground between the two parties and then from that build a rep-principal relationship that will work for both parties.
Stay tuned, that’s what we’ll talk about next week. It’s only common sense