As an employer, it is important to choose the right employees that will maximize your business strategy. One distinction that can make a difference in your business is the difference between a sales agent and a sales representative. Although the names sound similar, the two tasks of each employee are quite different, and one is likely more suitable than the other for your type of business. Before hiring a sales representative or agent, it is wise to get a feel for what each sales person can do for your business and how you can maximize the performance of either job in your company.
The sales agent
A sales agent is responsible for setting up contracts between two parties. An agent is like a representative, but instead of representing a company’s products, the agent represents the company or brand itself. The agent will take charge of the business affairs of the company or person. The agent negotiates client’s services with a third party. Usually, the agent comes up with a contract between the client and business, and the agent will receive a commission on the contract. Rather than getting paid directly from the employer, the agent receives a part of the funds from the contract agreement. This means that unless contracts are made, the agent will not get paid, but in the case of huge contract deals, the agent’s income is nearly limitless.
The sales representative
A sales representative, on the other hand, is tied in more with an employee’s products or services. The sales representative goes out to relevant businesses and pitches the company’s products to the business. Often, a sales representative receives a commission on the amount of product that they sell. They may also receive a base salary in addition to sales commissions, depending on the business model of the company.
When to use each method
For the most part, a sales representative is the best choice if your company sells a specific product or service. For example, if you manufacturer vacuums, then a sales representative can try to get companies to purchase your brand of vacuum. However, if you are an independent employer, and are mainly selling yourself (such as in the case of music production or book writing), then an agent will be a better fit. Agents are like company ambassadors, while representatives are more like product dispensers.
Both agents and sales representatives have their benefits and drawbacks. Advantages of an agent include a strong work ethic to receive the highest compensation possible. Advantages of a rep include the ability to focus on sale of a product. An agent, however, may not be able to promote a company or person in the best light possible or spend the time focusing on you individually. A sales rep may perform badly, cutting back on company income.
Although both agents have their pros and cons, it is easy to identify where each type of sales associate shines best. The main difference between the two is that the agent basically sells the brand or client, while the sales representative sells an actual product or service for the company. Knowing this distinction can help you choose the best style of sales person that fits your company services and profile.
Guest post by contributing author, Richard O., written on behalf of Cognitive Group, a dynamics recruitment agency.