Are You Ready to Work With Sales Reps?

Lela Barker

Are you ready to work with sales reps?


Next week’s curriculum unit for my LBU students is all about working with sales reps and exhibiting at trade shows.  We’re continuing to explore how to wholesale our products and sales reps are a topic of frequent discussion among creative makers. I’m excited to dive into the issue next week and really work through the nuts and bolts. I think we’re often pre-programmed to believe that we must utilize reps when working on the wholesale market, but that’s not always the case. And no matter how fabulous your sales rep is, if you’re not ready to enter that arena, then the relationship won’t ultimately be successful. How do you know if you’re ready to work with a sales rep? So glad you asked! The following in an excerpt from next week’s LBU curriculum.


Acquiring sales reps is one of the quickest, most cost-effective strategies for increasing sales.  But how do you know if you’re ready? Give yourself the greenlight if you answer the following questions in the affirmative…



1. Are you comfortable with stores upcharging your wholesale price by 100-150%

2. Have you diligently crunched your COGS to ensure that your wholesale prices are properly set?

3. Can you afford to pay sales reps a 10-20% commission on each order?

4. Are you able to consistently produce your product?

5. Do you have a firm plan in place for scaling your business?

6. Are you able to loosen the reigns of control enough to bring on other qualified team members?

7. Are you able to generate smaller sizes of your product or can you afford to provide your rep with one full-sized sample of whatever it is your selling?

8. Do your product labels include UPC codes?

9. Do you have line sheets, order forms and other marketing materials at the ready?

10. Have you scored a handful of wholesale accounts on your own?

11. Are you organized enough to track multiple sales reps and maintain thorough + accurate records?

12. Are you willing to release new products twice per year?


If you found yourself nodding your head “yes” as you read that list, then it’s time to seriously consider the possibility of sales reps!


Also attached to Unit 5 of LBU are a series of tools to assist with sales reps and trade shows, including: a worksheet with which to organize your due diligence discovery process when considering a new sales rep, a sample sales rep agreement, a database of 72 trade shows I recommend (sorted by industry), a trade show budgeting tool, a trade show packing list and more!


About the Author

Lela Barker

Lela Barker hails from the deep-and-dirty south (ATL, represent!), where she spends her days helping makers and product designers navigate the pitfalls of product pricing, brand development, and wholesale strategy. She launched her apothecary brand in 2003 and bootstrapped the hell out of that little business to cultivate a portfolio of 1500+ stockists worldwide, generating $12million in revenue and establishing successful distributorships in the Middle East, EU, Scandinavia, and South Korea. Lela is the keeper of a well-worn passport and the maker of the finest lemon meringue pie you’ve ever put in your mouth.

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