Tony Prisco of GI Apparel, a $20 million company in Farmingdale, N.J., turns to other companies for help finding top-notch reps to sell his novelty T-shirt line. If Prisco is trying to break into a particular geographic area, he calls manufacturers of complementary products with significant distribution in that region and asks which sales representatives they use. While not everyone will share a talented rep, some manufacturers happily pass along names. "They know who the good reps are," Prisco says. "They've already done your job for you." If he's trying to get into a particular store, Prisco contacts the buyers and asks them to recommend a rep. "Buyers like to work with only a limited number of vendors," he says. But the stores might buy from Prisco if he can go through a rep they already deal with.