How can I find an independant sales rep?
I don't believe there is one proven method to find the right sales people. But I do know, through trial and error over many years, there are easier ways than others to source talent.
In my opinion, a business owner should only engage a salesperson, either independent or otherwise, when there is a proven sales process and structure in place. This will enable a new person to integrate quickly and successfully to develop their own unique selling style and be guided by the support of an established sales model.
Usually companies hire an independent (commission only) sales person as a bridging step, because they can't afford a full-time salary role, or they believe they get more value by having 10 independent sales reps as opposed to a couple of full-timers. And this is okay, just make sure your sales process and support structure is right, because despite what many people think, independent sales people need more support - not less. The cost benefits can be deceiving.
This is where most of these independent sales models go wrong: The leaders in these companies believe that because the sales person is not on a full-time salary, they require less support, time and resource investment. As a consequence, they should be left to their own devices as much as possible, ie. "Here are your business cards and a hot desk - see you next week, hopefully with a cheque or two for me!"
Is it any wonder these companies have high staff turnover? These are more often than not, hyper-competitive and uninspiring environments to work in, and again surprise, surprise, they have massive churn. I actually loathe these types of sales models, because they bleed IP and breed old-school selling tactics. Make sure you're not fostering this type of sales model. If you are, take steps to put more support structures in place immediately.
If you have a best practice sales process and the right support structure, now, it's time to integrate a new asset to help drive new business. Over the years, I have tried every avenue there is to source and recruit sales talent: recruitment websites, newspaper ads, internal promotion, poaching, referral programs and fee based agencies, etc. After all my trials and errors, and with some time to reflect, I now realise the best sales people I have hired, both independent and full-time, have all come from existing relationships around me.
If a salesperson naturally possesses or is committed to developing their 6P's for sales success: presentation, preparation, people skills, passion, persuasiveness and persistence - I know their success is just a matter of time. I don't care what industry they are in (currently) - with the right induction, mentoring, training and development, they are only limited by what they set out to achieve.
You can certainly source talent in all the traditional channels (as above), but please be careful not to overlook the diamonds around you or perhaps even in your own backyard. When you hire an independent sales person, despite what many think, there needs to be more trust, communication and support. This type of relationship can often be developed more effectively with someone you know, or perhaps through a mutual acquaintance.This article as seen on SmartCompany.com.au