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Become An Area Sales Representative

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Working As An Area Sales Representative

  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $58,553

    Average Salary

What Does An Area Sales Representative Do

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. They contact customers, explain product features, answer any questions that their customers may have, and negotiate prices.

Duties

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives typically do the following:

  • Identify prospective customers by using business directories, following leads from existing clients, and attending trade shows and conferences
  • Contact new and existing customers to discuss their needs and explain how specific products and services can meet these needs
  • Help customers select products to meet customers' needs, product specifications, and regulations
  • Emphasize product features that will meet customers' needs and exhibit product capabilities and limitations
  • Answer customers' questions about prices, availability, and product uses
  • Negotiate prices and terms of sale and service agreements
  • Prepare sales contracts and submit orders for processing
  • Collaborate with colleagues to exchange information, such as selling strategies and marketing information
  • Follow up with customers to make sure they are satisfied with their purchases and to answer any questions or concerns

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives—sometimes called manufacturers’ representatives or manufacturers’ agents—generally work for manufacturers or wholesalers. Some work for a single organization, while others represent several companies and sell a range of products.

Rather than selling goods directly to consumers, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives deal with businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. For more information about people who sell directly to consumers, see the profile on retail sales workers.

Some wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives deal with nonscientific products such as food, office supplies, and clothing. Other representatives specialize in technical and scientific products, ranging from agricultural and mechanical equipment to computer and pharmaceutical goods. For more information about people who specialize in sales of technical products and services, see the profile on sales engineers.

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives who lack expertise about a given product frequently team with a technical expert. In this arrangement, the technical expert—sometimes a sales engineer—attends the sales presentation to explain the product and answer questions or concerns. The sales representative makes the initial contact with customers, introduces the company's product, and obtains final agreement from the potential buyer.

By working with a technical expert, the representative is able to spend more time maintaining and soliciting accounts and less time needing to gain technical knowledge.

After the sale, representatives may make follow-up visits to ensure that equipment is functioning properly and may even help train customers' employees to operate and maintain new equipment.

Those selling consumer goods often suggest how and where merchandise should be displayed. When working with retailers, they may help arrange promotional programs, store displays, and advertising.

In addition to selling products, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives analyze sales statistics, prepare reports, and handle administrative duties such as filing expense accounts, scheduling appointments, and making travel plans.

Staying up-to-date on new products and the changing needs of customers is important. Sales representatives accomplish this in a variety of ways, including attending trade shows at which new products and technologies are showcased. They attend conferences and conventions to meet other sales representatives and clients and to discuss new product developments. They also read about new and existing products and monitor the sales, prices, and products of their competitors.

The following are examples of types of wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives:

Inside sales representatives work mostly in offices while making sales. Frequently, they are responsible for getting new clients by “cold calling” various organizations, which means they call potential customers who are not expecting to be contacted in order to establish an initial contact. They also take incoming calls from customers who are interested in their product, and process paperwork to complete the sale.

Outside sales representatives spend much of their time traveling to and visiting with current clients and prospective buyers. During a sales call, they discuss the client's needs and suggest how they can meet those needs with merchandise or services. They may show samples or catalogs that describe items their company provides, and they may inform customers about prices, availability, and ways in which their products can save money and boost productivity. Because many sales representatives sell several complementary products made by different manufacturers, they may take a broad approach to their customers' businesses. For example, sales representatives may help install new equipment and train employees in its use.

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How To Become An Area Sales Representative

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.

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Area Sales Representative Videos

how to get into pharmaceutical sales

A Day in the Life of a Sales Rep

Life in the Day of a Rotech Sales Rep

Area Sales Representative Jobs

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Area Sales Representative Career Paths

