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Educational requirements vary, depending on the type of product sold. If the products are not scientific or technical, a high school diploma is generally enough for entry into the occupation. If the products are scientific or technical, sales representatives typically need at least a bachelor's degree.Education
A high school diploma is sufficient for many positions, primarily for selling nontechnical or scientific products. However, those selling scientific and technical products typically must have a bachelor's degree. Scientific and technical products include pharmaceuticals, medical instruments, and industrial equipment. A degree in a field related to the product sold, such as chemistry, biology, or engineering, is often required.
Many sales representatives attend seminars in sales techniques or take courses in marketing, economics, communication, or even a foreign language to improve their ability to make sales.Training
Many companies have formal training programs for beginning wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives that last up to 1 year. In some programs, trainees rotate among jobs in plants and offices to learn all phases of producing, installing, and distributing the product. In others, trainees receive formal technical instruction at the plant, followed by on-the-job training under the supervision of a field sales manager.
New employees may be trained by going along with experienced workers on their sales calls. As they gain familiarity with the firm's products and clients, the new workers gain more responsibility until they eventually get their own territory.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Many in this occupation have either the Certified Professional Manufacturers' Representative (CPMR) certification or the Certified Sales Professional (CSP) certification, both offered by the Manufacturers' Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF). Certification typically involves completing formal technical training and passing an exam. In addition, the CPMR requires 10 hours of continuing education every year in order to maintain certification.Other Experience
Although not required, sales experience can be helpful, particularly for nontechnical positions.Advancement
Frequently, promotion takes the form of an assignment to a larger account or territory, where commissions are likely to be greater. Those who have good sales records and leadership ability may advance to higher level positions, such as sales supervisor, district manager, or vice president of sales. For more information on these positions, see the profile on sales managers.Important Qualities
Customer-service skills. Sales representatives must be able to listen to the customer’s needs and concerns before and after the sale.
Interpersonal skills. Sales representatives must be able to work well with many types of people. They must be able to build good relationships with clients and with other members of the sales team.
Self-confidence. Sales representatives must be confident and persuasive when making sales presentations. In addition, making a call to a potential customer who is not expecting to be contacted, or “cold calling,” requires confidence and composure.
Stamina. Sales representatives are often on their feet for long periods of time and may carry heavy sample products.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Account Representative
Top Careers After Account Representative
Hispanic or Latino10.6%
Black or African American0.6%
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University of Phoenix25.4%
Michigan State University5.3%
University of Alabama4.0%
Southern New Hampshire University3.9%
University of Houston3.8%
University of Tennessee - Knoxville3.8%
Pennsylvania State University3.8%
University of North Texas3.7%
West Virginia University3.6%
Arizona State University3.5%
University of Kansas3.2%
American InterContinental University3.2%
University of Missouri - Columbia3.2%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Toms Account Representative||Bloomberg, LP||New York, NY||Jul 06, 2015||$147,000|
|Toms Account Representative||Bloomberg, LP||New York, NY||Sep 20, 2013||$142,000|
|Account Representative-Principal||Halliburton Energy Services, Inc.||Houston, TX||Jul 18, 2011||$140,000|
|Principal Account Representative||Halliburton Energy Services, Inc.||Houston, TX||Aug 19, 2014||$138,084|
|Account Representative||Siemens Energy, Inc.||Houston, TX||Dec 01, 2014||$124,754|
|Account Representative||Inkling Systems, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||May 10, 2016||$123,000 -
|Account Representative||Inkling Systems, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Jul 13, 2016||$123,000 -
|Technical Account Representative||Oracle America, Inc.||Irvine, CA||Mar 21, 2016||$115,751 -
|Account Representative||Siemens Energy, Inc.||Houston, TX||Jan 04, 2016||$115,116|
|Account Representative||Siemens Energy, Inc.||Houston, TX||Dec 01, 2014||$108,518|
|Toms Account Representative||Bloomberg L.P.||New York, NY||Nov 17, 2014||$107,000 -
|Toms Account Representative||Bloomberg L.P.||New York, NY||Nov 21, 2014||$107,000 -
|Managed Account Representative||Sungard Systems International Inc.||Chicago, IL||Aug 18, 2014||$103,626|
|Account Representative Cop||Baker Hughes Incorporated||Baton Rouge, LA||Aug 16, 2010||$82,742|
|Account Representative Cop||Baker Hughes Incorporated||Baton Rouge, LA||Aug 10, 2010||$82,742|
|Support Account Representative||Duck Creek Technologies, LLC||New Providence, NJ||Sep 26, 2016||$81,200|
|Account Representative III||Siemens Industry, Inc.||Portland, OR||Sep 16, 2015||$80,800|
|Database and Technology Account Representative||Sap America, Inc.||Burlington, MA||Sep 11, 2016||$80,479 -
|Managed Account Representative||Sungard Systems International Inc.||New York, NY||Aug 01, 2015||$80,000|
|Pts/Ptd GMI Managed Account Representative||Sungard Systems International Inc.||Chicago, IL||Jul 23, 2012||$78,000|
|Account Representative||Medscribe, L.L.C.||Sterling, VA||Jan 20, 2012||$59,999|
|Account Representative||Siemens Industry, Inc.||Durham, NC||Jul 01, 2011||$59,000|
|Account Representative||New York Seikatsu Press, Inc.||New York, NY||Nov 04, 2014||$57,762|
|Account Representative, Partner Relationships, SOU||American Cancer Society, Inc.||Doral, FL||Aug 17, 2013||$56,555|
|MIS Analyst-Account Representative Senior||Compliance Engineering Service, Inc.||Fremont, CA||Oct 01, 2012||$55,430|
|MCS-Account Representative II||Compliance Engineering Service, Inc.||Fremont, CA||Jul 01, 2010||$54,104|
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