Preparing to sell

Sales agents and distributors


You can use a sales agent to act on your behalf. Although an agent may arrange a sale, the sale contract will be between you and the customer. An agent may be either an employee or self-employed. For further information see using a sales agent.

A distributor is a customer of yours who sells your products/services on to their own customers.

Benefits of using sales agents and distributors for your business

One advantage of using a sales agent or distributor is immediate access to target markets. This may be especially helpful for small to medium-sized businesses. This approach is cost-effective. It avoids the need to recruit and keep an in-house sales team and cuts operational expenses, reducing risks.

Sales agents and distributors have local market knowledge and established relationships, both of which are important for entering new and international markets.

Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of using commercial agents.

Factors to consider for agent or distributor partnerships

Before deciding to partner with an agent or distributor, you should consider various factors. They will determine if the partnership is beneficial for your business. For example:

  • access to your target market
  • how they will fit in with your existing operation
  • rights and responsibilities
  • sales process - how involved do you want to be
  • customer relationship - how close do you want to be with customers

Selling to agents and distributors

You will need to base your sales pitch on what you can offer the sales agent or distributor. Convince them that it will be worth their while to represent or stock your product or service. For example:

  • easy to sell your product or service
  • potential profit from sales
  • boost their business - how your product fits with their existing range
  • service and logistics - reliable supply and quality of products/services

For further information see our guide on how to sell through a commercial agent.