Factsheet – Sales Agent Types : Selling Agents vs. Introducer Agents

Broadly speaking there are 2 types of sales agents: ‘selling’ agents, and ‘introducer’ agents. Both are ‘sales’ agents, and will help you achieve the same ultimate outcome of selling to new customers on a commission-only basis. It’s the level of involvement that differs.

Selling agents

This is most people’s typical expectation of a sales agent. A ‘selling’ sales agent goes out to customers, makes the sale, and actually delivers an order to you for fulfilment.

This level of service demands a ‘normal or full’ level of commission.

Introducer agents

This type of sales agent makes introductions to new customers, and then leaves the sales process at some point prior to closure.

At the most basic, introducer agents will merely identify a potential requirement, and then notify you. You then need to motivate your in-house sales resource to make introductions and go through the entire sales process all the way to closure.

At the more typical level, the introducer agent will identify the opportunity, explain the product and its broad features and benefits to the customer, gain an indication of definite interest, and then effect a personalised introduction between the potential customer and your in-house sales resource.

This lower level of selling normally commands a lesser commission. How much lower depends on how far through the process the agent takes things and therefore your costs in seeing it through to conversion. It is typically around half of the full commission rate.

Under what circumstances to consider offering an introducer opportunity?:

  • Long sales gestation periods / complex buying structures
    • Many sales agents are not well equipped to persist with discussions and negotiations over an extended period, and go through complex and/or formal and/or multiple stage selling processes.
  • Poor fit with other elements of portfolio
    • Consider a scenario where an agent may be selling toys to toy shops, but identifies a need for business utilities such as telecoms in his customers. He may want to take advantage of this opportunity, but doesn’t want to have to learn all about telecoms, or blur his image as a specialist in toy sales. An introducer opportunity for a telecoms provider might be just what he needs, and he will be happy to accept the lower commission rate as it takes very little of his time to make the introduction.
  • Technical and/or complex products / services
    • Many sales agents represent multiple principals, and so you can imagine how difficult it would be to become expert in the entire product/service ranges of several companies if they are highly complex or technical. Again, where the agent perceives an opportunity within his customer base, but wants to avoid having to become a technical expert in a new area, he may prefer the introducer option.

In some situations, you can consider offering 2 separate opportunities to agents to suit their style of operating: to become either a ‘selling’ agent or an ‘introducer’ agent. (This would usually necessitate two different commission rates.)


Did you find this article useful? Learn something new? AgentBase is uniquely experienced in all aspects of UK sales agent recruitment and management. We can assist and advise you at every step. Established in 1993 and equipped with the UK’s largest resource of sales agents we are perfectly placed to help you to recruit a team of self-employed, commission-only, professional sales agents to sell your products and services to new customers in the UK. Contact us now: www.agentbase.co.uk Tel: +44 (0)1926 864200. Email: enquiries@agentbase.co.uk


More articles here

Working with sales agents can be an ideal way to grow a business or launch a new product with minimal costs. Often sales agents are the most cost-effective, quickest and lowest risk route to market. They may also simply be the best strategy when trying to open up new markets, where pre-existing customer relationships are key.

At AgentBase we have extensive experience of sales agent planning, recruitment and management. Call our friendly staff for a chat about your situation and how we can help you to get the most of out of using sales agents.

Want to know more?

Want Some Advice

We provide a range of advisory and consulting services.

Or simply call us now to discuss your requirements, and for a full explanation of our services. One of our experienced consultants will be happy to help:

01926 864200