GLGA Member Question – Book of Business

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Have you ever hired or considered hiring a sales rep with a book of business? If you did hire the person, was it successful? If not, what made you decide against it?

Years ago I did. It’s a double edged sword. They sell themselves more than the company they work for. Tend to move or leave when a better deal for their book comes along. Gives you a temporary boost to sales.

I primarily only look for someone with a book of business and generally speaking, it’s easy to verify.

We have hired several reps with an existing book of business in the past. Most have worked out. If you cut the amount of business they claim to have in half, you will most likely be closer to amount of business they can move. Some reps tend to inflate their sales, and many clients will choose to stay with the rep’s current firm. If the rep reports a low sales volume and blames the current employer’s pricing, I would run.

We have tried it a couple of times with mixed success. Typically we find that the book of business stays with the printer.

We’ve been down that path without good results. It’s rare for a customer to simply leave their printer to follow a sales rep somewhere else, unless the printer is worth leaving. Don’t underestimate the relationship of the printer as a whole i.e. the CSR, their community support, culture, owners, etc. You may capture “some” of the business, but don’t count on the book of business promise unless the former printer is a well-known problem.

I have and I am always in favor of it. When a sales representative has an existing book of business it gives foundation towards the fact the prospect actually has solid relationships and relevant experience within the industry category you’re searching.

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