An international sales representative is someone who handles a company’s sales on a global scale. International sales reps often travel overseas to make a sale, or sometimes are stationed there for a period of time. They are vital to a company’s profitability, and particularly important when it comes to expanding the company’s reach.
International sales representatives work in numerous industries and must have a thorough understanding of their company’s products. They need to be able to demonstrate and explain how the services or items work and might benefit a potential client--and sometimes, they need to be able to do so in more than one language. Like regional salespersons, international sales reps often work on commission, receiving a base salary and a percentage of their sales.
International sales representatives must be experts in customer service, professional and confident, as they are representing their country abroad. They should possess excellent verbal and written communication skills, in both English and other languages when necessary. They also need to be organized, driven, energetic and resilient, as even the most experienced salesperson has to deal with rejection on a normal basis. On top of those things, international sales reps will likely need to know how to use the latest technology to assist with the industry, such as computers and cell phones.
Outside of possessing a high school diploma, there are no set guidelines to become an international sales representative. Most corporations prefer candidates who possess a bachelor’s degree, highlighted by courses in marketing and business. Others transfer sales reps from national or regional departments into an international role, provided the employee not only displays a willingness to work hard, but has a positive approach that represents the company well.
Opportunities for sales representatives will vary by the amount of companies that attempt to reach customers on a global scale. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for sales representatives in the wholesale and manufacturing fields are expected to grow by 7 percent through 2018. Employment of international reps, it can be assumed, is likely to increase at a similar rate.
International sales representatives have the potential to be high earners. According to Salary.com, they made a median salary of $64,398 per year in November 2009, according to Salary.com. Much of that was based on their industry, experience, location and, since many work on commission, their level of success.
2016 Salary Information for Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives
Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives earned a median annual salary of $61,270 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives earned a 25th percentile salary of $42,360, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $89,010, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,813,500 people were employed in the U.S. as wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives.