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1099, not the year of the Siege of Jerusalem during the First Crusade but independent sales reps that call on your store on a daily basis. The definition of 1099 by the IRS standard is an independent contractor that works on employment that is not salaried income.

For our industry, that means on commission. Many of my friends are commission sales reps, but we all know the past few years; the economic climate has affected all of us. But now more so on the traveling salesman! I’ve talked to too many of my friends and the story is all the same. One has told me he is down 65% in sales this year alone. To put this in easy terms, a rep making $100,000, three years ago is now making $45,000, or less. I know this does not affect the retailer as they go about selling inventory, buying gold and selling beads. But it does affect the salesmen who are not getting restock orders due to slow times for new inventory and stock replacement. What is a rep to do?

In a recent story, a retailer was unhappy that the sale rep opened another account in the same small town. The retailer was very upset! But we must look at the situation for the rep. He must feed is family and pay his mortgage. With his current retailer not buying stock, he must look for other outlets. It’s no different than an animal scrounging for food to feed him and his young when the current area no longer provides a food source. He must look elsewhere! This is no different for a rep. He must find the business to survive. If his current account is not going to support him, should he continue to support the retailer?

A rep told me after getting a third of what he wrote last year, he would continue to support the store and not look to open a new account in the area since he got something, and was much appreciated. But for those who have not written a single dime this year, what is a rep to do? He must find a new food source.

These are difficult times and your sales rep must take desperate measures tofeed his family. Don’t expect the rep to support you if you’re not going to support the rep.

In the year 1099, Tancred accompanied the match to Jerusalem, partly out of faith but to find further opportunities for his family. Today is no different.

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