Easy Indirect Sales Methods
Many small businesses and start ups are choosing indirect sales methods over traditional, direct sales methods to get products to market. I can only assume this is due to less costs, and less effort not being direct with the customer. Or maybe you’re just not a sales person, I could see that too!
Another good reason is distribution, it may be easier for you to reach a few select resellers, than to execute a marketing strategy. After all, marketing strategies require a team in place, funds, and a direct distribution channel.
Many Entrepreneurs and small businesses that choose indirect sales methods have software of other innovative products. Businesses such as these are more developed in the product positioning, and may be unsure of their market position.
Whatever your reason for choosing indirect sales methods over direct, here are some easy indirect sales methods to get you started:
Indirect Sales Method: Resellers
Resellers usually purchase products from you at a discount, and are allowed to sell them for their own profit margin. An example of this may be a tax accountant reselling incorporation services. Resellers usually already have direct sales methods in place (such as a location based business, or an established customer base).
My favorite example: Wholesaling companies use indirect sales methods exclusively; they package their products and offer bulk discounts to resellers (retail stores) that have a location based business.
Indirect Sales Method: Affiliates
If you’re distribution channel is only direct sales methods through affiliates, you may want to rethink this one. Affiliates are meant to be an “added” indirect distribution channel, and should be combined with direct sales methods. This is usually used to boost sales, rather than meant to be a stand alone method.
Affiliates usually sale & prospect for the product, but do not actually close the deal themselves. Many blog owners work with affiliates, writing page long articles “wooing” the product. This is called “product reviews”.
If you’re looking to sale through affiliates, a good way to gain momentum is to begin with a high commission to the seller. Some companies offer commission well above what they receive in profit. The purpose of this is to create the initial “buzz”, then drop the commission rate once the product gains popularity.
To help bloggers sell your products, offer great incentives, as well as sexy ads. I can’t stress the importance enough of sexy ads! What blogger wants to put an ugly cheap feeling ad on their site? You’ll turn affiliates away if you don’t look professional. I strictly use Shareasale.com, as well as many fellow bloggers. Reason being, there’s a higher quality of products here, and a better network of affiliates.
Indirect Sales Method: Sales Outsourcing
And of course there’s always the option of saying “screw it all”, and just outsourcing it to sales consultants. The negative is you might pay a higher commission, but 90% of the work is done for you. They find the prospects, close the deal, and you provide the products.
Keep in mind, the key to any indirect sales methods are knowing what is right for your start up and products. A number of factors go into this, as I said before. It depends on the cost of your product, and how hard it is to reach your customer at your current position. Don’t be afraid to use a combination of direct and indirect sales methods.