Selling Overseas? How to Find and Hire a Perfect Sales Rep for Your Business
This is a guest post by Michelle Arios.
Importing and exporting can rarely be a lone wolf operation. You’re going to need boots on the ground in other countries, unless you plan to spend the majority of your life flying back and forth and trying to work from a plane. You need a great sales rep who is either located in the country where you’re trying to sell or comfortable traveling back and forth when the job calls for it.
This hiring process is a little different than the process you would utilize to hire a run of the mill office assistant. You have some special considerations to make.
Networking for Candidates
Hiring someone in the United States who is willing to travel is relatively easy – networking and job posting work the same as they would for any other position. You might already have a few people in mind for the job of a traveling rep, and if that’s the case, all you need to focus on is creating the perfect job description and interviewing the candidates. If you want to hire a remote sales rep, you’re going to need to use the internet to find where they live.
Start looking at job boards in different countries. Expand your social media presence to interact with people in different countries. This is easiest with English speaking countries, although you’re still likely to find English speaking candidates anywhere in the world. It’s the most common second language, which is great news for you if you only speak one language. It might help to brush up on your knowledge of other languages in order to bridge some gaps.
Check Communication Styles
Your ability to communicate with your sales rep is crucial. You’re empowering this person. You’re counting on them for a lot, and if you aren’t on the same page, things can backfire quite quickly.
Of course you want to hire someone who is qualified to do the work, but you also want to hire someone with a similar philosophy to yours. If you can’t find a person with a similar philosophy, you should be looking for someone who is highly adaptable and receptive to your ideas.
Since this person will be working overseas, you’ll also need to establish a preferred platform and method of communication. Make sure you can easily talk to this person and have directions and ideas received before you hire them. Absolute trust and confidence are a must for people who are representing your business from afar.
Hiring in The United States
If you want to hire someone locally to do your bidding abroad, you’re looking for the perfect road warrior. You need to decide whether you want this person to be an independent sales rep or a member of your team.
If you’re hiring someone close to your office to travel for you, it may be worthwhile permanently onboarding them as a full-fledged employee. These people will be vital to the growth of your import/export business, and it helps to permanently retain a few great travelers.
If you want to hire a sales rep overseas, you’ll want to approach the situation differently. Every country has different regulations for employment, as well as different tax codes. If you don’t currently have the resources to expand and comply with them, you might want to hire overseas employees as independent contractors. They’ll be responsible for abiding by the tax codes and regulations that they’re already familiar with, leaving one less thing hanging over your head.
Business cultures can significantly vary from border to border, so make sure you’ve thoroughly researched the customs and formalities necessary to maintain a functional relationship with a representative living in a different country. For example, China is relatively easy to import or export with, but their business practices are different from those of the United States. You might have to compromise on a few things and be a little more accommodating of different work styles and communication methods.
Remember that developing a booming business in a different country takes some time – you can’t expect your sales rep to come out swinging and change the world overnight. Patience, frequent communication, and a strong foundation of trust are necessary for a successful relationship with your sales rep.
About the author:
Michelle Arios is a Project Manager from Australia, currently supporting online business databases like Aubiz. Working for numerous clients, both domestic and international, has taught Michelle the importance of having a motivated and professional team, the idea that she advocates in her blog posts and discussions.