Andres Heuberger's company sells novelty watches through independent sales representatives. He offers the reps a 15% commission, but so far, their performance has disappointed him; he's fired 25 in six months (Taking a Licking, March, [Article link]). He wants to know what he's doing wrong.
Mr. Heuberger is asking his reps to create instant sales, and that's usually impossible. Does he know what it takes to sell his product? What level of performance is a good beginning? Whether his product fits in with the rest of the line? He has to answer those questions with each rep.
It's premature to measure performance by monthly sales volume; instead, he should look at sales calls. If his reps are making calls, sales will follow -- if his product has a legitimate market.
Mr. Heuberger can't rely on reps alone. He needs a factory-trained sales manager who can travel with the sales reps, supervise them, train them, motivate them, and sell alongside them. Together, they make an unbeatable combination. But alone, an independent sales rep lacks the incentive and knowledge to make a product happen.
Ben M. Tenn
Best Film & Video
Woodland Hills, Calif.
Most of the sales reps I know wouldn't walk across the street for a 15% commission. With the expense of setting up and the time spent at trade shows, most wouldn't consider anything less than 25%. Forty percent is more like it.
Law and Orders Customers love Mark Warda's copyright and trademark manuals. If only he had more customers. The advertising he's tried hasn't worked, and people hear of his books, he says, only by accident. Warda asked Network how he could make accidents happen (Under a Bushel, March, [Article link]).
Our local patent-information clearinghouse displays copies of a West Coast publisher's patent and trademark books and recommends them to anyone who calls or visits. Talk about zeroing in on a market! Mr. Warda should contact similar offices in his area and ask them to do the same for him.
The Better Ideas Company
I publish a magazine for doll makers, and I'm often asked about copyrighting designs. Mr. Warda should market his books through "The Crafts Report" (302-656-2209), a monthly newsletter for professional crafts people. He should also contact organizations of artists and designers. He could write articles for their newsletters, and he could speak about legal issues at seminars and conferences. Here are the names of a few of those organizations: Society of Craft Designers (404-252-2454); Graphic Artists Guild (212-463-7730); and Network, an association of fiber professionals (212-787-1968).
Let's Talk About Dollmaking
Point Pleasant, N.J.
In Search of . . . Back in December Leslie Homen asked for advice on selling a poster she's designed, from her home through the mail. Josh Berman suggested she subscribe to "National Home Business Reports," a quarterly newsletter published by Barbara Brabec. We published Berman's reply in March ([Article link]), but we didn't tell readers how to get in touch with Brabec. Here's that information: Barbara Brabec Productions, P.O. Box 2137, Naperville, IL 60567; (708) 717-0488. n