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Sales representative Salesperson, sales rep, sales executive, field sales executive

Sales representatives meet or ring customers to persuade them to buy products or services.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,000 to £50,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 38 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but experience of working in an office or call centre could help.

For some sales jobs, such as technical or pharmaceutical sales, you may need to have a relevant qualification like a degree.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent customer service and communication skills
  • the ability to sell and negotiate
  • IT and presentation skills

3. What you'll do

You'll specialise in a particular industry, like consumer goods or energy. You may sell directly to consumers, or to other businesses.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • contacting new and existing customers
  • making presentations to promote new products
  • agreeing sales, prices and delivery
  • keeping in contact with customers before and after a sale
  • recording orders
  • going to conferences to understand industry trends
  • meeting sales targets

4. Salary

Starter: £15,000 to £20,000

Experienced: £25,000 to £35,000

Highly Experienced: £40,000 to £50,000 (sales executive or manager)

You'll usually get a basic salary and an extra amount for each sale (commission). You may also get a bonus if you meet targets.

You may get a company car and fuel allowance.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 38 to 40 hours, Monday to Friday, but may need to work evenings or weekends. Occasionally you'll stay away overnight, or travel abroad to trade fairs and conferences.

You may drive to visit customers. When not on the road, you'll work from a sales office or call centre. Sometimes you’ll work from home. You’ll usually need a driving licence and may need a passport.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a sales team leader or an area sales manager.

The Institute of Sales Management (ISM) could help you develop your career.

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Last updated: 11 April 2017