When you’re ready to bring on a manufacturer who will represent your line, you need to begin with the right interview questions. First, you’ll probably start over the phone to gage interest and compatibility. The phone questions will probably be your make-or-break questions, those that will fish for the qualifications and requirements you consider to be most important, so you can narrow it down to just a few finalists. Next, you can move to an in-person interview at the representatives’ business to see which manufacturers stand out from the rest. Here are the interview questions you must ask when hiring manufacturers.
Ask About History
How long has your company been in business? Which are your largest lines? Ask about the size of their firm and how they’re structured. What professional associations do they belong to? Ask for references — other customers, principals, and distributors, if applicable.
Ask About Management Styles
What’s their sales philosophy? How do they manage leads? How do they train their staff? And what kind of training do you expect from us? How do you compensate your salespeople? Do you use commission, salary, or a bonus pool? How long have their employees been with the company? And ask how employees report to and communicate with management. Then, find out how you would be expected to communicate important news to them.
Ask About Compatibility
Who are your most important customers? If they’re hesitant to give you names, ask which industries or product categories they’re involved in. Ask which of their product lines are similar to your products. What do they already know about the markets where your products are sold? Do they like your specific product line? What benefits do they see in it? Why do they think they can be successful with it? How will you measure success? Then, ask what else the company does besides sales. Will you be making joint sales calls? If so, how can you work together to make them successful? What other expectations of each other’s companies can you agree upon?
Ask About Plans for Growth
Ask about the company’s business structure. What’s their overall business plan like? What are their website and digital capabilities? Do they have a succession plan? Are they looking to make any big hires or other structural changes that might affect your working relationship? And finally, ask about forecasts for the markets and the industry in general.
At PrideStaff Denver Northwest, our services are designed to match skilled professionals in Denver Northwest with truly rewarding career opportunities. For more tips on how to establish a successful partnership with manufacturing representatives, contact PrideStaff Denver Northwest today.