The inspiration for this article came from a conversation I had the other day with a family member.
This person is looking for employment, primarily in sales. He has responded to several ads and, although he has heard back from a good number of them, none of them have proven to be enticing.
Why, you might ask?
Well, simply put many of these businesses are looking to hire independent salespeople but are not willing to provide enough incentive to make it worthwhile.
Independent salespeople are, by definition, just that – independent. And with this independence does come some responsibility for absorbing your own expenses.
But when a company expects the independent sales rep to absorb all the risk with potentially little to no reward, there is little balance between employer and contractor and little incentive to jump into the deep end.
A truly effective relationship between a company and their independent reps is based on mutual respect, level expectations, and for both parties to be invested in the process.
Independent reps must expect that there will be some risk involved in accepting the role. Each person must be comfortable with the level of risk that they are willing to accept, based on what they expect in terms of results.
While some positions require some level of financial commitment from the independent rep it would be fair to say that all of them require a level of commitment. These reps must be prepared to invest a certain amount of time and energy into any role. The amount of money, time, and effort should be clearly delineated at the time of engagement, and mutually agreed-upon by both the company and the rep.
It is equally important in this equation that the company is invested in their rep. Keep in mind that these individuals are out there representing your business, and if they feel that they are being mishandled or mistreated, is it reasonable to expect that they will give their best and represent your company in the most favorable light?
Businesses must be fair when looking to bring on independent representatives. As a small business owner, I understand the value of hiring independent reps. It is a way of managing expenses while growing your business, when done fairly and properly. But to expect an individual to invest significant cash as well as time and energy, with no support of any kind from the business, creates an uneven playing field and a potentially toxic environment.
Don’t risk your businesses reputation. Be fair to employees and independent contractors alike, and your business will thrive. Take advantage of others at your own risk.
Until next time…
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