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Difference between Manufacturers’ Agents, Sales Agents, Commercial Agents and Sales Reps?

What is the difference between Manufacturers’ Agents, Sales Agents, Commercial Agents and Sales Reps?

A Manufacturers’ Agent is a rather old fashioned name (but as it’s our association’s name (the Manufacturers’ Agent’s Association). Many Manufacturers’ Agents now sell for distributors, importers or service providers rather than manufacturers.

A Sales Agent is exactly the same as a Commercial Agent but the term “Commercial Agent” is widely used by lawyers and UK & EU legislatures.

A Sales Rep in the US is the same as a Sales Agent, a self employed Commercial Agent. However, in the UK, the term “Sales Rep” is used exclusively for employed salesmen.

The company employing the Sales Agent is called the Principal in the UK, legally as well as generally, and the Manufacturer or Vendor in the US