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Need to sell your product or invention to big chain stores?
A Manufacturer's Representative is the solution.
 

Private Member's Area

Welcome to the private member area. This page has additional information that supplements the book, How To Sell To Retail Chain Stores: Finding a Manufacturer's Representative.

You may have read the book and kept asking "When the #@$% is he going to tell me WHERE to find reps?" Well this is where. I did not want to list websites in the book because websites change, good companies go bad, new companies appear and I did not want a book full of outdated links. This page allows me to update the critical content so you have the latest information. I also have some reviews of the top Mfg Rep sites and some of what I have to say is not pretty so I did not want to include it in the book. Well, you are here now and all of the information is on this page. Read on and enjoy.

Audio Bonus

First, here is the free audio bonus you were promised. It is a a guide you can use to improve your advertising material, your product packaging, and your one-sheet.

Click Here To Download the FREE BONUS MP3

or right click on the link and select the option to "Save Target As" to save to your computer.

 

Finding Reps - Reviews of the top Manufacturer's Representative Sites

Below are reviews and links to the top websites that list reps.

 

RepHunter

The first site that I recommend you use is RepHunter. This is one of the best services on the web. It is the main one I use too. It has a lot of reps listed, it is easy to use, it is easy to signup, but it is expensive. It costs around $300 for the first month and $99 for each month afterward. If you are serious about finding real reps who can represent your product, then this is the place to go first and the cost will be trivial if you can find just one rep who can sell your product well.

I say to go here first because there are other, more expensive services I will recommend below, but this is the best and cheapest place to start. You may not even want to try any others after using RepHunter. Once you have established a few reps for your product here, and you have more money coming in, you can move up to the more expensive services. The more expensive services are not necessarily better, they just operate differently as I explain in their reviews. Click the below link and setup your RepHunter account now and you can find new reps in a few minutes.

RepHunter
Independent Sales Reps?
We match rep expertise with manufacturer needs. Search our database today.
Click here to Find Sales Reps at RepHunter

There is one problem with the RepHunter site. I do not trust the search results. You will need to use the search, but also use the category listings. I have found that if I find a rep, then later try to search for that rep using keywords from his profile, he does not show up so not everyone appears for keyword searches. You need to go through the category listings anyway because you might find other reps you had not considered before with different areas of interest.

After my first two months with rephunter, I was allotted 70 possible initiated contacts. Of these I used 53 to contact reps and another 16 reps contacted me directly after finding my profile. Unused monthly contact allotments do carry over into the next month too.

Global Representation

http://www.globalrepresentation.com/

I did not find this site to be very useful. In my one month subscription my profile only received 144 views. There is no way for me to look through rep listings to find reps. They must contact me after they find my listing. I received zero contacts from reps for my 1 month fee. I do not recommend paying for this service.

 

Manufacturer's Representatives .com

http://www.manufacturers-representatives.com/

I signed up for this service and received 19 contacts from reps total. Very disappointing! There was no way for me to search for reps, they had to find me. Of these some were clearly unqualified and even illiterate. Some were consultants who wanted to sell me services. Of the rest, I do not yet have any sales as a result.

There was something else about this site that struck me as odd. They allow free sign-up but you have to pay to communicate or see the other person's information. Almost immediately after I signed up for free I received a contact request. Of course, I could net see the person's information because I had not paid to join yet so I paid. When I paid I saw the first rep who contacted me had a profile showing he specialized in equine products(horses for you city people). I could not understand why this rep contacted me as interested in my products when I sell software which has nothing to do with horses at all. It just seemed strange that I sign up and receive a contact request from someone who is clearly not even in my business sector. I would say it was fishy.

Here is the information on the person who contacted me:

Pet Products, Jewelry / Fashion, Beverage Products, Health Care, Retail, Toys, Beauty / Skin Care, Arts & Crafts, Business to Business Services, Cosmetics, Soaps & Detergents, Livestock, Accessories, Emergency Products & Services, Veterinary Supplies, Specialty Apparel & Garments

SALES TERRITORIES COVERED: California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Texas, Utah


My product at that time was software so why would someone involved in pet products or jewelry contact me at all? It makes no sense. Notice how he somehow covers California and New York as well as most of the other major markets. Also notice that he somehow is able to represent everything from Pet Products to Beverages to Livestock and Toys. This is the first contact I received after I signed up and before paying. It seems too easy to me. I sign up, and immediately someone is interested? Just too easy. It is especially unusual because nothing in my manufacturer's profile had anything to do with pets or livestock which appears to be what this person specializes in.

