dcsimg

Product Sales Representatives

Product sales representatives have an important role within companies. Their objective is to make customers interested in their company's goods or services and make sales. Sales representatives demonstrate the use of the their products and explain to clients and prospective clients how the merchandise can increase their revenue or lower their costs.

Product sales representatives answer customers' questions and resolve problems. Sales representatives that sell consumer goods sometimes provide suggestions regarding how and where the products should be displayed. They may help retailers create promotional programs, advertising and store displays.

Inside sales representatives spend a lot of time on the telephone selling products and taking orders. They also resolve problems or complaints regarding products. Typically, "cold calling" prospective clients is part of the occupation. Some inside sales representatives arrange meetings for outside sales agents.

Outside sales representatives spend a lot of their time traveling and meeting with current and potential clients. They convey to the client how their products can meet their needs and how their products can increase productivity. Outside sales representatives may sell products made by several different manufactures. They may also help install equipment and provide training for the equipment.

Manufacturers' representatives, also known as manufacturers' agents usually work for manufactures, technical firms or wholesalers. Some manufacturers' representatives work for one company, whereas others represent several companies and sell a range of merchandise. They deal directly with businesses, government agencies and other types of organizations. A number of sales agents specialize in selling technical and scientific products such as mechanical equipment and computers.

Common job titles include account executive, account representative and sales associate.

Responsibilities

  • Monitor market conditions, competitors' products and product innovations
  • Provide prices and information about credit, warranties, contract terms and delivery dates to customers
  • Demonstrate products and explain their features to customers and prospective customers
  • Forward orders to manufacturer
  • Arrange for delivery and installation of products and equipment
  • Identify potential customers
  • Answer clients' questions about products or services
  • Prepare estimates and bids
  • Negotiate details of contracts and payments
  • Provide ongoing support to clients

Job Characteristics

Product sales representatives often travel to meet with clients and prospective clients. They often attend trade shows to stay current with the newest products. Some sales representatives have large sales regions and may be away from home for several days or weeks at a time.

They work 40 hours a week, however many product sales representatives work over 50 hours a week. Sales representatives often have irregular work hours. In addition, many salespersons make their own schedules.

Sales representatives sometimes have to deal with pressure since typically their income and job security depend on the amount of products they sell. Companies usually establish sales quotas or goals which salespersons are expected to meet.

Sales representatives should be persuasive and goal oriented. A pleasant personality and good communications skills are beneficial for the occupation. Patients and perseverance are also important aspects of the job.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a seven percent employment growth for wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives during the 2008 to 2018 timeframe which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth is projected to be greatest in independent sales firms since manufacturers continue to outsource sales activities to independent sales agents, primarily to lower costs.

In 2008 the median annual earnings, including commissions, of wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products sales representatives was $70,200. The median annual earnings, including commissions, for sales representatives of wholesale and manufacturing, except technical and scientific products, in 2008 was $51,330.

Compensation methods for sales representatives vary by the type of company and the products sold. Most employers provide a combination of salary and commissions or a salary and bonuses.

Promotions often take the form of being assigned to a large account or a larger sales territory. Those that demonstrate leadership ability and have a good sales record may become a sales supervisor, a district manager or a vice president of sales.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Generally, there are no formal education requirements for product sales representative positions, however many sales positions require some postsecondary education. Sales representatives that sell scientific and technical products often are required to have a bachelors's degree. For those with a high school degree, previous sales experience is helpful.

Many product sales representatives attend seminars that provide sales techniques or take classes in subjects such as economics, marketing and communication. Many companies provide formal training programs for beginning sales representatives that last up to two years, however most companies have much shorter training periods for salespersons.

Sales representatives can acquire certification that provides formal recognition of their sales skills. Many sales representatives have obtained a Certified Professional Manufacturers' Representative certification or the Certified Sales Professional certification. Certification usually requires formal training and passing an examination.

Resources

Major Employers

The primary employers are wholesale companies, technical and scientific product companies, retail companies, manufacturing firms, computer systems design and related services; wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers; and machinery equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers.

