Agents and distributors play a vital role in sales. Though the terms are used interchangebly often - there lies distinct differences in their roles and responsibilitirs. Let us understand their roles and also differences in services
AGENTS: Agents are responsible for promoting products and securing orders. The orders are passed on to manufacuring companies for supply. Agents are familiar with markets, potential customers, local custom and opportunities. They leverage these strengths to connect with customers and secure order on behalf of manufacturer. Agents are only responsible for selling the products - they are not directly connected with manufacturing company. Often, an agent may work for multiple companies. They do not buy the products directly from the companies. The agents are not involved in the delivery or after sales services. The agents have a fixed commission for their work.
DISTRIBUTORS: Now talking about distributors, they have a direct connection with the company. Unlike the agents, distributors buy the product directly from the company and distribute it in the market. Moreover, distributors also provide after sales services, which the agents do not provide.
While an agent can be called the company’s representative, a distributor cannot be called so, as he buys the product and then resells it. Agents can be direct employees of the companies or self-employed. On the other hand, distributors are not employed.
An agent is responsible for finding the target people and negotiating with them to buy the product. Though the agent has these duties vested on them, they do not have the final word regarding sales; the last word is that of the company. Well, this principle is not applicable to distributors, as they do not have any role in negotiating with the customers; they only perform the role of distributing the product in the market.
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