Sales Representative in the United States

Overview by

Commercial Intermediaries

Trading Companies
  • Type of Organization
A typical trading companies is more market-orientated and transactions driven. They usually act as an independent distributor creating transactions by linking domestic producers and foreign buyers.
As opposed to represent a specific manufacturer brand in a foreign market, the ETC determines what U.S. products are desired in a specific market and then work with U.S. producers to supply it.
  • Main Actors
Wal-Mart Stores; Exxon Mobil; General Motors; Chevron; Hewlett-Packard ; Ford Motor; Home Depot.
  • Type of Organization
According to the United Nations Statistics Division, "Wholesale" is the resale (sale without transformation) of new and used goods to retailers, to industrial, commercial, institutional or professional users, or to other wholesalers, or involves acting as an agent or broker in buying merchandise for, or selling merchandise to, such persons or companies
  • Main Actors
Cargill; Agricore United; Byrne Dairy; HD Supply Hasson Hardware; Hughes Supply.
Useful Resources
Search engine to find wholesalers
Search engine to find wholesalers

Using a Commercial Agent

The Advantages
The more realistic marketing strategy for a small or medium-sized firm.
Import agents are often appointed as sole agents for the entire country.
Where to Be Vigilant
This approach requires great care in the selection of the representative.
Don’t try to use a list of importers as a basis for “cold calls” on prospective agents. It is important to build a personal relationship. Contact first, the US International Trade Association for advice and recommendations for a specific agent.
Elements of Motivation
Exclusivity, a limited term of representation, minimum sales, or qualitative indicators of sales efforts, Frequent communication per fax, mail, phone
The Average Amount of Commission
From 5 to 10% for regular business transactions, and from 10 to 20% for occasional transactions
Breach of Contract
Article 1 (General Provisions) and Article 2 (Sales)
Finding a Commercial Agent
International Trade Association
Find Sales and Distribution Service Providers in the United States on

Setting Up a Commercial Unit

The Advantages
Although still costly, establishing a presence and an office in the US is necessary when your are considering a long-term sales development. As a long term investment, it costs you less than to use a commercial agent.
Where to Be Vigilant
It should be consider in long-term sales development
Different Possible Forms of Settlement
  • A Representative Office
Such an office can obtain market data and other information and provide necessary promotional and service support.
  • A Branch Office
A branch office may take and fill orders and carry out a full marketing program, including advertising, recruiting a sales force, and performing promotional activities.
  • A Company
Setting up a wholly-owned corporation will involve more time and expense, but it can offer effective means guaranteeing better protection for proprietary information, obtaining credit, and penetrating markets.


Evolution of the Sector
6000 franchise companies operate in the U.S. 75 industries use franchising to distribute goods and services to consumers. Franchising is responsible for 760,000 businesses, 14% of the private sector employment. Franchise businesses account for almost 50% of all retail sales in the United States. Franchise businesses employ more than 8.6 million Americans.
Some Big Franchises
Mc Donald's, fast food
UPS Store, shipping
7-Eleven Inc., iced coffee
RE/MAX Int'l. Inc., real estate
InterContinental Hotels Group
For Further Information
IFA, International Franchise Association

Finding Assistance

Export Trading Companies
Export Trading Company Affairs , US Chamber of commerce
Find more on about Selling to the United States.

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