You've been working in the sales industry for a good amount of time now but have decided it's time for something new. You're considering breaking away from the constraints of employment and going it alone. There are only three issues. Either you're: a) not confident enough that you're making the right decision, b) unsure of how to get started, or c) worried about giving up a regular wage.
Does that sound familiar? If it does, we're here to help! We've concocted this article with three goals in mind:
1. Setting up your own independent sales rep business
2. Maximizing your earning potential
3. Building a killer sales portfolio that ensures maximum returns on your investment of time and work
How do you know you're in the right place for the information you need?
How do you know that you've found the right place to find out the information it takes to become a successful freelance sales representative?
Well, our whole business (CommissionCrowd) is built on the foundation of driving the commission-only sales industry forward. We're also the authors of a whole library of influential articles, including one that's widely regarded as the blueprint for working with independent sales representatives. That particular article was written to help companies understand the benefits that freelance sales agent could bring to their businesses. If you're just starting out on your journey as a 1099 (self-employed sales rep), then you'll likely also find it very informative and useful.
We've been published in prestige media sources including Forbes, The Huffington Post, and The Financial Times. Just last year we had the honor of winning the Overall Innovation For Sales Award at Europe's largest and most prestigious sales exhibition.
Your goal: As an independent sales rep your goal is to create opportunities that will earn you more income than you could hope to achieve as a company's employee and cut the amount of time and work required to generate large, residual commission for the long term. But that sort of success doesn't happen overnight.
There's plenty of reasons why becoming an independent sales person can be a lucrative decision but first, you'll need to learn a few basic steps.
Think about your skill set. The best salespeople are the ones who understand how to talk to people, establish a connection, and write for different audiences. Listen to sales advice from experts. Do your research. If you're planning to sell electronics for a company overseas, make sure the company's not known for their defective units. Remember, the products you sell aren't just a reflection of your client, but a reflection of you as the seller. Trustworthiness is a vital part of a sales agent's repertoire. That's why we at CommissionCrowd vet every company who signs up to our website, ensuring that you're only working with quality sellers.
Learn what sort of commissions you should expect for your work. Services usually net a higher commission rate (typically between 20 and 50 percent) than selling manufactured products (anywhere from 7 to 15 percent). But you also need to consider other factors. A smaller commission might be worth it if it means short sales cycles and an industry you're already familiar with. Consider how hard a product or service is to sell and how big of a potential market it has. Some clients will provide leads for you, though this might affect your overall commission. CommissionCrowd allows agents to filter results by 'leads provided', which is a great place to start.
Doing what you know:
Most freelance sales agents have a number of years' experience in a certain field. They've already made a name for themselves and know the ins and outs of their industry. This familiarity, along with the network of contacts they're likely to accrue, make it easier when it comes time to sell. For that reason, it often makes sense to focus on one particular industry, selling a whole range of products and services so long as all of them are non-competing.
Not everyone has a developed network of contacts, though. If you're starting off in a new industry, make sure to pick one that you're passionate about and like the type of people you're selling to. Consider taking on an in-house job until you get a better sense of the basics. You might also want to consider an opportunity where leads are already provided and your responsibility is to do the legwork. CommissionCrowd offers its very own in-house Managed Pro Service, where sales agents can make generous commissions while still building up their networks.
Due to the very nature of the business, even the most experienced agents can find themselves running into hurdles every now and then. Many people have trouble financially supporting themselves during their first months, needing to nurture their pipelines before they start making any profits. But the online market is becoming increasingly more friendly to independent agents. New technology and sales tools make it simpler to manage an online business. And CommissionCrowd aims to make it even easier by making their service 100% free for agents looking to team up with awesome companies.
Building your brand
Every commission you take on is an opportunity to increase your selling power. Satisfied clients are a great way to build up your portfolio. Look for as many positions as possible. Within six months you can potentially build hundreds of new contacts. Boost those numbers even higher by attending trade shows, conferences, and seminars. Make phone calls and provide in-person demonstrations for your prospects. And when the opportunity arises, don't be afraid to get creative about how you reach out to your prospects.
Always be diligent when entering an agreement with a client. Remember: the most time-consuming part of the sales process is reaching out to prospects. Once you sell a number of product lines, it will become easier (and faster!) to sell complimentary products.
Check out our free Ultimate Guide To Becoming A Successful Self-Employed, Independent Sales Rep for more information.
Shout your name from the rooftops. Make a website where people can learn more about you. Stay constant with your social media accounts and write authoritative content whenever possible. The more people see you as a thought leader, the more likely they'll want your services. Twitter is a perfect site to hunt for prospects on, and LinkedIn is great for finding out more details. Don't stop attending conferences and trade shows just because you've grown your pipeline. Speaking engagements can be a phenomenal name to keep your name on people's minds. Remember that, unlike an in-house sales position, there's no cap for how much business you can collect.
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