Things To Ask Potential Reps

Interviewing reps? Looking for someone new to represent your product? Below are a list of points you should discuss with any potential reps for your brand to help ensure your product and business will be represented accordingly.

1. What is his or her expected commission? Will this rate go up or down based on varying sales?

2. Are there additional expenses to the commission paid out upon sales completed?

3. When do you owe your rep his or her commission? One product is shipped or once product is ordered? Suggested recommendation here is once product is shipped and paid for.

4. How does your rep prefer to be paid? How often?

5. What trade shows do the reps participate in and are they guaranteed as part of their representation?

6. Are there additional costs associated with the rep representing your product at trade shows? If so, what?

7. Are there any other additional details you should be made aware of to help support your rep at trade shows, such as travel expenses or necessary production of line sheets?

8. How does each rep plan to update you on their active, potential and new clients?

9. In general, what is the rep you are interviewing preferred method of communication – email, phone, face to face meetings? This should matter to you since you may also have a preferred method.

10. How often should you expect to hear from you rep?

11. What are the top stores your rep currently sells into? If their territory is large, have this broken down by city or region. Are these stores you are familiar with or want your product to be sold to?

12. What other lines does this potential rep carry? Do they compete or complement with your product line?

13. Are there references from other vendors currently working with this rep that he or she is willing to share with you? There should be!

14. Why is this rep able to pick up a new line? Did they just lose a line or are they looking for more diversification? The details matter here. You don’t want to get lost in a crowd.

15. How does this rep plan to help sell your product? Why does he or she think they will be successful at this, specific to your unique product or brand?

16. Are there any terms the rep has in her contract that you should bring to light in your own contract, ensuring you are covering all your bases?

17. How long of a contract does the rep want for you to partner with them for? Are there grounds for terminiation / seperation? An example could be if you set sales goals that were not met during a certain timeframe.

18. How often do you expect to hear from the rep? Some reps don’t touchbase at all unless an order is placed. Make sure your expectations are agreed upon.

19. Does your rep cross territories with any of your other reps? If so, determine which rep gets which area very clearly to avoid troubles later.

20. What will your rep do to “wow” you from the other reps?

The list goes on and on based on your unique product, company, goals and expectations. Make sure that reps don’t just interview you but that you also interview them. A good rep will understand this and should appreciate you being so passionate about your business!

Finally, make sure to set in place your own contract with your rep. They will also have you sign one with them. This is all part of the partnership. Just make sure to read every word and come to agreeing terms on both sides!

If you need additional help in constructing a contract and negotiating what is best for your business, Retail Minded offers this service. Contact Retail Minded today for additional details at


  • Sara
    August 26, 2009

    Thanks so much for this post! I am working on adding reps to my company, and there are a lot of issues addressed here that I never thought of. You are saving me tons of time and heartache, I am sure!

  • Caren
    June 23, 2010

    Hi There,
    The 20 steps are an excellent when thinking of adding reps to represent ones business, so thank you. Some of the things I’ve learned today I would not of think of. We’re about to publish our night wear and accessories line, an online store and will be needing to hire reps in the future.

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