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Career Story: Manufacturers Rep For A Line Of Materials Handling Equipment

Manufacturers Rep For A Line Of Materials Handling Equipment

Job Title: Manufacturers Representative

Type of Company: We design and sell material handling systems to the chemical, food and pharmaceutical industries.

Education: BS, Business Management, Northern Michigan University (Marquette, MI)

Previous Experience: I was a business consultant for two years before joining current Rep agency.

Job Tasks: As a manufacturer's representative firm, we have the exclusive rights to receive sales commissions for any of our contracted principal's products that are sold in our assigned territory. We are typically interviewed by a manufacturer, and if they like our company and people, they sign a contract that gives us the exclusive rights to sales within our territory. We refer to these companies as "principals" and we in turn are the representative,or "rep."

As part of our daily routine, we call and visit with existing equipment installations to follow-up on equipment performance and also network to establish new sales opportunities. The equipment we promote and sell is expensive, so the sales cycle can take six months to two years to consummate. And patience and persistence are essential to success.

Our entire source of revenue is sales commissions. If we do not sell, we do not get paid. It takes determination and persistence to find sales opportunities, generate proposals, perform presentations and maintain contact with the key customers in our territory.

Part of managing our business is to control cash flow. The sales cycle is long, and the business climate is subject to change, which creates an ebb and flow to the income stream. It is critically important therefore to manage the cash and to plan for periods of slow sales, when the income stream drops off.

As a representative in the manufacturing equipment sector, I am constantly exposed to the grit, dust, clamor and potentially toxic pollution of industrial facilities. But these are things I have to examine in order to recommend improved methods to handle the various materials in each customer's workflow.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best part of my job is that it changes every day. In a given day I can be in a commercial bakery and a bulk pharmaceutical plant and end the day visiting a coal-fired power plant.

The worst part is way we are compensated and how the economy affects our income directly and immediately.

So, to keep fresh it is fun to be exposed to various unique operations. But it is a bummer to lose income during slow sales times.

Job Tips: If you were to consider being a manufacturers representative, you should plan on having virtually no disposable income for 1 - 3 years, as start-up costs are high, and it takes a long time to establish a reasonable cash flow.

I would also recommend that you find a product line to sell that is immune to market conditions and economic upsets.

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