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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 Sales Specialist
Top Careers After Sales Specialist
Hispanic or Latino11.3%
Black or African American0.6%
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University of Phoenix20.0%
Arizona State University5.8%
Pennsylvania State University5.4%
Michigan State University5.1%
West Virginia University4.9%
University of Central Florida4.3%
University of Houston4.1%
Fashion Institute of Technology4.1%
Southern New Hampshire University4.1%
Ohio State University3.9%
Florida State University3.9%
Western Michigan University3.9%
Florida International University3.7%
Texas State University3.7%
Iowa State University3.7%
Kennesaw State University3.5%
Texas A&M University3.5%
University of Texas at Austin3.5%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Equities Sales Specialist||Investec USA Holdings Corp.||New York, NY||Aug 15, 2016||$190,000|
|Vice President, Solutions Sales Specialist||Jpmorgan Chase & Co||Los Angeles, CA||Feb 04, 2015||$180,000 -
|Data Security Solution Sales Specialist||IBM Corporation||San Francisco, CA||May 20, 2016||$160,001|
|Data Security Solution Sales Specialist||IBM Corporation||San Francisco, CA||Mar 06, 2016||$160,001|
|Consulting Partner-Sales Management Specialist||Amdocs, Inc.||Richardson, TX||May 04, 2015||$160,000|
|Derivatives Business and Sales Specialist||Bloomberg, LP||New York, NY||Sep 01, 2014||$157,000|
|Vice President, Index Sales Specialist, West Coast Asset Management||MSCI Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Oct 07, 2014||$143,562|
|Data Security Solution Sales Specialist||IBM Corporation||San Francisco, CA||May 26, 2016||$142,336 -
|Sales Specialist, Systems||Hewlett-Packard Caribe B.V. (Puerto Rico)||San Juan, PR||Jul 30, 2015||$141,182|
|Licensing Sales Specialist||Microsoft Corporation||New York, NY||Feb 09, 2016||$135,000|
|Solutions Sales Specialist* (Cont'd In H.14)||Microsoft Corporation||New York, NY||Feb 10, 2015||$133,000 -
|Mobility Sales Specialist||Vodafone Us, Inc. D/B/A Vodafone Americas||New York, NY||Jun 05, 2016||$130,437|
|Product Sales Specialist||EMC Corporation||Pleasanton, CA||Feb 01, 2013||$130,000|
|Flexible Films Specialists-National Acct. Sales||Victory Packaging, LP||Houston, TX||Apr 14, 2014||$130,000|
|Solutions Sales Specialist||Microsoft Corporation||Cambridge, MA||Jun 27, 2016||$109,000|
|Systems Sales Specialist||Parker Hannifin Corporation||Cleveland, OH||Dec 14, 2016||$107,723|
|Solution Sales Specialist||Microsoft Corporation||Bellevue, WA||Aug 28, 2014||$107,000|
|Solution Sales Specialist-Smb Coverage or Other||Microsoft Corporation||Redmond, WA||Jan 21, 2016||$107,000 -
|Solution Sales Specialist||Microsoft Corporation||Bellevue, WA||Mar 06, 2016||$107,000|
|Test Center Channel Sales Specialist||NCS Pearson, Inc.||Bloomington, MN||Apr 26, 2016||$105,581|
|Product Sales Specialist||Cisco Systems, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||May 01, 2015||$105,186 -
|Outside Sales Specialist II||Dell Marketing LP||Round Rock, TX||Jun 02, 2014||$105,089|
|Sales Specialist||Siemens Energy, Inc.||Orlando, FL||Apr 14, 2016||$90,976|
|Advisory Sales Specialist||IBM Corporation||Somers, NY||Dec 16, 2014||$90,813|
|Sales Specialist||Ciena Corporation||Miramar, FL||Aug 09, 2016||$90,563|
|System Sales Specialist||Parker Hannifin Corporation||Phoenixville, PA||Aug 06, 2014||$90,000 -
|System Sales Specialist||Parker Hannifin Corporation||Pittsburgh, PA||Aug 01, 2014||$90,000 -
|Project Sales Specialist-IEC Products||Eaton Corporation||NC||Sep 01, 2015||$86,798 -
|Point of Sale Specialist||Ascena Retail Group||Pataskala, OH||Nov 26, 2014||$86,000 -
|Sales Specialist||Thomson Reuters (Markets) LLC||New York, NY||Sep 20, 2013||$84,000|
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