What is a Sales Representative?
Table of Contents
A sales representative is someone who showcases and sells a product or products to businesses, organizations and government agencies, rather than selling directly to consumers. Sales representatives are critical to the manufacturers and wholesalers, as they are the ones that promote and market the merchandise for them.
There are quite a variety of jobs available for sales representatives, as the product/s one is selling could range from soft drinks, candy or office equipment to pharmaceutical supplies. Each product requires an excellent understanding of the product, and sales representatives are expected to attend conferences and trade shows in order to keep up with products and customer needs.
How to Become a Sales Representative
What does a Sales Representative do?
A sales representative sells retail products, goods, and services to customers. They work with customers to find out what they want, create solutions and ensure a smooth sales process. They will also work to find new sales leads through "cold calling", business directories, client referrals, or visiting new or existing clients. Sales representatives may be under considerable pressure to meet sales quotas, and their income may be directly dependent on their work performance.
Skills needed by a sales representative:
- Customer Service Skills: Sales representatives need to be able speak in a friendly manner to customers and potential customers, listening to what they need, and helping communicate options that may be of benefit to them and their situation.
- Communication Skills: Sales representatives need to describe to customers a product's different features, answer any questions they might have, and communicate why having the product would be of benefit to them.
- Flexibility: Sales representative may have to work long hours, nights, or weekends, therefore being flexible with their schedule is key to succeeding in this career.
- Persistence: Sales representative don't make every sale, and at times a customer can be rude or disrespectful. Being able to bounce back, have a positive attitude, and continue forward is important in this type of work.
A sales representative definitely requires extensive product knowledge of whatever he or she is selling, and is more successful when skilled at talking to people and experienced at various sales tactics. At some companies, sales representatives are required to learn specific sales tactics, and will even train employees on the way they want their products sold.
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How to become a Sales Representative
Individuals who plan to sell technical or scientific products will often need a bachelor's degree, typically in a field that is relevant to the products they sell. A high school diploma is satisfactory for many non-technical sales representative positions. To improve their selling ability, an aspiring sales representative can take courses in economics, communications and marketing.
Most all companies have training programs for new sales representatives that can last up to a year. Individuals will learn the full product line or services offered by their employer, as well as the company's client base. During on-the-job training, the trainee may go on sales calls with an experienced sales representative, and can gradually assume more responsibility and eventually acquire their own territory or clients.
What is the workplace of a Sales Representative like?
The job of a sales representative can be highly variable. Many people are expected to travel, at least locally, and sometimes nationally or internationally.
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