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1453k 1453k
6.4% 6.4%
2.6/5 2.6/5
Bachelors Bachelors

What is a Sales Representative?

Also known as: Sales Agent, Sales Rep, Outside Sales Representative.

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.

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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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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Further Reading

  • The Best Sales Reps Avoid "Talkers" blogs.hbr.org

    In our analysis of over 700 unique B2B purchases, we identified seven distinct customer contact profiles.

  • What Does A Sales Representative Do? www.wisegeek.com

    Any company that creates a product or products may employ a sales representative, a person who represents the company and showcases and sells products. The range of jobs available to the sales representative can vary significantly.

  • Sales Representative: Career Information careerplanning.about.com

    A sales representative may sell products on behalf of a manufacturer or wholesaler, working directly for that company. Alternatively, a sales representative may work for an independent sales agency whose clients are manufacturers and wholesalers. He or she demonstrates those products to customers, showing how the products will increase the customers' sales and decrease their costs.

  • 20 Qualities That Make A Great Salesperson www.businessinsider.com

    The only way to make it in this economy is to be great, because "it's the only thing that pays," according to Grant Cardone, sales expert and author of Sell or Be Sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life. "If you're not going to be great in sales, go get another career, because it's too hard to do if you're not going to succeed," Cardone adds. "Great salespeople are literally the engine of every economy in the world."

  • 8 Must-Have Qualities For Achieving Sales Success www.pbresults.com

    When good salespeople hit a wall — unreturned phone calls, no response to e-mails — they don’t give up easily, but they don’t make pests of themselves, either.

  • The Pharmaceutical Sales Rep Lives To Fight Another Day blogs.wsj.com

    The pharmaceutical industry has shed thousands of sales representatives over the past decade, but drug makers continue to invest in hiring and training, albeit at rates that are only slightly higher than what was seen several years ago.

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