How to Become a Sales Representative

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

How to Become a Sales Representative. Did you always win the candy sales contests when you were in school? Do you have a knack for persuading and convincing people? Could you sell sand to someone living in a desert? A career selling could be right around the corner.

Determine whether you have the natural gift of selling. Some have it, some don't, and it's not easy to learn if you don't already have a natural ability.

Concentrate on developing and refining your natural skills in high school by taking classes such as drama, speech and business. Extracurricular activities such as team sports, drama club, debate club and any entrepreneurial clubs available will also enhance your skills.

Choose a part-time job that will allow you to practice your selling ability and people skills. Regardless of the product, the experience will help later when you're looking for a full-time job.

Research programs at colleges and universities. Most schools do not offer degrees in sales per se, but with a little bit of ingenuity, a born salesperson can make almost any bachelor's degree work to his or her advantage.

Major in a related area such as communications, marketing, business administration or even public relations. These subjects teach students how to talk to clients and how to persuade, the foundation of any solid sales career.

Peruse sales magazines to review issues facing today's sales representatives. Sales representative jobs vary so widely - from self-employed and outside sales to an inside sales representative on the phone 40 hours a week - that you need an idea of what's out there before you can make an informed decision.

Decide if you can handle the competition. Thousands of sales jobs are advertised in newspapers, in journals and on the Internet each day; you must find the one thing that can make you stand out from the rest of the pack.

Take an entry-level sales representative position at a company that will let you train on the job. Many companies have their own techniques for selling and actually prefer someone green who they can mold and shape.

Look into privately offered sales seminars that teach basic sales skills (how to overcome rejections, how to close a sale, successful selling techniques), buy a couple of audio programs on sales skills, and read, read, read.

Apply for your first full-time job. Remember, your first successful sales job is selling yourself to your first employer.

Tip

Get a well-rounded education. The more areas you can knowledgeably cover, the more marketable you will be to employers. Maintain a positive demeanor even in the face of defeat. Employers and clients alike will respect your ability to look on the bright side.

Warning

Don't assume, just because you can get hired as a sales representative with little or no experience, that the job will be easy. Competition for purchasers' dollars is more fierce today than ever before, and you must be better than the rest to get the sale. If you are a homebody, sales may not be your ideal career. Being a sales representative often requires moderate to extensive travel.

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