The life of an independent sales agent can be truly rewarding if done successfully. You can create your own work schedule, choose the products you sell and the clients you target, and ultimately become your own boss. There is a certain amount of freedom that comes with becoming an agent which, for a lot of people, is tempting. But before you quit your day job, so to speak, you should know that the best independent sales agents have specific qualities. To make sure this path is right for you, try asking yourself the following questions.
Do you want to work independently?
Chances are, if you're thinking of becoming a sales agent, you already know the answer is yes, but it's still important to think about. When you become a sales agent how you spend each day is entirely up to you; you choose when to start the day, whether you'll work from home or rent an office, and who you'll work with, among other decisions.
That all sounds great, but they are not the only ways in which sales agents work independently. Like freelancers in any other industry, independent sales agents do a lot more than just sell. They're also fully responsible for their own marketing, office and equipment, finances, and more. You also don't get benefits or other similar perks as a freelancer. You won't be guaranteed a steady income either, as you do by earning a salary; if you have a slow month for sales, that will directly affect your monthly income.
It can be difficult to keep track of everything by yourself, but it's certainly manageable—and, if you thrive in independent work environments, you might find this to be the best arrangement of all! But if you tend to prefer group work, or you like having a regular paycheque, this will be something to keep in mind.
What are you passionate about?
Have you ever come across a sales representative who sounded bored out of their minds when speaking to you? Chances are that you didn't buy anything from them, and that's because you could tell that the rep couldn't care less about what they were selling. And if a sales rep doesn't care about their own product, then why should the customer?
One of the biggest perks of being an independent sales agent is that you can choose which companies to represent and which products to sell. Use that freedom to your advantage! Before you become a sales agent, consider the industries you are most passionate about and the types of products or services you would be most interested in selling. Find companies near you within the industries you're interested in and try to figure out how many opportunities you'll have. Having an idea of which industries you want to target ahead of time will make your job much easier later on.
Do you already have an industry network?
Most agents already have extensive sales experience and an industry network to back it up. But just how extensive is that network? Take a look at your LinkedIn and the business cards you've collected over the years. Are your contacts already focused on the industries you're interested in, or will you need to branch out a little more to accommodate your career change? Are you close to your current contacts, or will you need to reach out and reconnect with a number of people? Networking is essential for any salesperson, freelancers especially, but this process can be made a lot easier if you already have a solid network of industry contacts to work with.
Do you have a tried-and-true sales process?
When working as a sales rep for a specific company, you'll often need to stick to that company's playbook. Sure, you may be able to apply some of your favorite methods to said playbook, but the point is that in-house sales reps are given a concrete sales process and approach on which to build everything else. Sales agents don't get that; you'll have to build your own sales process from scratch.
If you've been in the sales world for a while, chances are you already have an idea on how you want to approach your sales process. You've experimented with popular techniques enough to know what works for you and what doesn't. But if not, try researching some of the most popular sales methods before you start freelancing. Think about processes you've used for past employers and ask yourself, "Would I change this if I could and if so, how would I change it?" It's important to create your own playbook of sorts and be comfortable with it before you become a freelance sales agent.
So, you still want to become a sales agent?
If you've asked yourself all these questions, know the answers, and know that becoming an agent is right for you, then congratulations! You've just taken the first step to pursuing an excellent career. In that case, why not become a SimplyCast agent under our new Agent Program? We offer a generous commission rate for your services along with a number of other perks, including official SimplyCast certification and the support of the full SimplyCast team to help you every step of the way.
For more information, contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.