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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.
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:
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.
The job of a sales representative can be highly variable. Many people are expected to travel, at least locally, and sometimes nationally or internationally.
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.
In our analysis of over 700 unique B2B purchases, we identified seven distinct customer contact profiles.
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.
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 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."
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.
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.