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As the sole point of contact, sales representatives are responsible for all business matters when it comes to their clients. They ensure the right products are delivered, follow customer leads, and pitch prospective customers.

Probably the most important aspect of a sales representative's job is closing on sales. That's what keeps the business running and your paycheck coming. There are some times when you'll have to deal with tough situations, like customer complaints, and you'll have to know how to fix the situation.

The majority of sales representatives spend about 47 hours a week at work. From travel time to breaks and interacting with customers, you've got some long days ahead. Although, it's not a bad gig, especially since you only need a high school diploma. The majority of your education in your career will come from on-the-job training - nothing beats hands-on experience.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a sales representative. For example, did you know that they make an average of $27.34 an hour? That's $56,861 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 2% and produce 35,400 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Sales Representative Do

There are certain skills that many sales representatives have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed customer-service skills, interpersonal skills and physical stamina.

Learn more about what a Sales Representative does

How To Become a Sales Representative

Have you ever been approached by someone that tried to sell you a product? Maybe they came to your workplace to present a new line of computers or cutting edge printers, or they tried to sell cleaning products to your small business. Those are sales representatives. They are part of a business's marketing team, and their job is to sell as many products as possible. Sales reps have a reputation for being hard workers because the job requires perseverance. The job involves meeting frequent sales targets because payment is based on commission. Sales reps also have to be ready to move and make a sale at the client's convenience. But for all the difficulties, the career is gratifying. Because it's commission-based, there's no cap on how much sales reps can earn monthly. The job also has perks because sales reps set their own hours and may even have access to an expense account.

What Kind of Education does a Sales Representative Need?

The educational background of sales reps is very diverse. Organizations often prioritize sales experience and competence when hiring for this role, so the specific background may vary. However, it's helpful to have a bachelor's degree in a related field like accounting, business management, or economics. Studying marketing, consumer behavior, and business can help a lot. A major in your product's field may also be an advantage, for example, studying computer science when you sell computer solutions.

Sales Representative Certifications

Certifications may not be necessary for landing a sales rep position, but they can certainly help. You can get these from professional organizations in your state of practice. These organizations may also issue licenses and membership rights to you. Other certifications in sales training, customer service, and marketing may also be helpful. They add to your resume and can demonstrate your proficiency to potential employers. Finally, certifications may also help to climb the career ladder or switch to new roles. For example, certificates in human resource management or project management can show employers that you're capable of leading a team of sales reps.

Sales Representative Licenses

You don't need a practicing license to become a sales rep, even though some organizations offer them. The Manufacturer's Representatives Education Research Foundation provides licenses for sales reps, and it can give you a career edge. Since licensing isn't a common phenomenon, it may be what you need to get ahead.

Experience Needed to be a Sales Representative

Any experience in sales can set you up to become a sales rep. Although, experience working for corporations reflects better than personal ones like trying to sell custom-built PCs to make money. Also, having prior experience in the product field can go a long way. A great example is working in a pharmacy before applying for a job as a pharmaceutical sales rep. The field can be highly demanding, so any job that demonstrates you can handle the challenge will impress potential employers.

Sales Representative Career Paths

Average Salary for a Sales Representative

Sales Representatives in America make an average salary of $56,861 per year or $27 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $90,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $35,000 per year.
Average Sales Representative Salary
$56,861 Yearly
$27.34 hourly
$35,000
10 %
$56,000
Median
$90,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Sales Representative Education

Sales Representative Majors

32.6 %

Sales Representative Degrees

Bachelors

53.7 %

High School Diploma

20.1 %

Associate

15.6 %

Top Colleges for Sales Representatives

1. SUNY College of Technology at Alfred

Alfred, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,570
Enrollment
3,721

2. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

3. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

4. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

5. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,309
Enrollment
9,142

6. Baylor University

Waco, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$45,542
Enrollment
14,159

7. Ball State University

Muncie, IN • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,896
Enrollment
15,529

8. University of Wisconsin - Madison

Madison, WI • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,555
Enrollment
30,360

9. SUNY College of Technology at Delhi

Delhi, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,360
Enrollment
3,142

10. Bentley University

Waltham, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,880
Enrollment
4,177

Top Skills For a Sales Representative

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 18.4% of sales representatives listed communication on their resume, but soft skills such as customer-service skills and interpersonal skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Sales Representative Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Sales Representative templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Sales Representative resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Sales Representative Demographics

Sales Representative Gender Distribution

Male
Male
58%
Female
Female
42%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among sales representatives, 41.9% of them are women, while 58.1% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among sales representatives is White, which makes up 76.1% of all sales representatives.

