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Become A Sales Professional

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Working As A Sales Professional

  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $64,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Sales Professional 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 Sales Professional

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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Sales Professional Career Paths

Sales Professional
Account Executive Account Manager
Director, Inside Sales
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Sales Manager Account Manager
Strategic Accounts Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Territory Manager
Senior Territory Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Specialist Account Manager Regional Sales Manager
National Sales Director
11 Yearsyrs
Sales Specialist Sales Manager
Branch Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Sales Specialist Senior Sales Representative Senior Account Executive
Senior Sales Executive
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Person Consultant Regional Sales Manager
National Accounts Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Person Loan Officer Senior Account Executive
Major Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Person Sales Supervisor Regional Sales Manager
Business Development Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Specialist Senior Sales Representative Director Of Sales
Director Of Sales & Business Development
12 Yearsyrs
Specialist Senior Sales Representative Territory Manager
Territory Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Sales Leader District Sales Manager
Regional Business Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Consultant Store Manager District Sales Manager
Market Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Consultant General Manager Territory Manager
Territory Business Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Inside Sales Representative Business Developer National Account Manager
Enterprise Account Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Customer Service Manager Inside Sales Manager
Inside Sales Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Buyer Customer Service Manager Inside Sales Manager
Outside Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Specialty Sales Representative Territory Sales Representative Territory Sales Manager
Sales Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Specialty Sales Representative Territory Sales Representative Key Account Manager
Account Development Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Inside Sales Representative Business Developer Business Development Sales Manager
Consulting Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Sales Professional 3.0 years
Sales Trainer 3.0 years
Sales Specialist 2.5 years
Sales Consultant 2.2 years
Sales Trainee 1.1 years
Sales Internship 0.5 years
Top Careers Before Sales Professional
Cashier 5.4%
Manager 4.2%
Internship 3.9%
Server 2.8%
Owner 2.3%
Top Careers After Sales Professional
Manager 4.0%
Owner 3.3%
Cashier 2.9%
Server 2.7%

Do you work as a Sales Professional?

Average Yearly Salary
$64,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$33,000
Min 10%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$126,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
The Federal Savings Bank
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
2.8 years
How much does a Sales Professional make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Sales Professional in the United States is $64,672 per year or $31 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $33,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $126,000.

Real Sales Professional Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Solution Sales Professional, Pdw-Epg Core Account Coverage or Other Microsoft Corporation Iselin, NJ Mar 02, 2016 $130,000 -
$150,000
PDW Solution Sales Professional Microsoft Corporation Reston, VA Jan 20, 2014 $130,000
Solution Sales Professional Microsoft Corporation San Francisco, CA Aug 13, 2015 $120,000
Solution Sales Professional Digital Marketing Plat Microsoft Corporation New York, NY Jan 17, 2011 $119,520
Scientific Support & Technical Sales Professional Select-Arc, Inc. Fort Loramie, OH Sep 22, 2011 $108,000
Solution Sales Professional Microsoft Corporation Edina, MN Aug 19, 2015 $107,000
Solution Sales Professional Microsoft Corporation Irvine, CA Aug 24, 2015 $107,000
Solution Sales Professional Microsoft Corporation Chicago, IL Aug 06, 2015 $107,000
Solution Sales Professional Microsoft Corporation Bellevue, WA Aug 16, 2015 $107,000
Solution Sales Professional Microsoft Corporation Edina, MN Aug 05, 2015 $107,000
Solution Sales Professional Microsoft Corporation Chicago, IL Jul 24, 2013 $105,000
Solution Sales Professional Microsoft Corporation Chicago, IL Aug 01, 2013 $105,000
Solution Sales Professional Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jul 08, 2013 $105,000
Solution Sales Professional Microsoft Corporation Overland Park, KS Aug 05, 2015 $100,000
Solution Sales Professional Microsoft Corporation Houston, TX Jun 29, 2016 $100,000
Solution Sales Professional Microsoft Corporation Charlotte, NC Aug 05, 2014 $100,000
Technical Sales Professional IBM Corporation Coppell, TX Aug 14, 2015 $99,564 -
$154,546
MS Online Solution Sales Professional Microsoft Corporation Alpharetta, GA Dec 18, 2009 $90,003
Sales Professional Igate Technologies, Inc. Bridgewater, NJ Aug 31, 2016 $88,504
Sales Professional Capgemini America, Inc. Bridgewater, NJ Nov 17, 2016 $88,504
Sales Professional Igate Technologies, Inc. Bridgewater, NJ Nov 25, 2015 $87,922
Sales Professional Igate Technologies, Inc. Bridgewater, NJ Feb 12, 2015 $87,922
Sales Professional Igate Technologies, Inc. Bridgewater, NJ Jul 12, 2015 $87,922
Sales Professional Igate Technologies, Inc. Bridgewater, NJ Aug 12, 2015 $87,922
Sales Professional Igate Technologies, Inc. Bridgewater, NJ Oct 12, 2015 $87,922
Sales Professional Igate Technologies, Inc. Bridgewater, NJ Dec 17, 2015 $87,922
Sales Professional Igate Technologies, Inc. Bridgewater, NJ Dec 16, 2015 $87,922
Sales Professional Igate Technologies, Inc. Bridgewater, NJ Nov 02, 2016 $87,922

