What Does a Sales Representative Do

A sales representative is an employee of a company that is engaged in the manufacture of consumer products to showcase and sell them. The degree of knowledge for a sales representative is dependent on the type of product you will be selling. Some require that you have a 4-year undergraduate degree in life sciences and business. Others do not focus that much on educational attainment but rather on the capability to convince consumers and business partners to buy the products and enjoy doing so. Knowledge for such jobs can be gained from company trainings. Compare this to being a sales representative for a pharmaceutical company, which requires knowledge and understanding of medical terms and a background in science, biology and chemistry. Below are some of tasks that sales representatives do.

  1. As a sales representative you have to have knowledge of the industry you are working in to successfully navigate and connect with potential consumers and companies who are willing to try the products that you showcase.
  2. You can either work on leads from your sales network, those that are provided by your company and those that you develop through research and keeping abreast of business news.
  3. You can also employ such selling tactics as cold calling, product demonstrations and promotions or simply go door to door to look for potential clients.
  4. A sales representative should have knowledge of marketing and advertising, too, aside from the thorough knowledge of the products that you sell. You should also be adept at employing different sales tactics for different groups of potential consumers. You also should be aware of the competition and new products that can go hand in hand with what you are selling.
  5. You should have good communication and presentation skills and an innate knowledge of dealing with different kinds of people and situations. You will never know if you will be received favorably when you make a sales call, especially if these are unannounced or did not pass through the proper protocol. You should develop persuasive sales techniques to properly convince potential buyers to listen to your sales pitch and for them to try your product/s.
  6. Successful sales representative enjoy a lot of perks that come with the job. This can involve international travel, free vacations and monetary rewards, numerous company-sponsored lunches and dinners with clients and associates. You may also be entitled to purchase company products at great discounts as well as get additional freebies.
  7. A sales representative can be a full time employee of a company or be a contractual sales representative and receive a commission for every sale that you generate. This will involve your dedication and drive to make more sales as your commission will be based on the amount of sale. For a regular employee, some can gain overriding commissions for every sale made, either per piece or by the bulk. It depends on the structure that is set by the company.
  8. For commissioned sales representatives, expect to work irregular hours. You have the option to set your own working schedule and arrange meetings and presentations as you wish. You may or may not have the power to offer and provide incentives who buys the product in bulk and those with repeat orders.

If you are interested in a career as a sales representative, develop good communication skills, interpersonal relationships and presentation skills. Other knowledge can come in later. Look for products that you truly believe in and products that you will enjoy buying. Developed interest in a product will help you perform better as a sales representative.


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