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Become A Merchandising Representative

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Working As A Merchandising Representative

  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $50,939

    Average Salary

What Does A Merchandising 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 A Merchandising 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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Merchandising Representative jobs

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Merchandising Representative Career Paths

Merchandising Representative
Territory Sales Representative Account Manager Purchasing Manager
Category Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Driver Branch Manager Director Of Sales
Director, National Accounts
12 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager General Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Brand Ambassador Marketing Manager National Account Manager
Enterprise Account Manager
9 Yearsyrs
District Manager Operations Manager General Manager
Food Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Sales Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Recruiter Inside Sales Representative
Inside Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Office Manager Account Manager
Key Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Driver Fleet Manager Regional Sales Manager
National Accounts Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
District Manager District Sales Manager Regional Sales Manager
National Sales Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Service Representative Account Manager Sales Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Business Owner Outside Sales Representative
Outside Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Brand Ambassador Product Specialist District Sales Manager
Regional Business Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Retail Sales Merchandiser Retail Supervisor Operations Manager
Sales And Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Account Executive
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Retail Sales Merchandiser Sales/Marketing Sales Manager
Senior Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales/Marketing Sales Consultant Territory Manager
Senior Territory Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Territory Sales Representative Territory Manager Account Manager
Territory Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Service Representative Account Executive
Territory Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales/Marketing Sales Manager
Territory Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Merchandising Representative Demographics

Gender

Female

53.2%

Male

45.2%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

79.2%

Hispanic or Latino

11.8%

Asian

6.8%

Unknown

1.7%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

49.0%

French

10.2%

Russian

8.2%

Portuguese

4.1%

Gujarati

4.1%

Urdu

4.1%

Hindi

4.1%

Swedish

2.0%

Belarusian

2.0%

Chinese

2.0%

German

2.0%

Georgian

2.0%

Ukrainian

2.0%

Polish

2.0%

Italian

2.0%
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Merchandising Representative Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

13.3%

University of Pittsburgh -

7.6%

Ball State University

7.6%

University of Florida

5.7%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.8%

Northern Illinois University

4.8%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

4.8%

Kaplan University

4.8%

Texas A&M University

4.8%

Ohio University -

3.8%

University of South Florida

3.8%

Ferris State University

3.8%

Southeastern Louisiana University

3.8%

Ohio State University

3.8%

University of Central Oklahoma

3.8%

Nassau Community College

3.8%

Florida State University

3.8%

Georgia Perimeter College

3.8%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.8%

Washington State University

3.8%
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Majors

Business

32.8%

Marketing

10.4%

Management

6.1%

Communication

6.1%

Criminal Justice

4.7%

Psychology

4.2%

General Studies

4.0%

Accounting

4.0%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

3.7%

Computer Science

3.5%

Health Care Administration

3.4%

Kinesiology

2.7%

Sociology

2.0%

Liberal Arts

1.9%

Elementary Education

1.9%

English

1.9%

Computer Information Systems

1.9%

Medical Assisting Services

1.7%

History

1.7%

Fine Arts

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.5%

Other

29.5%

Associate

15.2%

Masters

7.9%

Certificate

4.7%

Diploma

1.3%

Doctorate

0.5%

License

0.4%
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Top Skills for A Merchandising Representative

ProductPlacementMerchandiseDisplaysPlanogramIntegrityCustomerServiceTerritoryPlan-O-GramsStoreManagementDepotRetailStoresStorePersonnelWal-MartPurchaseProductLinesProductKnowledgeIncreaseSalesGroceryStoresInventoryControlNewItemsProductDisplaysSetup

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Top Merchandising Representative Skills

  1. Product Placement
  2. Merchandise Displays
  3. Planogram Integrity
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided creative support to major retailers to increase visibility in underlying key areas of product placement to maximizing sales.
  • Traveled to hardware stores throughout the United States to reset merchandise displays in retail electrical departments * Prepared displays
  • Verify inventory and planogram integrity.
  • Recognized for excellent sales and customer service performance within the greater Quad City area.
  • Travel to different accounts in my territory.

Top Merchandising Representative Employers

Merchandising Representative Videos

US Merchandising Opportunities at Kellogg Company

Merchandiser Job Description

UK & Ireland - A Day in the Life of a Sales Executive

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