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If you find that your products do not require intensity of support required by a business format franchise then other sales partner options may be more suitable.
From a simple commission-based arrangement with an industry sales agent (or broker) to a more formalised licensing deal that may offer exclusive territory and advertising support, there are opportunities to get your partners working for you to increase your overall sales.
Don't Just Leave It To Your Partner... However, it's not simply a case of thinking, "Let's sign a deal and let them worry about getting sales". No matter which option you choose there will be ongoing communication and support required from you if you want your sales partner to get best results.
And there are always potential pitfalls in any relationship. Remember, less committed your sales partner is to you, lower your products or services will appear on their priority list. So here are a few things to keep an eye on if you want to stay on track for success: * Agents - Stay in regular contact. Sell them on your products. Get them excited. Make sure your commission is competitive. Do you have an exclusive arrangement with them? Try to avoid agents who also represent competitive products, as they may have a conflict of interest.
* Distributors - Be aware of how your products fit with their ranging policies. Train their sales team. Help them to promote your products by way of co-operative advertising and sales incentives. Stay on top of any seasonal or dated stock. You don't want your distributor overstocked with old merchandise (because they will think twice before ordering current stock!).
* Licensees - Make sure your legal documentation is sound. Gain a thorough understanding of your licensees business so you know how your product/service is being used. Are they committed to you for a period of time, number of units, or value of sales? Limit license to their specific use so you are free to deal with other licensees. * Franchisees - Use a franchise consultant to help develop your package. Remember your selection of new franchisees will be of paramount importance - people make business! Have procedures to measure customer service levels and operating standards (use random checks, mystery shoppers, contests etc). Gain co-operation and 'buy-in' from franchisees, rather than confrontation.
Sales Partners Online... It's no news to online businesses that they should use productive partnerships to increase their chance of success. For example: * An affiliate program can be compared to a sales agent. * Syndicating content can be compared to licensing (of information). * Patented code/software is commonly used under license.
Always do your sums and make sure your choice of sales partner presents best outcome for you. Look for commitment, synergy, innovation and growth potential in prospective partners - your future depends on it.
Stuart Ayling is an experienced freelance marketer. He has worked with businesses across many industries to develop intelligent, cost-effective sales and marketing solutions. You can reach Stuart at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or online at http://www.marketingnous.com.au