A representative for the manufacturer is much more than just a simple salesperson. Manufacturers representatives actually are independent providers of both sales and services out in the field for both manufacturers and suppliers. Their portfolio generally consists of products which are related but which are not directly competing with each other. They work within a pre-defined geographic area and are under contractual obligation to stay within that region as other regions are serviced by other representatives.
The best thing about representatives who carry and service multiple lines of product is that they can do business with clients who may not be large enough to be serviced with just a single line. For instance, a new tool that has been developed for factories can be sold more quickly as the representative in charge of selling said tool has already established a relationship with the clients who may be interested in the new tool via their purchases of other related tools.
Contrary to popular perception, manufacturer reps are not “middlemen” or distributors who add a cost upon the product so that they make their money. The reps work directly for the manufacturer and are generally paid on a commission basis versus a salary basis. This is the most cost-effective manner in which they may be compensated.
Business history has clearly shown that manufacturers reps that are attracted to the industry are the cream of the crop of their profession. They tend to be able to deliver exactly what the customer needs, especially if that need happens to diverge from what is the standard operating procedure of what the manufacturer does. This is not always the case with standard salespeople as they have been trained to do things one way and one way only.
Manufacturer reps also are able to bring a personal touch to the purchasing process. This is something that the advent of e-commerce simply cannot, and will not ever, deliver. There are many benefits to human interaction in the sales process, including the ability to ask complicated questions or to request certain addendum which cannot be handled in a strictly online environment.