What does a Sales Representative do?

A sales representative, who represents the company and showcases and sells products, can be hired any company that creates a product or products. The variety of jobs available to a sales representative can be quite diverse. For example, if you work as a pharmaceutical sales representative, you must have a strong understanding of science, chemistry, biology, and some medical terms. Salespeople for these companies frequently have a bachelor’s degree in either business or one of the life sciences. Other times, products are more general and can be sold without a four-year degree. You could work as a sales representative for a candy company, a chair company, or a carpet cleaning company, for example.

A sales representative’s job can be quite varied. Many people are expected to travel, at the very least locally and occasionally nationally and internationally. They serve as a link between a company looking to buy a product or service and their own company, which sells the product or service. Some salespeople only work with leads, or people or businesses who have expressed an interest in their products. Others must rely on other strategies, such as cold calling or simply showing up at a potential buyer’s place of business or residence, to pique interest in their products or services.

Sales representatives selling home products or services such as window replacement, carpet cleaning, housecleaning services, or food products, for example, may be seen canvassing neighborhoods in the hopes of finding people who are likely to buy their products. When students go door to door selling cookies or candy, they are essentially acting as sales representatives for their school and the company selling the product. These kids could technically be classified as fundraisers as well, because a portion of the proceeds from their sales will go to their school, and they will not profit personally from their sales.

A representative must have a thorough understanding of the product he or she is selling, and is more successful if he or she is good at talking to people and knows how to use various sales techniques. Companies may insist that the representative learn specific sales techniques, and some even train employees on how to sell their products. Salespeople may also have the authority to make special offers to potential customers who purchase larger quantities of services or products.

The sales representative’s pay rate is highly influenced the market for the product being sold, and reimbursement strategies vary widely. Some sales representatives are paid solely on commission, while others are paid on a draw basis rather than commission, and still others are paid a salary, sometimes with bonuses if they meet certain sales quotas. Working solely on commission can be risky unless a product is in high demand or your sales tactics are exceptional. You could go months without being paid and then make a lot of money in the following months. When your pay fluctuates, you should always set aside a small sum from the more profitable months to help you get through the leaner months.

People who work in retail stores and people who take product or service orders over the phone are both considered sales representatives. You may be referred to a sales representative if you call the phone company to order call waiting for your phone. This person must once again represent their company in order to sell the most goods or services to customers.