Area Sales Representative
Sales Specialist National Account Manager Channel Manager/Sales Manager
Channel Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Director Of Sales
Director Of Sales & Business Development
12 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Sales Specialist Warehouse Manager
Director, Inside Sales
6 Yearsyrs
Account Manager National Account Manager
Director, National Accounts
12 Yearsyrs
Territory Sales Manager Regional Sales Manager National Account Manager
Enterprise Account Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Business Development Manager Marketing Consultant Sales And Marketing Manager
International Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Territory Manager Account Manager
Major Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Sales Manager Regional Sales Manager
National Sales Director
11 Yearsyrs
Territory Sales Manager Area Manager Outside Sales Representative
Outside Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Regional Sales Manager Market Manager Regional Manager
Regional Business Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Regional Sales Manager
Regional Sales And Marketing Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Territory Manager
Sales Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Specialist Operations Manager Outside Sales Representative
Sales Representative And Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Sales Representative Sales Team Leader Inside Sales Manager
Sales Support Manager
6 Yearsyrs
District Sales Manager General Manager Account Executive
Senior Sales Executive
8 Yearsyrs
District Sales Manager Sales Manager
Senior Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Territory Manager
Senior Territory Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Director Of Sales Sales Vice President
Senior Vice President, Sales
14 Yearsyrs
Territory Manager Territory Sales Manager Account Manager
Territory Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Regional Sales Manager General Manager Territory Manager
Territory Business Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Area Sales Representative
Manager 4.3%
Owner 3.8%
Internship 3.6%
Top Careers After Area Sales Representative
Owner 3.9%
Manager 3.0%

Do you work as an Area Sales Representative?

Area Sales Representative Demographics

Gender

Male

63.6%

Female

34.2%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

64.8%

Hispanic or Latino

14.3%

Black or African American

11.6%

Asian

5.8%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

41.6%

French

9.1%

Italian

5.2%

Chinese

5.2%

German

5.2%

Japanese

5.2%

Korean

3.9%

Portuguese

3.9%

Romanian

2.6%

Carrier

2.6%

Irish

2.6%

Arabic

2.6%

Cherokee

1.3%

Lakota

1.3%

Dutch

1.3%

Mandarin

1.3%

Sanskrit

1.3%

Hungarian

1.3%

Ukrainian

1.3%

Russian

1.3%
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Area Sales Representative Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.0%

Michigan State University

6.8%

Auburn University

6.2%

Florida State University

4.9%

Western Michigan University

4.9%

University of Florida

4.3%

Texas A&M University

4.3%

West Virginia University

4.3%

San Diego State University

4.3%

University of Central Florida

4.3%

University of Georgia

4.3%

University of Memphis

4.3%

University of North Texas

4.3%

Iowa State University

4.3%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.7%

University of Cincinnati

3.7%

Ohio State University

3.7%

Troy University

3.7%

University of Connecticut

3.7%

University of Kentucky

3.7%
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Majors

Business

33.9%

Marketing

10.8%

Communication

6.3%

Management

6.1%

Education

4.2%

Finance

4.1%

Psychology

4.0%

Criminal Justice

3.6%

Political Science

3.4%

Economics

3.0%

Accounting

2.9%

Kinesiology

2.5%

Elementary Education

2.2%

General Sales

2.1%

General Studies

2.0%

History

2.0%

Liberal Arts

1.7%

English

1.7%

Public Relations

1.7%

Agricultural Business

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

52.1%

Other

23.2%

Masters

12.5%

Associate

8.0%

Certificate

2.4%

Doctorate

1.1%

License

0.5%

Diploma

0.3%
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Area Sales Representative Videos

how to get into pharmaceutical sales

A Day in the Life of a Sales Rep

Life in the Day of a Rotech Sales Rep

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Top Skills for An Area Sales Representative

  1. Product Line
  2. Territory Sales
  3. New Accounts
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed new marketing piece designed to effectively highlight and deliver company's product line.
  • Increased territory sales by 233% within a 14 month period.
  • Upload orders daily, work with customer service and account specialists on establishing new accounts and collecting from customers when needed.
  • Demonstrated sales building success in depressed economy through down-store plan development and execution, customer service program design and implementation.
  • Increased gross sales of 30% with new clients and the reactivation of many previous dormant accounts.

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Top Area Sales Representative Employers

Jobs From Top Area Sales Representative Employers

Area Sales Representative Videos

how to get into pharmaceutical sales

A Day in the Life of a Sales Rep

Life in the Day of a Rotech Sales Rep

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