What they do
Sales representatives promote and sell a range of products to wholesalers, retailers, businesses and private clients. They visit their clients to demonstrate products and obtain orders, arrange contracts and payment or organise the delivery and installation details. They may also train their clients in how to use their products, or offer technical descriptions of products and their use. They also liaise with management staff regarding the needs of their clients, plan sales strategies, find and contact new clients, and undertake administrative duties regarding their accounts. Sales representatives work all over the state, meeting with individuals and businesses that operate across all industries.
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.
Tools and technologies
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.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as a sales representative without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.
However, entry into this occupation may be improved by undertaking a business to business sales officer (level 3) traineeship. The traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.
You can also gain a qualification in business to business sales. The Certificate III in Business to Business Sales is available at Western Australian registered training organisations. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.
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.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing
Most sales representatives usually need a current drivers licence.