A sales representative is a person who sells a product or service. It may be to another person or an organization, in direct sales or a retail setting.
Every industry has different needs for sales. For instance, a salesperson at a clothing store should know about the organization’s sizing, materials of choice and returns policy. A sales representative may even need more specialist knowledge of a product or service. The soft skills needed are much the same regardless of what’s being sold. A good salesperson will need to be persuasive, analytical about the client’s needs, organized in their approach and be able to work under pressure.
The Different Kinds Of Sales Representative
Sales representatives have one thing in common: they sell products or services for businesses big and small. But there are a few other variations in their job roles. Let’s take a quick look at some of these:
An employee who sells products or services to other businesses may be called an account representative. In a client-facing role, they might be known as a customer sales representative
A sales representative who sells products in retail is called a salesperson or a sales clerk. Besides helping clients make a purchase, they may merchandise displays in which products are organized so they’re attractively laid out for potential buyers
A sales representative that sells medical products may be called a pharmaceutical representative or drug representative. There are other industry-specific terms that might apply to the sales function
A business development representative is an account executive who works with an organization’s sales managers, helping to develop new business opportunities. The business development representative has to contact new accounts, besides servicing existing ones, to grow the business. They have to create sales presentations and proposals, schedule appointments and try to convert leads. Many organizations use this designation for their top executives
Sometimes a salesperson may need to be licensed or certified and also need specialized training on how the company works. An insurance agent, who sells insurance to people or businesses, is one such job
A sales development representative is a person who works with leads coming into an organization, to verify them and to pass them onto the sales teams. It’s usually an entry-level position
Whether at a more experienced level, like a business development representative or a fresher, such as a sales development representative, all sales positions can be full-time, part-time or commission-based. They also call for similar skills.
Qualities Of A Professional Sales Representative
The sales function is one of the most critical in any modern organization. Everyone with corporate aspirations would do well spending some time in sales. The skills salespeople need are far-ranging, including:
Dealing With Pressure
Sales representatives should be able to work under pressure and handle a great deal of stress. They often have monthly, quarterly and annual sales targets to meet that can be demanding. Sales is also an area vulnerable to shifts in the economic climate and the salesperson needs to adjust their expectations and approach.
To work in sales, employees need excellent interpersonal skills. Having a good memory for details will help connect with clients better. The ability to analyze whether a product or service is a good fit for someone will help make the correct product offer. A sales rep must know how to ensure the client gets what they need and want.
Confidence In Communication
Sales representatives should be able to speak in public and think on their feet. They need to have strong persuasive abilities, both in verbal and written communication. They need to sell without seeming pushy and keep the conversation open for repeat business.
A sales representative needs to be organized and work well on their own. Some sales jobs require traveling from place to place, either within a city or in a wider geographical area. A sales representative must be able to make appointments and keep them and manage their time.
In some companies, sales reps may receive a base salary plus commission, or a performance-based incentive or bonus. This means that a salesperson’s remuneration may change from year to year. This isn’t easy and takes a certain mindset and drive to handle.
Sales is all about connecting with people and offering them a product or service that can make their lives and work better. Harappa’s Impactful Sales Program will help professionals in any kind of sales role develop all this and more. It starts with how to analyze the needs of the customer, identifying the right solution for them and conveying this persuasively. Once the client is listening, negotiating with tact and being persistent in the face of setbacks and delays are critical components to sealing the deal. Transform your sales teams today with Harappa!
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