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.

Sales representatives are the liaison between their product and potential buyers, therefore excellent communication and written skills are essential. Travel is an expected part of the job, whether it be on a local, national or international level.

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Further Reading

  • The Best Sales Reps Avoid "Talkers"

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

  • The Pharmaceutical Sales Rep Lives To Fight Another Day

    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.

  • 8 Must-Have Qualities For Achieving Sales Success

    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.

  • 20 Qualities That Make A Great Salesperson

    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."

  • Sales Representative: Career Information

    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.

  • What Does A Sales Representative Do?

    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.

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