After I paid to subscribe, I received no other contacts from reps during my subscription. But, then a couple of weeks after my subscription expired I received another notice for another rep(I could not see his contact info but could find his market info):

Pet Products, Sporting Goods, Retail, Women's Apparel, Beauty / Skin Care, Arts & Crafts, Consumer Products, Giftware, Housewares, Hardware, Accessories, Men's Apparel

SALES TERRITORIES COVERED: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee

Does this not seem familiar? What are the odds of two people contacting me, one just after I use the free sign up option and the other immediately after my subscription expires, both covering massive territory and both selling everything under the Sun including pet products!! Quite a coincidence. This notice came with this message:

Currently, you are not subscribed to our service. In order to view this rep's complete profile including a detailed summary of their industry experience, personal contact information and much more, you can simply subscribe to one of our flexible subscription plans.

So when I was subscribed not a single person contacted me who represented pet products or Women's apparel, or my own market of software and education products, but before and after I have a paid subscription I receive a convenient notice from such people who clearly have no way to sell my product. Really fishy. If anyone reading this has had a similar experience with any of these sites, please let me know about it.

Needless to say, I did not resubscribe.

Manufacturers-representatives.com also used 2checkout as their payment service. This alone almost made me leery of signing up. It is acceptable for many companies to use 2checkout or to use them as a backup system, but for a company like this, offering a premium and high priced service to use them just seems strange to me. Could they not obtain a real merchant account? If not then do I really want to do business with them? I should have listened to my gut and avoided the site.

 

MRP USA

http://www.mrpusa.com/mrpprogram.htm

This is a service run by Mr. Roger Wilson. It is not like other online services...it is not online at all. The MRP or Manufacturer's Representative Profile service, sells profiles from their database. You have the option to pay $800 for one territory(similar to the ones shown on the map in the book that led you here) or you can pay $5,000 for a national search. Mr. Wilson then sends you by FedEx a list of reps who match your needs along with information and notes on them. This is an expensive service, but it has some advantages. You receive all reps at once. You are not limited to a fixed number of contacts per month like some services, or limited to whichever reps stumble over your account like on other online services. Mr. Wilson will also provide additional guidance and assistance if possible.

This service is not one I recommend you start with. Start with RepHunter above. Once you have some reps and feel you have tapped-out their database, then it is time to look elsewhere and that is where MRP USA comes in.

Mr. Wilson makes an effort to keep his database up to date. Out of the stack of reps I purchased, there were a few that had invalid contact information. About half did not even list an email address or website(you know my feelings on that from the book). The service is still a good next step once you have had success online and need to expand but are not finding enough reps online anymore.

Some of Mr. Wilson's information pages seem woefully out of date such as mentioning telephone modems and cassette tapes, but the information is good. He sends you more than just a list of reps. Each page is a detailed sheet on that one rep plus he includes more information, an audio guide on CD, and sample letters. My recommendation is to use RepHunter first, then use MRP once you are ready for more reps.

If you use MRP USA, be sure to tell him you were recommended to his service by Michael Ford. Also, let me know your experiences with any company on this page or any others you find.

 

PeoplePerHour

http://www.peopleperhour.com/quotes/freelance/Sales

This is a service that allows people with various skills to post their availability. It is not specifically a manufacturer's rep service, but reps do post their availability here.

These reps are great for cold calling prospective businesses if you are not the type who likes to make cold calls and of course you may find a regular mfg rep.

 

Other Sites

Other sites that you can investigate. I do not have enough experience with these to rate them.

Manufacturer's Representatives and related sites

http://www.manaonline.org/

http://www.mrerf.org/cpmr/ Certified mfg reps

http://www.manufacturersreps.com/ Rep forum

http://www.mra-reps.com/

http://www.repmesa.com/

How to find a mfg rep article:

http://www.business-opportunities.biz/2005/11/16/how-to-find-a-manufacturers-rep/

listings of mfg reps by city/state:

http://businesslistings.marinij.com/CA-San-Rafael-94901/Manufacturers-Representatives

society of: http://www.smronline.org/

You can also find reps on monster.com and other job sites including craigslist.org

However, these may also be consultants or people with no experience so do your research first before letting anyone from these sites represent you and beware of anyone wanting you to pay them before a sale is made and you have the money in your pocket. Also avoid anyone who wants personal information like your social security number, tax ID number or any other information that a rep does not need.

