How to Become a Sales Representative?
Steps to Become a Sales RepresentativeA sales representative needs to use strong communication and customer services skills to sell services or goods. You'll need a strong understanding of the products or services your company offers in order to increase sales. If you love interacting with clients and closing deals, a sales representative job may be a great fit.
Complete Your High School Education or Technical Training
While formal education such as a Bachelor's degree is rarely required for sales representatives, employers typically prefer candidates with a minimum of a high school diploma. You may also be able to pursue a technical program or associate or bachelor's degree. Coursework in areas like accounting, finance, mathematics, and psychology can be useful.
Depending on the organization you want to work for, you may have to complete additional requirements. For instance, roles in technical sales may prioritize applicants with a bachelor's degree in a field like information technology, while roles in pharmaceutical sales may require education in pharmaceuticals and/or biology.
What type of degree should you pursue to become a Sales Representative?
77% of people working as a Sales Representative earned a Bachelor's Degree
What skills do you need to be a Sales Representative?
- Interpersonal and Communication
- Excellent Customer Service
- Good Time Management
- Microsoft Office Suite
- Strong WORK Ethic
Find an Entry-Level Role
An entry-level position will help you develop key skills such as mathematics and customer service. You can use your time in an entry-level role to learn more about your chosen industry and try various sales strategies. You may take your first position in a different industry to gain general experience, then use these skills later on to find a more experienced role in the specific industry that interests you.
Complete Training on the Job or in Specialized Programs
Many sales representatives bolster their skills through on-the-job training. You may also complete specialized training depending on the product you sell. Specific training required for a given position will vary depending on the industry.
Most sales representatives get training through work in similar sales positions. Your company may train you at the start of your employment or offer a formal training program. Depending on your knowledge of the product, you may also need to participate in specialized training, such as working under an experienced agent if you're starting out as a representative in real estate.
Choose Your Industry and Develop Your Skills
Once you gain skills and experience through an entry-level position, you can apply for positions in the specific industry in which you want to pursue a career. Prepare for this stage while you're in your first role by testing your skills and learning the areas of sales you most enjoy.
Once you've mastered the basics, you can further specialize in your chosen industry. You may also decide to try out a sales manager role, which will allow you to oversee other representatives on a team and further hone your management skills.
Consider Earning Certifications
Sales representatives rarely need certifications to get hired. However, earning a sales certification can set you apart from the competition when you're applying for jobs or advancing your career. Certifications to consider include Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP) and Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP).
Sales Representative Career Path
Senior Sales Representative
Sales Representative IV
Total Pay Trajectory
Sales Representative Career Path
Related Careers in the Sales Industry
Interested in other Sales careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Sales Representative skills. Discover some of the most common Sales Representative career transitions, along with skills overlap.