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What Is a Sales Representative and How to Become One

Sales Representative

What Do Sales Representatives Do?

A sales representative sells retail goods, products, and services to customers. They work with customers to provide them with what they want or need. They find sales leads through business directories, visiting clients, client referrals, and cold calling. Sales representatives may be under a great deal of pressure because they have sales quotas to meet that can directly impact their income.

What Is a Sales Representative Job Description?

Sales representatives cultivate client relationships to sell goods and services. They network to find clients through in-person visits, client referrals, and cold calling. Once the sales representative has established a client list, they determine what the clients need and tries to sell them the product or service that best fits that need. Sales representatives often have a minimum sales quota they need to meet each month, and will often receive bonuses for exceptional sales efforts.

Can Sales Representatives Work From Home?

Sales representatives can and often do work from home. The position depends on the company and the industry. Many sales representative positions require a lot of travel, so companies may allow the sales representative to keep a home office.

What Are the Skills for a Sales Representative?

Each sales role is different, which means that a sales rep has to possess a slightly different skill set, catering to the product or service they are selling. For example, a technical salesperson might be expected to relay specialized technical knowledge into terms that are both appealing and understandable. An ad sales representative may work for a publisher; they need to be creative and be able to design advertisements for clients. Employers may favor candidates with sales experience. But all sales representatives must be friendly, confident, self-motivated, possess strong negotiation skills, and be able to communicate with a wide variety of people.

Sales Representative Job Description Sample

With this Sales Representative job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Sales Representative role.

Job Summary

The sales representative (or sales rep) is responsible for overseeing the sale of products or services from beginning to end. This individual is the direct point of contact with a customer and in charge of ensuring a customer's needs and expectations are met. A sales representative should know their product or service inside and out and guide their customers through the purchase process efficiently and satisfactorily.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Acquires new customers by reaching out to leads
  • Researches customer's individual or business purchase needs
  • Serves existing customers by optimizing current purchase plan
  • Adjusts sales tactics based on tests and new insights in the field
  • Resolves customer complaints and queries
  • Submits purchase orders
  • Informs management of purchase actions
  • Maintains monthly or bi-monthly minimum goals
  • Completes market research and monitors competitor activity
  • Makes recommendations for the customer
  • Maintains documentation of customer contact and account updates

Requirements and Qualifications

  • High school diploma
  • Bachelor's degree (ideal but not required)
  • Additional certifications and other professional development experience
  • 1+ year of sales experience
  • Customer service and people skills
  • Phone, email, and chat communication skills
  • Prospecting skills
  • Territory management aptitude
  • Persuasion, negotiation, and closing skills
  • Ability to meet deadlines and financial goal minimums
  • Patience to deal with customer issues and calls that do not end in a sale
  • Motivation skills and a positive attitude