Think hiring a rep firm is like hiring for any open position on your team? Think again.
The questions you ask are critical to ensure the right fit but also in understanding how well they will drive your business. This is what you are hiring for in the first place.
The questions that you need to ask fall into several major buckets:
- Understanding the rep agency
- Understanding what they know about you and your business
- Questions that help you understand their sales philosophy
Here are some of the key questions you can explore in searching for the best fit to drive your business by hiring an independent manufacturers representative.
Questions to ask to understand the rep agency
- Tell me about your agency. What is each of your roles?
- Why did you originally want to work as an independent rep?
- What are the reasons your agency has been successful?
- What aspects of repping do you consider most critical?
- What are your agencies biggest accomplishments?
- If I were to contact one of your other factories, what would they say are your agency’s strong suits?
- If I were to contact one of your other factories, what would they say are your agency’s weaknesses?
- What can your agency do for us that others can’t?
- Tell me about an event that really challenged your agency. How did you meet that challenge and how was your approach different from others.
- What area of your skill/professional development do you wish to improve at this time?
- What does your agency do to continue to add value to the customer relationship after the sale?
- What do you feel is a reasonable amount of growth % per year? Other lines?
- What are your agency’s goals for the next year? 5 years?
Questions to ask to see how well the rep agency did their homework on you
- What do you know about our company?
- What interests you the most about our product line?
- What interests you least in our line?
- What is the best thing you have heard about our products?
- What is the worst thing you have heard about our company?
- What is your perception of how we take our product to market?
- What do you think determines success with a line like ours?
- If I were to hire your agency, what would your first 30 day action plan be?
- If I were to hire your agency, what prospects would you immediately wish to take our product to?
- Our product is sold in channels that are quite different from most other products that you sell. Tell me about a line you have repped that is outside of your traditional channel.
Questions to ask to understand the sales philosophy of the rep firm
- We expect a lot of sales effort to be devoted to our product. How would you be able to meet our expectations without hurting your existing lines?
- Tell me about a time when you have disagreed with one of your factories policies or decisions and how you handled it.
- Have you ever been fired or resigned from a line? Why?
- Tell me about an account you lost and why. What could you have done differently?
- Tell me about a prospect you failed to sell. What could you have done differently?
- Tell me about a recent success you have had. What were key reasons for success?
- Tell me about a time where you have approached a prospect you know would do a great job with one of your products, but he had no interest. How did you overcome this?
- Tell me about a prospect that was happy with their current source, and how you were able to overcome.
- What motivates you about selling?
- What do you like least about selling?
- As your sales manager, what 3 things could I do to help improve your sales?
- Why should I hire your agency?
What other questions have you found to be effective in your rep agency hiring? Let us know by posting your comments.
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If the agency is mature I like to ask about your succession plan.