Schools for Product Sales Representatives are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Product Sales Representatives

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Product Sales Representatives jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

     
Metro Area Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 63270 $52,270
Long Beach 63270 $52,270
Los Angeles 63270 $52,270
Dallas 41890 $62,320
Arlington 41890 $62,320
Fort Worth 41890 $62,320
Roswell 40920 $56,150
Sandy Springs 40920 $56,150
Atlanta 40920 $56,150
Fort Lauderdale 38180 $46,810
Total Employment for Product Sales Representatives - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
Compare Total Employment for Product Sales Representatives
STATE
CITIES
EMPLOYMENT
 
Salaries for Product Sales Representatives - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
Compare Salaries for Product Sales Representatives
STATE
CITIES
SALARY
 
Total Employment and Salary for Professions Similar to Product Sales Representatives

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Product Sales Representatives

To find out more about building a career as Product Sales Representatives, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Product Sales Representatives

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Durable Goods Wholesale 433,470 29% $49,300
Non-durable Goods Wholesale 287,210 19% $48,190
Online Wholesale 243,380 16% $57,100
Construction Trades 39,210 2% $53,250
Office Services And Staffing 38,290 2% $46,570
Metal Products 30,830 2% $57,010
Professional And Technical Services 30,460 2% $58,460
Hardware And Garden Stores 25,910 1% $45,850
Business Management 24,720 1% $57,180
Printing 23,690 1% $55,120
Machinery 20,450 1% $57,590
Food 17,580 1% $53,710
Miscellaneous Manufacturing 15,080 1% $53,050
Traditional Publishing 14,990 1% $55,880
Click the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab.
Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school.
 
Results:  10
Matching School Ads
Programs
  • MBA@UNC
UNC Kenan-Flagler is one of the world's top-ranked business schools. At UNC Kenan-Flagler, you develop the skills that make you a highly effective leader and prepare you for long-term career success. The strength of the UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA degree comes from a school culture in which members live the business school's core values of excellence, leadership, teamwork, integrity and community.
Programs
  • Business Administration - Property Management (BS)
  • Business Administration (BS)
  • Offers several scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.
  • Laptop computers are issued to each student at the beginning of their program.
  • Provides programs in health care, business, information technology, and graphic arts.
  • Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

Our family of non-profit colleges admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

camnpus icon
San Diego
Request Info
Programs
  • Business Management
  • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
  • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
  • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
  • 3 campuses in Southern California.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
camnpus icon
Ontario
Request Info
Programs
  • MS in Strategic Human Resource Management

Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University (SJU) has been developing the minds and abilities of men and women in a challenging academic environment steeped in the enriching Jesuit tradition of cura personalis (care of the entire person). The strong liberal arts foundation promotes an environment of open-minded investigation and debate and attends to developing students beyond their academic accomplishments, while maintaining high academic standards. The University strives to be recognized as the preeminent Catholic comprehensive university in the Northeast.

Programs
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Master of Science (Online)
  • Push Your Creativity To The Next Level.
  • Full Sail’s curriculum combines elements of creativity, art, business and life skills, technical prowess, and academic achievement.
  • Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average.
  • Students work with industry-standard tools and technologies, allowing them to gain practical knowledge and real-world experience.
  • Join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to interact with our community, read about grad success, and see campus images.
Programs
  • Master of Arts in Economics

Change the World with American University

Be a part of something bigger than yourself. At American University, we strive to help you develop your professional interests and indulge in your passion for making a difference. Our online degree programs allow you to gain the advanced skills for active leadership in a variety of fields.

Set Yourself Apart at American University

At American University, our smart, passionate and engaged students and faculty focus their knowledge to create meaningful change. Our strengths in international service and public affairs inspire our sense of social responsibility and a dedication to cultural and intellectual diversity. We're defined by our global perspective, practical idealism and a dedication to public service.

Programs
  • Master of Business Adminitration (MBA)

MBA@Syracuse is the top-ranked online Master of Business Administration from the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. The program is available to students around the world looking to advance their careers. Delivered online, MBA@Syracuse features live classes and immersive coursework, and students have the chance to network in person at residency experiences.

Programs
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities ( beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities. 
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
camnpus icon
Irvine
Request Info
Programs
  • Master of Science in Human Resources

Since 1888, The University of Scranton has grounded its education in Catholic and Jesuit principles based on intellectual growth and integrity, all of which shape the online master’s and certificate programs. You can choose one of five graduate degree programs from a selective institution ranked among the Top 10 Universities in the North and Top 20 Best Value Schools by U.S. News & World Report.

 

The online, master’s degree curriculum is taught by highly credentialed faculty and reflects the same rigorous academic standards as the on-campus programs. Nearly all of The University of Scranton’s instructional faculty hold doctoral or other terminal degrees in their fields – so you can excel in yours.

Programs
  • Master of Science in Accountancy

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota's Online Master's Programs

At Saint Mary's, we take pride in offering online graduate degrees designed to complement the schedules of working adults like you. Get an affordable, convenient education from a top-ranked university that's grounded in real-world applications.

Saint Mary's University's long history of innovation in education continues with the launch of our new iPad® application, allowing for learning on the go. Our commitment to our Lasallian Catholic tradition of continuous learning, ethics and advancing the common good also endures.

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Product Sales Representatives.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

Back to Top