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Top Skills for A Sales Professional

  1. Customer Service
  2. Sales Goals
  3. Product Knowledge
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided superior customer service to persons with a variety of cultural, educational and occupational and economic backgrounds.
  • Help the company maintain its sales goals of 600 RGU s (revenue generating unit) or higher per month.
  • Manage and develop ongoing customer relationships by applying consultative selling techniques and product knowledge to all customer interactions.
  • Developed strong relationships with physicians and staff (including general/family practitioners, internal medicine specialists, pediatricians, and allergists).
  • Planned and conducted sales calls to Cardiologists, Neurologists, Endocrinologists, Internal Medicine, primary care physicians, and pharmacists.

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Top 10 Best States for Sales Professionals

  1. Rhode Island
  2. South Dakota
  3. Minnesota
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Michigan
  6. New Jersey
  7. North Dakota
  8. Colorado
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Massachusetts
  • (440 jobs)
  • (428 jobs)
  • (2,589 jobs)
  • (754 jobs)
  • (2,768 jobs)
  • (3,335 jobs)
  • (483 jobs)
  • (2,526 jobs)
  • (4,648 jobs)
  • (2,767 jobs)

Sales Professional Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 19,789 Sales Professional resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Sales Professional Resume

View Resume Examples

Sales Professional Demographics

Gender

Male

57.9%

Female

33.4%

Unknown

8.7%
Ethnicity

White

62.7%

Hispanic or Latino

15.6%

Black or African American

11.6%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.7%

French

7.2%

Portuguese

5.0%

Italian

4.4%

German

3.6%

Chinese

3.4%

Arabic

3.1%

Mandarin

3.0%

Cantonese

2.0%

Japanese

2.0%

Korean

1.7%

Russian

1.6%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Polish

0.9%

Hindi

0.6%

Ukrainian

0.6%

Armenian

0.6%

Hebrew

0.5%

Carrier

0.5%

Hungarian

0.3%
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Sales Professional Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

20.9%

University of Central Florida

5.5%

Pennsylvania State University

5.5%

Fashion Institute of Technology

4.8%

Arizona State University

4.7%

Texas A&M University

4.7%

Michigan State University

4.4%

Florida State University

4.4%

Texas Tech University

4.3%

Florida International University

4.2%

Liberty University

4.2%

University of Houston

4.1%

University of Alabama

3.8%

Strayer University

3.6%

University of Arizona

3.5%

Kaplan University

3.5%

University of South Florida

3.5%

Georgia State University

3.5%

Ohio State University

3.4%

Purdue University

3.4%
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Majors

Business

34.7%

Marketing

9.9%

Communication

6.4%

Psychology

5.6%

Management

5.5%

Criminal Justice

3.7%

Finance

3.7%

Accounting

3.0%

General Studies

2.9%

Political Science

2.7%

Kinesiology

2.6%

Biology

2.5%

Education

2.3%

Liberal Arts

2.3%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

2.3%

Graphic Design

2.2%

General Sales

2.0%

English

2.0%

Public Relations

1.9%

Nursing

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

48.9%

Other

24.7%

Associate

10.8%

Masters

10.2%

Certificate

2.9%

Diploma

1.0%

License

0.8%

Doctorate

0.7%
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How Would You Rate Working As a Sales Professional?

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