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Distributors sell products and provide services for large companies without becoming traditional employees. There are various kinds of distributors, ranging between independent sales representatives and retail store owners who sell well-known products. Some distributors sell products online for large companies and accept a commission for each sale. Others buy a large amount of the product in bulk and cold-call prospective customers to make sales. There is often an application process involved in becoming an authorized distributor. Applicants may be required to pay a fee.
Decide on the kind of distributor you would like to become. Some distributors work as independent salespersons for large companies. Three companies that are commonly known to offer these agreements are Avon, Amway and Herbalife. You may, however, prefer to distribute a brand-name product in your retail store or on your website. There are thousands of products that may fit this category, including calling cards, food items, nutritional supplements, automotive goods and more.
Research your chosen company’s intake requirements for distributors. This information is usually available on the company’s website. If there isn’t any information available, contact the company’s corporate office and ask for information about how you can become an authorized distributor of their products. Be sure to inquire about eligibility and experience requirements. Take note of the information requested by the company. If necessary, gather items such as your resume, professional references, and tax identification (or Social Security number).
Keep a list of important contact names, phone numbers and email addresses of company contacts who may be able to assist you. If a recruiter or regional manager’s name is available, contact him to introduce yourself. Request a meeting with the recruiter or manager to discuss your goals. Ask about the commission structure, bonuses and any opportunities for profit sharing that may be available.
Obtain an official application to become a distributor. This document may be available for download on the company’s website. There may also be an electronic version of the application that can be submitted online. When the application is complete, submit it via fax, mail or email. It may take several days for the company to review and approve your application.
Pay any applicable application or enrollment fees. The company may require you to submit your payment along with your application. Failure to do so will slow or stop the normal flow of the application process. Wait for official, written confirmation that your application and payment have been processed and that you are authorized to act as a distributor.
Contact the Better Business Bureau to check for complaints against any company you plan to represent.
2016 Salary Information for Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives
Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives earned a median annual salary of $61,270 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives earned a 25th percentile salary of $42,360, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $89,010, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,813,500 people were employed in the U.S. as wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives.
- Contact the Better Business Bureau to check for complaints against any company you plan to represent.
Based in Washington, D.C., Crystal Lewis is a former insurance professional who has been a freelance writer for a variety of online publications since 2009. She holds a bachelor's degree in business and is currently pursuing a master's degree in theology at an East Coast seminary.