A sales representative needs:
- to enjoy working with people
- confidence, enthusiasm and a persuasive nature
- organisational skills
- time management skills
- the motivation to work without supervision
- the ability to work under pressure
Sales representatives spend the majority of their time travelling between the offices of the organisation they work for and their clients, such as retailers or wholesalers that sell their products, or individuals to whom they sell their products directly. During their visits to clients they may work in offices, shops, factories, workshops, other types of businesses or in their clients' home. Their working conditions may be stressful as they usually have sales targets that they need to meet.
On average, sales representatives can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a sales representative develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
A sales representative’s salary is often dependent on the commissions they earn on the products they sell, which may vary from week to week.
Sales representatives need to maintain contact with their clients and suppliers, so they use computers as well as portable communication equipment such as laptops and mobile phones. They often require access to a vehicle in which they can visit their clients. They also need to be familiar with the products that they sell, and often use product samples to provide demonstrations to their clients.
You can work as a sales representative without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.
You may improve your employment prospects if you complete a traineeship. . The business to business sales traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.
It may also help you to gain experience or complete some study in a technical area relevant to the type of product you wish to sell, or to the field of business relevant to the organisation you wish to work for.
Most sales representatives usually need a current drivers licence.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.