Independent Sales Reps, Manufacturers Representative Industry Overview

Sales in the United States

Manufacturers Representatives in the United States sold $54.4 billion in retail sales in 2020, a 1.3% increase from 2019. RepResearch is pleased to announce we’ve refined data collection since last year to better separate direct sellers from customers.

Growth & Outlook Report

This new research from our growth & outlook report shows there were 6.2 thousand direct manufacturers representative sellers and 36.6 thousand customers during 2020. We are expecting a 2%+ growth in representatives in 2021 and strong retail sales.

The Future of Retail

According to a research study commissioned by Euclid Analytics, the next generation shoppers desire for a brick and mortar store remains intact. Gen Z still prefers to shop in a store versus online. However, they want retailers to understand that technology must drive the shopping experience.

They are not asking for robots to assist them, but still they want knowledgeable sales professionals. In fact, the study showed that Gen Zers are more likely to seek out a salesperson in the store than Millennials.

The problem is that most salespeople they come in contact with are anything but knowledgeable and professional. So they have to turn to Google and social media for advice. So while they do want technology at the center, they do not want it to replace people.

Gen Z still wants a brick and mortar store, but more than ever they want an experience. And if they do not get an experience that exceeds their expectations, they will move on. When asked what they would do if the store they loved closed, the majority said they would find another store, not go online. It’s clear they desire an in-store shopping experience. But that experience is going to have technology as the hub. Technology will be the new employee.

Manufactures Representatives & Sales Professionals

The representatives and sales professionals interviewed and surveyed are kept anonymous

By The Numbers

From our latest Growth & Outlook Report, we have surveyed over 500 independent sales representatives and manufacturers representatives.

What Reps Value

What do sales reps seek in a new brand?

Brand Reputation
Sales History
Industry Opportunity
Sales Incentives

Average Number of Products Represented

Under 25

Average Years of Experience in Industry

Black / African American
American Indian

Average Annual Sales

Personal Care
Clothing & Leisure

Sales Representatives

Roles & Responsibilities include:

  • Selling products and services using solid arguments to prospective customers
  • Performing cost-benefit analyses of existing and potential customers
  • Maintaining positive business relationships to ensure future sales
  • Present, promote and sell products/services using solid arguments to existing and prospective customers
  • Perform cost-benefit and needs analysis of existing/potential customers to meet their needs
  • Establish, develop and maintain positive business and customer relationships
  • Reach out to customer leads through cold calling
  • Expedite the resolution of customer problems and complaints to maximize satisfaction
  • Achieve agreed upon sales targets and outcomes within schedule
  • Coordinate sales effort with team members and other departments
  • Analyze the territory/market’s potential, track sales and status reports
  • Supply management with reports on customer needs, problems, interests, competitive activities, and potential for new products and services.
  • Keep abreast of best practices and promotional trends
  • Continuously improve through feedback

Job Description:

A results-driven sales representative actively seeks out and engages with customer prospects. Your job will be to provide appropriate solutions for every customer in order to boost top-line revenue growth, customer acquisition levels and profitability.

Job Requirements:

  • Proven work experience as a sales representative
  • Excellent knowledge of MS Office
  • Familiarity with BRM and CRM practices along with ability to build productive business professional relationships
  • Highly motivated and target driven with a proven track record in sales
  • Excellent selling, communication and negotiation skills
  • Prioritizing, time management and organizational skills
  • Ability to create and deliver presentations tailored to the audience needs
  • Relationship management skills and openness to feedback
  • BS/BA degree or equivalent

What Does a Sales Representative Do?

Sales representatives typically give presentations, demonstrate, sell products or services and negoitiate terms with potential buyers.

Direct Selling: A business model that provides entrepreneurial opportunities to individuals as independent contractors to market and/or sell products and services, typically outside of a fixed retail establishment, through one-to-one selling, in-home product demonstrations or online. Compensation is ultimately based on sales and may be earned based on personal sales and/or the sales of others in their sales team.
Direct sellers: A business full time (30 or more hours/week) or part-time (fewer than 30 hours/week) and sell products/services to consumers and may sponsor people to join their team.
Discount buyers: Eligible to purchase, sell, & sponsor, but are product lovers, only purchasing products /services they personally enjoy and use at a discount.
Preferred Customers: Have signed a preferred customer agreement with a direct selling company where they may be eligible to pay wholesales prices for products/services. They are not eligible to sell products/services to others, and they are not eligible to earn.

Note: Figures above may not sum to 100% due to rounding