How to Become a Sales Rep | What You Need to Know
Getting a foot in the door of this lucrative industry isn’t as difficult as it seems.
Becoming a Sales Representative
A sales representative sells goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses, government agencies and other organisations. Sales representatives are also referred to as manufacturing sales representatives as they deal directly with industry organisations and government agencies. Sales representatives or ‘sales reps’ are critical to the manufacturers and wholesalers, as they are the ones that promote and market the company’s products for them. The essential traits of sales reps are:
This article explores the requirements needed to become a sales rep and the important aspects of a sales representatives job.
Main Role and Responsibilities
To become a sales professional, you need to understand the main roles and responsibilities of a sales representative. The primary responsibilities and tasks that sales reps do are mentioned below:
Sales reps can deal with nonspecific products such as food, clothing or office supplies; however, other sales reps deal with technical and scientific products, ranging from medical equipment and agricultural goods.
Education and Training Required
To become a sales representative, you do not need any formal training as most companies will provide you with training programs that include how to sell products and teach you about the sales. However, there are a range of short online courses that can benefit your understanding and employability in sales roles. Besides training programs, you may need qualifications if you plan to work in a specialised industry. Furthermore, sales skills are something you can learn, but some people are naturally quicker to pick them up due to their inherent personality traits.
A Bachelor’s degree, Diploma in Business and various other short courses that include subjects such as marketing, sales management, business and psychology are suited best for a sales rep role. Although it is not necessary, completing a Bachelor degree at university can be advantageous when applying for sales representative jobs. Specialised or technical sales reps often require relevant degree knowledge relevant to the product being sold.
Many companies offer on-site training for sales representatives that can last up to one year, depending on the company or organisation. In some traineeships, entry-level sales reps rotate among different roles of sales pres such as sales calls, product pitches, learning product offerings and customer follow-ups. Throughout the training, they gradually assume more responsibility and acquire their territory or clients.
Important Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills and traits are essential to the success of any sales representative. Some of the most critical skills of any prospective sales representatives are listed below:
Customer relationship management programs
As sales representatives deal a lot with people and prospective clients, a strong customer service base is needed. Sales reps must be confident and persuasive when making sales presentations and cold calling potential clients.
Sales reps must also be able to listen to the customer’s needs and concerns before and after the sale to retain clients; therefore, strong communication skills are required. Computer program knowledge and query software also aid in sales representatives efficiency to plan and organise his/her clients.
Note that these skills can be improved over time with practice and only provide guidance to sales representatives to provide a foundation of skills to build on. The job as a sales representative indeed becomes more manageable when these skills are mastered.
Because a sales rep job often involves commission pay, promotion or advancement is usually in the form of an assignment to a more substantial business where commissions are likely to be more significant. Those who possess a competent sales record and leadership ability may advance into higher positions such as:
Some may even start their own independent sales agency.
In New Zealand, according to the careers.gov website, the chances of obtaining a new sales position are better for experienced sales representatives as they have a proven history of sales experience and a strong network of contacts.
To find employment as an entry-level sales representative, is it better to work for a sales company in an entry-level admin role or by undertaking a short course in sales or marketing to further enhance your employability skills in sales-related areas.
The main areas of employment are in sectors such as retail, telecommunications, hospitality and manufacturing. Technical sales representatives usually work in health, agriculture, information technology, business and accounting and manufacturing.
Sales Reps working for small to medium-sized companies typically earn between:
Sales Reps working for large companies typically earn between:
Sales representative maintain a very challenging yet rewarding career. Sales reps are often under pressure to meet sales targets as their income may be directly correlated to their performance. Sales representatives may also spend a lot of time on the road travelling to new or prospective clients.
A career path as a sales representative is a high paced, exciting prospect for entry-level candidates. Short courses are available online to build on your foundation of knowledge to assist you in entering into the sales representative workforce.
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