Do you want to start a career as a sales rep? What are a sales reps meaning? A sales representative sells products or services for a company and, in return, collects a commission. Typically, a sales representative sells products to other companies, businesses, or government agencies but could also sell directly to consumers.

Success as a Sales Representative

To be a successful sales representative, they have to make a certain amount of sales or hit a set amount of revenue in a specified period, otherwise known as a quota, sort of how police officers have to write a certain amount of tickets per month.

A good sales representative works with their clients from start to finish. They will find the prospects to sell to and then identify the company’s needs. Next, they educate the person, the customer, on which product or service they have that fits the company’s needs and persuade the business to purchase it. Sounds easy, right?

Part of a sales representative’s job is to understand customer needs. Identifying what a company needs and how a service or product could help them are the best way to make sales. Think of it like putting a round peg in a square hole. Finding the customers who need your product helps make the sale. A good sales rep helps customers understand that they need the product.

A sales representative is responsible for servicing an existing customer base and finding new ones. This means the sales rep has to make sure that their current clientele is happy with the product they have bought and make rounds on them to have them purchase more products or services. It also means that the sales rep needs to go out and find new accounts to work with.

sales representative

sales representative

How Sales Representatives Find New Accounts

A good sales representative is responsible for providing solutions to their existing clients and continuing to build a new customer base by providing them with the products they need. How do sales representatives find new clients?

Cold Calling

Cold calling is when sales representatives call prospects, a business they may be able to sell to, without having worked with them recently or at all. The sales rep must reach the right contact and explain how they can help the customer in the first few moments of the phone call. Sales reps can use business directories to help find businesses to call.

Client Referrals

A sales representative can acquire new business from their customers. If a person works well with a business and proves helpful, they may gain new contacts from their customers. Making a lasting impression on a customer is a skill needed to be successful.


Sales reps must understand their product and service and how they can help people. No one will do a sales rep the favor of purchasing a product they don’t need. Being a sales rep means finding potential customers with the same needs as their existing ones. Then show them exactly how their product will improve their business, a.k.a. make them more money.


How do you Become a Sales Representative?

Some companies require their employees to have a bachelor’s degree, while others may not require formal degrees besides a High School Diploma. Most people will tell you that it is a good idea to have at least a bachelor’s degree in marketing if you want to be a sales representative because it could help you get an interview. But a degree in anything could help get you in the door with the right person.

Having degrees in other fields makes the person a better candidate for a career selling something specific, like a computer engineer offering software products. A sales rep with knowledge about products can be more valuable to a company.

Sales rep

Sales rep

Skills Needed to be Hired as a Sales Representative.

Being a sales rep is more challenging than getting a degree and jumping into the job. Certain skills are needed outside of what can be learned in a classroom, which means learning on the job.


Communication skills are the first thing a sales representative will be expected to have. Moving a product could be as easy as going to the right place right time. More often than not, communicating how a product or service will benefit a company at this very moment will make sales.

Active Listening

Be able to listen to a customer’s needs. Listening to the problems a business is having is how to find what services or products to provide them with.


Being a sales representative means being available to contact a business when it works for them. When a business is busy from 9-5, the sales rep needs to talk to the owner or manager at the end or beginning of the day. A sales representative may work odd hours to find the right time to sell their merchandise.


The job requires confidence in the product. The store the sales representative is trying to sell to must know that the sales rep believes in the product. Honesty makes sales better than deceitful sales tactics. If a representative can explain why a product is great and why they believe in it, the buyer is more likely to purchase.

good sales representative

good sales representative

Expected Income for a Sales Representative

The salary range for sales representatives varies greatly, so it takes work to know exactly what to expect because it depends on what product you offer. The average salary of sales representatives in the United States is between 50-70k, but it can also be much more if the revenue created is higher. A sales rep selling products of high value can make well into the six-figure range.

A sales representative’s salary largely depends on their work performance. The more work they put in, the more money they can make, which means the job can demand that they spend time closing deals with potential customers and making new contacts. The early years of being a sales representative can be a grind to build a customer base.

So, what is a sales rep?

A sales rep makes a living by selling products or services. Whether they work in pharmaceuticals or sandwiches, medical equipment or technology, they must work to make their commission.