 

Safety Online

In the book, I touched on identifying bad reps. This advice actually goes much farther and there is more to it. I have another book called Scams and Scoundrels which can help you and your family. This book is about scams on eBay, however, the advice also applies to the Internet in general and all websites and all emails. You can purchase the audio version with bonus material in our shop. It is also available on amazon as the printed book only, HERE. You can also sign up for a free auction safety course at auction-safety.org


Selling Books OR Getting Publicity For Your Company

If you need publicity then I have two great sources. How would you like to have your book or company written up in a major magazine, syndicated article, or how would you like to talk about your book or company for 30 minutes during a morning or afternoon drive radio show with 100,000 listeners? It is possible.

If you have a book to sell then you may not have found my advice encouraging. There are other ways to make money from your book. I highly recommend Steve Harrison's seminars. He gives two seminars a year on the East Coast but year round he gives free telephone tele-seminars. One piece of advice I will give you now is to become an expert in the field of your book. This means you give interviews to the press, then they quote you as the author of your book and you now have free publicity. How do you get quoted? That is easy. There is a free service that will notify you when a reporter is looking for a quote or to do a story on your topic. You can sign up for it at Steve Harrison's Site - CLICK HERE. He operates this notification system. When you sign up, you will also receive notices about when his next seminar or teleseminar is being held so you can listen in for free by phone. This list is good for any business sector, not just books. You can monitor the reporter requests and when a reporter is doing an article on going-green, you can respond to let him know about what your company is doing to help the average person go green or whatever the request is for that relates to your business.

Another excellent source for publicity is radio. If you have a book or you want to talk about your company on major radio stations, then Alex Carroll has put together a great course that explains exactly how he did it. He has been interviewed on hundreds of radio stations and I have personally used his system to be interviewed on over 100 stations myself. I will warn you in advance, his system is expensive, but if you are serious about getting on the radio for free, then his system can help you. Controversy is good but there are many radio shows that just want to talk about people-stories, interesting developments, new products, anything you can think about. I went for his full price $900 system, but he has other less expensive options. You can check his site out HERE and you can find a review of his service at 4boxreviews.com

 

Improving Your Grammar

I made a big deal in my book about grammar. Grammar is critical when dealing with big companies. You may get away with saying "A person may buy my product saying it is to save money, but their motive is to look cool." to your family and friends, but when you say this to an educated businessman, he will immediately notice you mixed a singular subject with a plural pronoun. This and many other mistakes are ones you cannot afford to make. Check out the Speak English Like A Genius course and you can improve your grammar with this video series.

You need to communicate clearly so good reps want to work with you and you need to identify those reps who may give a bad impression of your company with their own bad grammar.

 

Chain Store Guide

I mentioned the Chain Store Guide in the book. This is the guide that lists retail stores along with the contact information for the person in charge of buying. They have a series of books but the one you are most likely to want is the Directory of Discount Stores & Specialty Retailers which has around 1000 pages of stores, from big to small and catalog companies in the USA and Canada. Their listing does not have a good description so I will tell you more about what this book has. It lists the company, what they sell, the number of stores, the average yearly sales dollars the store brings in, the area the store covers, the person who makes buying decisions, that person's phone number and mailing address and usually the email address to contact him or her too. It also includes notes about what the company is and is not interested in. It is an invaluable tool. This is what reps use to find new stores. You can use it too. This guide is another expensive book, but you can always post it for sale on amazon again as used, but I doubt you will be doing that. It is too valuable as a tool for contacting businesses to sell your product.

Take a look at this guide here

One other thought: you can use the chain store guide to check on your reps. Is your rep really working or just kicking back? Find out what stores are close to your rep and ask if he has talked to that particular store. If the answer is no, then maybe he is not a very good rep. A good rep will have his own copy of the CSG.

Other Books You Must Read

My book could only go into so much detail. There are other books you will be interested in which cover other aspects you may not yet know about. I highly recommend the below books.

Retail Detailed

This book explains how the retail system works. It was written by an expert who worked as a retail buyer at many big name companies(companies you would recognize by name). He also offers consulting services. If you would like to hire him, he charges $250/hour. You can contact me if you are interested in his services. He does not openly consult(ie no website).

 

 

Selling To Big Companies

This book is for people who have services or products to sell to big companies. By this, I mean big corporations, not retail stores. If your product is something used by or consumed by a big company, like consulting services or if you have a way to reduce the company's costs, then this book is what you need. If you only have a product to sell at the retail level, then this book will not help you. If you want IBM to buy 1000 copies of your software for their internal use, then this book can help you.


