Sales Representatives

Fabric Salesperson Helps Client

Sales representatives, also called sales reps, sell the products and services of manufacturers and wholesalers. They look for potential customers or clients such as retail stores, other manufacturers or wholesalers, government agencies, hospitals, and other institutions; explain or demonstrate their products to these clients; and attempt to make a sale. The job may include follow-up calls and visits to ensure the customer is satisfied.

Sales representatives work under a variety of titles. Those employed by manufacturers are typically called manufacturers' sales workers or manufacturers' representatives. Those who work for wholesalers are sometimes called wholesale trade sales workers or wholesale sales representatives. A manufacturers' agent is a self-employed salesperson who agrees to represent the products of various companies. A door-to-door sales worker usually represents just one company and sells products directly to consumers, typically in their homes. Sales representatives may be further categorized as inside sales representatives, who mostly work in offices and generate sales by making "cold calls" to potential customers, and outside sales representatives, who travel frequently to current clients and prospective buyers to make sales. More than 1.8 million people work as manufacturers' and wholesale sales representatives in the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Door-to-Door Sales Workers, Inside Sales Representatives, Manufacturers' Representatives, Manufacturers' Sales Workers, Outside Sales Representatives, Wholesale Sales Representatives, Wholesale Trade Sales Workers
Duties Sell the products and services of manufacturers and wholesalers
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Indoors/Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
School Subjects
  • Business
  • Mathematics
  • Speech
Experience Previous sales experience useful
Personality Traits
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
  • Outgoing
  • Interpersonal
  • Public Speaking
  • Sales
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • Sales Manager
  • Manufacturers' Agent, or Sales Engineer, or Industrial Sales Worker
  • Sales Representative
  • Office, Stock, or Shipping Clerk