Vector representatives market Cutco products. They are responsible for scheduling their own appointments, conducting presentations, writing up orders, generating referrals, and turning in weekly reports.
First, I’m going to share a video of a typical day for a Vector Marketing sales rep. This video was taken from Cutco’s Corporate YouTube Channel. Then, below I’ll give you the basic facts about each element of the position and explain what it’s really like:
Scheduling appointments involves a representative contacting a potential customer in order to schedule a time to present Cutco products. Reps typically schedule their first appointments with people that they know – family, friends, neighbors, etc. When I started I’d estimate that I did somewhere between 20-25 presentations with people that I knew before I began to branch off into seeing people that I had been recommended to.
Reps schedule appointments by making phone calls to people they know or have been recommended to.
What’s it really like:
This is the hardest part of the position. First, it takes a little bit of courage to pick up the phone and call someone, even when the person you’re calling is someone you know well. Second, it’s not always easy to reach people, and when you do reach and talk to people sometimes they’re not available when you’re hoping to see them or in some cases they’re simply not interested in seeing you. While Vector representatives never need to cold call people – they’re always contacting either someone they know personally or someone they’ve been personally recommended to – it’s a widely acknowledged fact among successful Vector reps that telephone calling is the most challenging part of the position.
While it helps to have a large network, I never found it overly difficult to get more leads. With social media, connecting and communicating with people even outside your circle makes things easier than when I was a rep. Knowing how to talk and communicate in business is extremely vital and this is one of the best skills you can develop as a Vector rep.
On the flip side, my experience with Vector managers is that they’re well trained, and since they all started as sales reps themselves, they are individuals who’ve had success and know how to teach others to be successful. What I found is that over time I was able to become fairly effective and comfortable with the phone calling element of the position, and my success was largely a function of the training and attention that I received from my manager.
Conducting the presentation
A typical Cutco presentation will take anywhere from 45 to 75 minutes. The presentation begins with the representative visiting with the potential customer. After several minutes of chit chat the representative will show the prospective customer several pieces of Cutco, explain how to use the product, what makes the product different and better, and give the customer an opportunity to try out a few of the knives. There are several cutting demonstrations in particular that are quite compelling and that serve to help the prospect see the quality of Cutco products. After completing the presentation, representatives will explain ordering options and ask the prospective customer if they would like to make a purchase.
What’s it really like:
The actual presentations were a blast. Right from the beginning, when I’d cut a penny in half with the shears, I always knew that what I had to show them was going to be better than what they owned. One of the realities of selling Cutco is the simple fact that there’s nothing else like it on the market. I did presentations with individuals who owned the high end imported cutlery brands that my manager told me about in training, and those “competitor” products never matched up to the performance of Cutco. The performance of the product, the way in which the products are guaranteed, and the enthusiastic response that I would receive whenever I crossed paths with a Cutco owner who had been using the products for 20 or 30 years or more – those were the things that I was most proud of when I was a representative.
Learning the presentation was fairly easy – there was an adequate amount of time devoted to it in the initial training, and by the time I had done my first few presentations with people that I knew, I pretty much had it down pat.
Some of the best reps in the office that I worked out of would make sales on about 80% of their appointments. Others would make sales 20-30% of the time. And of course there were some people who didn’t sell anything at all. Usually the reason for that is because they gave up after just a few days – in my opinion before they really gave it a fair shot.
Sales isn’t for everyone, and it takes commitment and dedication to succeed. This doesn’t just go for Vector, but for any sales or marketing job. Some people have it naturally, some people can develop it, and some people will try and just give up. But there was definitely a trend with some reps in my area where the harder working ones had better success. If I had to guess I’d say that somewhere around half of the people I showed the product to purchased something, which is a pretty good rate. I can’t say that you will have the same success, but if you put in the work and improve your craft, then you’re very likely to have the same success, if not better. And even if you don’t have a high level of success as a Vector rep, at least you come out with better sales skills than you did before, so you’ve really got nothing to lose.
When a customer places an order the representative fills out an order form which is submitted to the company. The order is shipped directly from the factory in Olean, New York, to the customer. The representative is not responsible for delivering products to the customer.
What’s it really like:
Nothing much to add here. Order writing was taught in the training program. The price list itself was a little intimidating at first because of the quantity of items offered, but I was able to fairly rapidly become familiar with where everything was on the price list.
Representatives are responsible for generating their own referrals. They typically begin with people that they know – family, friends, parents, etc – who they feel most comfortable getting started with. At the end of every presentation, the representative will ask their customer for referrals. Because the representatives receive a base pay whether or not they make a sale, many people who might otherwise be uncomfortable giving referrals find it easier to do so. Although representatives begin with people with whom they are very familiar, the expectation is that they will soon move on to individuals that they’ve been referred to.
What’s it really like:
This is the one part of the position that I was originally concerned about. Would people be comfortable recommending me to their friends? Initially my dad had also expressed skepticism over whether people would be willing to recommend me to others. The way it turned out for me is that most people I showed Cutco, after they had seen the quality of the products during the presentation and had developed an understanding that I would treat their friends with the same courtesy and respect that I had extended to them, were willing to give referrals. On most presentations I would receive 5-10 referrals, regardless of whether that individual had made a purchase or not. I found that even when someone didn’t make a purchase, they often were willing to give referrals. However, that’s not to imply that everyone gave referrals, because there were the occasional people who just had a philosophical objection to the whole idea. I never kept track, but I’d guess that at least one out of every ten people I saw just weren’t comfortable giving any.
It’s completely understandable, as reputations are important and not everyone is comfortable putting their reputation on the line, no matter how good a product is. That to me was no big deal – I just took it as a normal course of doing business, and I was getting enough from everyone else to keep myself busy anyway.
My tip is to let the quality of the Cutco products sell themselves. Get pushy and you’ll make your potential customer uncomfortable. The more comfortable they are with you, the higher the chances they will give you referrals.
When representatives do a presentation, they are required to keep track of it on a qualified presentation report form. This ensures the office is aware of how many presentations a representative has completed, which is necessary to figure out how much the representative has earned on their base pay. If the representative does not turn in their presentation report form there is then no way for the office to track how many presentations they have actually done.
In addition, representatives turn in their orders to their local office on at least a weekly basis.
What’s it really like:
No one likes doing paperwork, but this is how you will get paid for giving presentations. It’s simple and the process is taught during training.