 

Background Checks

In my book, I explained the importance of checking out reps. With modern information technology, nothing is truly private any more. You can do your own background searches online now.

The below company offers a service where you can search using any number of methods. It is easy to use too. I recommend paying for the five year plan which lets you run as many searches as you want. It is not expensive at all either.

Do Your Own Background Checks

 

Graphic Design

You need a nice looking label for your product. Just being able to use Photoshop is not enough. You must understand graphic design such as how to place elements, how to use open space, how to make the viewers eye move where you want. This takes some training. You probably just want a label and not to learn a new vocation. You can hire a graphic artist to do the work instead of doing it yourself.

I would suggest trying Elance where you can post a job request and graphic artists will respond with quotes on what they charge. Elance is a freelance service. If you have not used it before, and even if you have, I would highly recommend taking a course in hiring freelancers FIRST before hiring anyone. Taking this course will help you pick the right person for the job and help you avoid all the wanna-be graphic artists who claim they can do great things but in truth can not draw a straight line. Sign up for this course now and you can watch the videos online right now HERE.

How much does a graphic designer charge? The answer varies greatly. If you want a good product label designed, you can spend anywhere from $200 to $1000 for the final Photoshop or Illustrator or Indesign file. Those are the formats most likely to be used by an experienced graphic artist and those are the formats the final project should be sent to you in.

If you trust your own design skills but lack the know-how to use Photoshop, there are video tutorials that will show you how. Take a look at a Graphic Design Master Course HERE. You can also find Photoshop and Gimp tutorials HERE.

These courses also explain where to download a free Photoshop clone that works just like Photoshop but does not cost one cent. It is perfect for designing your one sheet.


Hiring Freelancers

I already mentioned Elance for hiring a graphic designer, but there is much more you should know. You can use freelancers to greatly boost your business capabilities. This is where to hire people to do the voiceover of your audio sales training recording, you can also outsource to have someone with a nice voice record your voicemail messages, hire a programmer, hire a web designer, hire a graphic designer to make your one sheet, hire and SEO expert to optimize your website, hire a voiceover person to record your eBook into an audio book, hire an editor to check your ebook or sales letter, hire someone to write a sales letter for you, hire someone to create your website, hire someone to translate your website or product label into another language, hire someone to make trade show graphics and many other jobs that can help your business.

Elance is only one of many sites. I recommend it for graphic artists, but other sites specialize in other fields. On these sites you can post a job request and workers will respond with quotes on what they charge. Sign up for the outsourcing course now and you can watch the videos online right now HERE. This course will explain to you how outsourcing works and how to use it to multiply your business ability and sales ability.

 

Importing Guide

Once you have a manufacturer's rep you may want to sell more products. How do you get more products? You import them. You do not have to go through an import company that will charge you huge fees which wipe out your profit either. I personally imported 1000 game consoles from China. I also created a report explaining how I did it and how you can too. It includes a number of sources and explains how importing works for the small business person.

You can find this guide HERE.

 

Trade Shows

It is important to find trade shows where your product might be shown. Finding a trade show is a good sign that your product category is in demand. Google search for Trade+Show+Your Product Category or product type to find trade shows. There are many trade show sites and some that allow you to search by state or category.

Trade Show Network

Trade Show Week

Trade Show Finder

Expo World Finder

Trade Show Directory

Conventions

Yahoo Trade Show Directory

 

Trade Show Graphics

You will have to supply your rep with graphics and signs he can use at trade shows. If you do not have the design skills needed, then see the above sections on hiring Graphic Designers. Your designer can create the graphics and if you have limited Photoshop skills, you can make any last minute changes, then send the file to an online printing service or to a Fedex-Kinkos print shop where your rep can pick the final graphics up. By submitting the files online to Fedex-Kinkos, you avoid shipping the graphics which may be impossible for a big flat foam core sign.

 

Consignment Stores

In the book, I recommended putting your product in consignment stores so you can honestly say your product is in some store. Here are some and you can Google search to find others.

http://consignmentshops.com/

http://consignmentstores.org/

 

Coming Soon

Templates for a One Sheet and Price Sheet.


 
Get your product on the shelves of chain stores. Find out how to hire a manufacturer's representative and learn how you can take advantage of the retail chain system. You can do it all from home using your computer and phone.
 
 
 
 
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