  • The most common foreign language among sales representatives is Spanish at 65.1%.

Online Courses For Sales Representative That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Pre-sales Skills: Prospecting, Lead Generation, Qualifying
udemy
4.4
(270)

Lead Generation and pre-sales skills: Learn lead generation, introducing yourself & qualifying your lead in 3 hours...

Sales Training Pro: The Complete Sales Presentation Course
udemy
4.7
(255)

Practical, Hands-on Sales Techniques and Tools to Effortlessly Engage your Customers In Your Sales Presentations...

Sales Fire: B2B Sales & Business Development for Startups
udemy
4.3
(533)

The Ultimate Sales Methodology for Business Development & B2B Sales to Learn Sales Strategy, Sales Skills & Deal Closing...

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Best States For a Sales Representative

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a sales representative. The best states for people in this position are Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Sales representatives make the most in Massachusetts with an average salary of $72,766. Whereas in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, they would average $71,869 and $66,655, respectively. While sales representatives would only make an average of $65,372 in Connecticut, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Pennsylvania

Total Sales Representative Jobs:
3,836
Highest 10% Earn:
$108,000
Location Quotient:
1.32 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New Jersey

Total Sales Representative Jobs:
2,922
Highest 10% Earn:
$116,000
Location Quotient:
1.47 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Massachusetts

Total Sales Representative Jobs:
2,371
Highest 10% Earn:
$119,000
Location Quotient:
1.03 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Sales Representatives

How Do Sales Representative Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

5.0

SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVEOctober 2019

5.0

Zippia Official LogoSENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVEOctober 2019

What do you like the most about working as Sales Representative?

MEETING NEW PEOPLE, AND HELPING TO SOLVE THERE PROBLEMS Show More

What do you NOT like?

NOT BEING PAID ENOUGH. Show More

Zippia Official Logo

4.0

SalesJuly 2019

4.0

Zippia Official LogoSalesJuly 2019

What do you like the most about working as Sales Representative?

Working with people and being in different places. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Slow season when sales are down Show More

Zippia Official Logo

5.0

Sales PersonnelMay 2019

5.0

Zippia Official LogoSales PersonnelMay 2019

What do you like the most about working as Sales Representative?

I like online and offline sales. Show More

What do you NOT like?

When the product is not available but in demand by customers Show More

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Top Sales Representative Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ sales representatives and discovered their number of sales representative opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that T-Mobile US was the best, especially with an average salary of $41,209. AT&T; follows up with an average salary of $45,949, and then comes Cutco with an average of $49,761. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a sales representative. The employers include Theodore'S Inc., Deutsch LA, and Supernus Pharmaceuticals

Most Common Employers For Sales Representative

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Cintas$76,413$36.742,271
2Best Buy$76,015$36.552,087
3JCPenney$74,997$36.06955
4Liberty Mutual Insurance$63,898$30.721,020
5Target$63,378$30.471,460
6Walmart$59,490$28.601,487
7Victoria's Secret$56,861$27.34888
8RadioShack$56,666$27.241,526
9Dillard's$50,637$24.34786
10Cutco$49,761$23.922,935

Sales Representative Videos

Becoming a Sales Representative FAQs

How long does it take to become a Sales Representative?

It takes 3 years of professional experience to become a sales representative. That is the time it takes to learn specific sales representative skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education. If you include the normal education requirements to complete a college degree, then it takes 6 to 8 years years to become a sales representative.

Do you need a degree to be a sales representative?

No, you do not need a degree to work as a sales representative. If you prefer not to go the college route, there are still job opportunities for you as a sales representative.

In fact, almost 17% of sales representatives have only a high school diploma. That's not to say that a college degree will not be preferred by some companies. About 45% of sales reps have a bachelor's degree, and 13 % have an associate's degree in business, marketing, communication, and psychology.

How much does a sales rep make a year?

A sales representative makes $47,187 a year or $24 an hour. However, there is a high range of variability in the earning potential of a sales rep, ranging from $97,500 per year (or $50 per hour) down to $15,000 per year (or $7.21 per hour).

Is it hard to become a sales rep?

No, it is not hard to become a sales rep. There are no formal education requirements for sales representative positions. Many jobs can be obtained with just a high school diploma or its equivalent, although prior sales experience is advantageous.

What are the five basic skills of a sales representative?

The five basic skills of a sales representative are communication, prospecting, social selling, business acumen, and active listening. That is not to say that there are no other skills that are also important in being a good sales representative, such as patience or storytelling.

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