5 Tips to Getting Started With Sales Reps for Your Print Shop

Business Lessons

You are most likely the best salesperson in your company. You know your entire product catalog, you can price quickly, know what your shop is capable of printing, and understand what it takes to create a successful job and happy customer. 

But you've been doing this all while running your business, and you know you want to dedicate more time to sales because sales fuel your business.

You finish your day and ask yourself how the heck are you going to keep selling, as you grow, and get busier. What gives?!

It might be to the point where you are ready to hire a sales rep. It is a big step for you, handing off the torch to someone else to go call on other groups, companies, and organizations to sell to. 

Let's break it down! 

Sales Reps Don't Have to Be Full Time

Paying a competitive salary, and offering commission might be very tough and might strain you when you are looking for that first sales rep. You can hire a part-time employee or someone looking to make extra money on the side. When they are first starting out, you might not even have to pay a base salary if they have other forms of income.  Let them work to a full-time job. 

They Need to Have a Strong Network

It's not about what you know, it's about who you know. Try and find sales people that are popular. Yes, it is a popularity contest. If your salesperson knows the community, has strong ties and is very involved, they will become a walking, talking salesperson. Added bonus: give them $200 of free samples to wear so they really live it and love it. 

Hire for Attitude Train for Skill

Your first salesperson does not need to know about decorating, screenprinting, or embroidery. They need to be hungry and willing to learn. There is a lot of money to be made in selling apparel. Have them pull a squeegee and push white ink on a black garment. Teach them to roll banners and cut backing on embroidery so they know what it takes to produce quality items. Thrive on their work ethic, effort and attitude. 

Pay Them Based on Gross Profits

Ah, the million dollar question: how do you pay your sales reps. Your salespeople need to be invested in making the business money. That means not only selling hard but selling smart. They need to be selling items that make you money so you need to teach them about profit. Give them a percentage of the gross profits (sales cost - the cost of goods sold) and a margin that they can shoot for. 

This industry is always negotiating so make sure you measure that percentage and track it religiously. Get them excited about selling for competitive pricing that makes everyone happy.

Get them selling nicer items that have higher margins, like jackets and quarter zips, rather than pens and lanyards. Show them some love on a few orders that go really well and double their commission. Likewise, when they sell something they shouldn't sell, that is where you let them know that is not how you run your business. 

Over time they will bring in enough where that margin does not affect you. Careful, making a salesperson for contract printing can really cut into your profit so don't bend on those prices. 

Track, Teach, Inspire

These three golden rules are the keys to sales management. In every interaction with your salespeople, you need to be checking up on their past orders, sales stats, measuring margins, and analyzing leads. We call that tracking or looking at historical data to hold them accountable and better help them. 

Teaching them is skill transfer- Star Wars Jedi style. You need to spend time practicing their initial call, role-playing in-person meetings, and teaching them about the industry. Tom Brady plays 16 games but practices close to 300 days in the year. Practice makes your sales reps more confident and stronger. 

The last key is often most overlooked or forgotten. Inspiration. Sales are tough. It has highs and lows. Some days you are feeling it, some days you cant catch a break. Make sure you are feeding your sales reps motivational juice that is constantly fueling them. Don't forget this part. Whether it is sending them to conferences, using books for motivation, or having weekly meetings do not forget to inspire them!

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About Printavo

Printavo is simple shop management software. Whether your shop works with screen printing, embroidery, signage, digital printing, or awards & engraving–we make your complex workflow simpler to manage and understand. Printavo keeps your shop organized by handling scheduling, estimates, quote approvals, workflow, payments, accounting and more. With Printavo, you’ll work smarter–not harder.

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