Manufacturer’s reps represent importers, manufacturers, exporters, or any combination of the above. The companies they represent pay them a percentage, usually a percentage of the total order. The reps only get paid when they sell. The importance of reps has been diminished by the Internet era. More-and-more businesses are connecting with manufacturers through the Internet, eliminating the need for expensive reps. Manufacturers’ reps usually represent many companies. They specialize in industries such as gift, building materials, cosmetics, etc. A good rep can help you identify the hottest products, industry trends, and fashionable companies. Through one rep you may be able to connect with many companies, saving you time and legwork. Many reps are doing more than selling. Some reps may train you or your employees the use of the products they sell. They can help you become an expert about the product they sell. Treat them as a resource not just another sales person. Trade shows offer multiple opportunities for you to spot upcoming trends, network with manufacturers, importers, and wholesalers. A trade show can be a great resource for finding the right products for your business. There is a trade show for every industry. If you haven’t found one for you’re your industry, you haven’t looked hard enough. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, are among the most popular destinations for trade shows. The most effective ways to locate the right trade show for you is to check with professional associations, trade publications, and convention centers. Trade shows can connect you with hundreds, or thousands, of potential product sources. Attending a trade show gives you the opportunity to demonstrate you mean business. By being there, you establish yourself as a player in your industry. The attendees commit time and money to participate in trade shows that qualifies them as serious buyers. As you meet with key manufacturers you get a chance to compare prices. Being there in person, you have an opportunity to study product quality. Be ready for sensory overload. Trade shows are fun, but they can be overwhelming. Prior to the show, make a plan and stick to it. Don’t wonder around aimless.