This guest-post on outsourcing your work to a local sales-person is by Warren Greeley, writing from Chicago, Illinois.
There is this reoccurring daydream I have of working on my laptop while lounging on a beach somewhere I’ve never been, with white sandy shores and clear-blue water as far as the eye can see.
There is a problem though. I own a business that has a well establish local niche — and it’s my main source of my income.
I had a simple but great idea to fix this problem. This idea was to implement a local sales person to do the selling for me.
In doing so, the burden of pitching my services is taken (mostly) off my shoulders—and—my location becomes less necessary in serving my local niche.
The benefits of hiring a local sales person, then, are great.
- You can benefit from a local niche (or several) regardless of where you are.
- Your business can maintain a higher level of personal (face to face) connection even if you are half way around the world.
- You are more likely to get clients and make sales by adding a personal salesman to the equation. People like talking to a real person more than websites or resumes.
So, with all that in mind, how do you go about finding and hiring the right person for the job?
This can be the most tedious part of your journey. There are plenty of ways to search for this type of worker. But fortunately, you are a web worker, meaning you probably understand a lot of the resources you have.
The best place to look, though, is through your contacts. If you are reaching out to your location of origin you’re likely know a lot of people there. Ask them, get the word out and be proactive about it.
In spite of my efforts elsewhere, I found just asking friends and acquaintances rendered the best results.
Choosing the Right Person
Though this is an unconventional job position (working for a nomadic business owner with no office!), it still needs to be treated professionally.
Some traits to look out for are:
- 1. Ability to work on their own.
- Crazy amount of personal charisma.
- A thirst for a challenge.
- Experience in a similar or complimentary industry.
All four of these will be needed to ensure the candidate is a fit for the position.
The most important trait overall is trustworthiness. This is easier to establish if you find them through personal connections but in any case, be sure to check their references like you would if you were hiring a full-time employee to your office.
Negotiating the Position
As I have already mentioned, this job position is not normal. There will most likely be no office to go to and very little regulation. This holds problems for both you and the sales-person.
They need to trust that the position is worth it and you need to trust they will live up to their end of the bargain (even if you’re relaxing on a beach somewhere).
Because of this uncertainty, there must be some kind of compromise on both sides. You will most likely have to pay out a slightly larger commission to the sales-person because of the risks involved and they will have to understand there will be no base pay. Compensation will be solely from commission.
Working out odds and ends is important too. Be sure they understand if they will or will not be compensated for additional projects in the future with the clients they bring in.
Also, be sure they know how and when they will be paid (including taxation).
Side note: You do not have to treat this person as a full-time employee. By treating them as a free agent working for you there is far less hassle with taxes.
Training the Person
If you chose the right candidate, you will not have to train them in how to sell (nor should you), but you’ll need to provide the basics of your business — and FAQ’s.
When hiring, be sure to explain and provide on paper all of your services, your pricing structure, terminology for your field and anything else you think they would need to talk to potential clients and sound like they know something about your industry.
I even went so far as to recommend some blogs my salesman could read to get a feel for my field.
Some people may need a push in the right direction to get started. Even if they have connections themselves (which they probably will) you should give them a couple of leads to start with so they have an idea of what you are looking for and also so they can get started quickly.
Once they make their first sale they will become more motivated.
Keep in mind that though this is a good way to get work, it should not be your only way. Do not rely completely on the sales person to get you work, especially when they’re just starting out. Remember to pursue the other avenues you use already.
The most important things to remember:
- Use your resources and connections to the fullest to find candidates.
- Trust and enthusiasm are very important in your relationship with your sales person.
- Make sure you give them all the necessary information to do their job. Giving leads and incentives when starting really helps.
- Don’t rely on this as your only source of selling.