How to become a Sales Representative

Sales representatives sell goods and services to industry, business and professional establishments, as well as to wholesale or retail outlets.

Personal requirements of a Sales Representative

  • Enjoy working with people
  • Friendly and confident manner with a pleasant personality
  • Able to work without direct supervision
  • Able to clearly present product and service information
  • Good personal presentation
  • Excellent communication skills

Education & Training for a Sales Representative

You can work as a sales representative without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have relevant sales qualifications. To work as a sales representative in a specialised or technical area, you will usually need to undertake post-secondary study in that area. For example, chemical sales representatives often need tertiary or technical qualifications, plus experience, in fields such as science or engineering to work in industrial chemical sales. As subjects and prerequisites may vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a sales representative through a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require you to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education.

Additional Information

A drivers licence is usually required.

Duties & Tasks of a Sales Representative

Sales representatives: • visit clients to demonstrate use of products, show samples and take orders • arrange a schedule of visits to major potential buyers by contacting people and making appointments • develop and update knowledge of their own products and the products of their competitors • speak with other sales and marketing personnel in their company to determine the best methods of promoting products • establish customers' needs and explain and demonstrate products to them, which may involve providing technical descriptions of products and how they may be used • quote and negotiate prices and credit terms • prepare contracts and record orders • report to employers on sales and provide feedback about the marketing of new or established products • carry out formal presentations of products using videos and other training aids, attend promotional markets and organise product displays • work on telemarketing campaigns • plan and work towards meeting sales targets and budgets • use e-business technology.

Working conditions for a Sales Representative

Sales representatives spend a lot of time travelling from one location to another, including country and interstate locations. Meeting sales targets and budgets can be stressful.

Employment Opportunities for a Sales Representative

Sales representatives are employed by retail, wholesale, insurance and manufacturing organisations, which are usually located in large cities. They may be required to cover city, suburban or country areas, or in some cases, interstate or overseas territories. When taking on a sales position, ensure that you understand the terms of employment. Some jobs are paid on a 'commission only' basis. Other jobs offer a 'guaranteed' income, but this payment may be advanced against future commission earnings and could be reclaimed by the employer when you leave. If you are employed as a subcontractor, you will effectively be in business for yourself, without entitlements to sick pay, annual leave or other benefits.

Avg. weekly wage:

$1,200

Future growth:

Moderate

Employment by state:

ACT ACT 0.4%

NSW NSW 34.7%

NT NT 0.6%

QLD QLD 19.9%

SA SA 2.4%

TAS TAS 2.3%

VIC VIC 31.5%

WA WA 8.1%

Hours worked:

43.6

Unemployment:

Higher unemployment

Gender split:

Male 46.8%

Female 53.2%

Education level:

Not completed Year 10: 1.6%

Not completed Year 12: 8.1%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 25%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 23%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 14.3%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 20.2%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 7.8%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 1.4%

20-24 - 6.9%

25-34 - 19.9%

35-44 - 23.3%

45-54 - 21.1%

55-59 - 14.2%

60-64 - 9.7%

65 and Over - 3.6%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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