A commercial sales representative is someone who attempts to sell a product or service for a company. Commercial sales reps are often considered the most important employees in their respective business, as their success determines its profitability. They work in every industry in one form or another, and often work on commission, receiving a base salary along with a percentage of what is sold.
Commercial sales representatives are typically assigned territories by a supervisor and almost always have pitches or angles when meeting with a client. Some sales reps work in the office via phones, while others make sales calls on foot. Either way, their job is to convince clients that their product or service is better than that of the competition. Sometimes, they even offer a demonstration of what they are selling. Commercial sales reps can work long and odd hours, including evenings and weekends, connecting with clients when its convenient for the client.
Commercial sales representatives should be organized, presentable, professional, flexible, driven and energetic. They should be friendly at all times, helping a customer feel at ease. And regardless of industry, salespeople typically need to possess basic computer skills, as many of their accounts are tracked and filed via sales-related software. Also, because their job revolves around numbers, commercial sales reps almost always need to be decent mathematicians. Mostly, they need to be expert communicators who have a firm grasp of their products, along with an understanding of what the competition is doing.
Requirements to become a commercial sales representative vary greatly by industry. Most possess at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. Others will need to have obtained an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree with a focus on courses in marketing, advertising, business and communications. Those seeking advancement, however, typically only need to prove themselves by having success and generating income for the company.
It’s difficult to pinpoint what opportunities will be like for commercial sales representatives simply because the industry is so wide ranging. But as long as companies continue to manufacture products and services, they will continue to need someone to sell them. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for sales reps in the wholesale and manufacturing industries are expected to increase by 7 percent from 2008 to 2018, with those in retail likely growing slightly more than that at 8 percent.
Because commercial sales representatives normally work on commission, how much they earn is often mostly up to them. According to PayScale, sales reps earned anywhere from $27,000 to nearly $64,000 in 2010. Also, the BLS reported that sales reps in the computer systems design industry made a median annual salary of $80,060 in 2008.