Evaluation and general characteristics
On the occasion of the creation of Spanish Sales Agent´s new website, we are proud to start off this new blog to offer you useful insights into the figure of sales agents in general and Spanish sales agents in particular.
We are self-employed and sell on a commission-only basis, which makes us very useful export alternative for small and medium enterprises such as yours.
Now, let´s start with the basics: What is a sales (commercial) agent?
A «Sales Agent» is an independent, self-employed professional who earns a living out of selling someone else´s products or services to a group of companies: his clients.
These clients all belong to the same sector, or at least purchase the same type of product or service which the agents offer.
This is how it looks in a graph:
They all are based on the same geographical area or at least as close to each other by as possible so that traveling is reduced as much as possible.
This is where the term “self-employed” comes into effect: the agents pay for their car, their gas, their meals and their hotels; so they keep their expenses low so that their commissions make up for them later on.
Overall agents try to create synergies: they sell as many complementary products and services to a single client. And then they move on to the next and replicate.
Sales agents are not salaried employees but independent sellers. The companies they represent by selling their products and services are called «Principals» in legal terms.
This business relationship is not ruled by labor laws (you don’t “hire” an agent) but rather specific European agency laws with important national differences.
In all sales agents usually work with several companies (Principals) at the same time, forging a close, mutually fruitful partnership with them.
When approaching sales agents think of it as a B2B collaboration, you´ll be better off and you´ll avoid the big mistakes (covered in upcoming posts)
Rarely do agents dedicate all their efforts exclusively to one single Principal since not only the individual commissions may not be enough to earn a living but it is also putting all of their eggs in one basket.
On the other hand be aware that Principals are important to sales agents but their clients are even more. Keep this in mind too when you first introduce your agency to an agent: you are last in their list!
How do sales agents operate? With some exceptions to the rule, sales agents share some common characteristics:
• They have a portfolio of around 3 to 6 agencies (called “Portfolios”). They can eventually include products and services
• They cover a territory of several Spanish provinces, roughly equivalent to the British counties, so that normally between 5 to 10 are needed to cover the entire Spanish territory.
• They have an established network of clients that share the need to be supplied by the agent´s offer
• They work only on a commission basis, a percentage of the net value of sales
• They do not buy material, nor transport it, deliver it or invoice it. They only sell, which is what generates income in form of commissions. They´ll reject other tasks unless they´re specifically compensated for them. They are not importers nor distributors.
New to sales agents? Do you have any questions or enquiries? We are here to help.