Customer Sales Representative Job Description
Customer sales representatives present their employer’s offerings to potential buyers. Any industry that sells something can benefit from their services. As might be expected, many customer sales representatives are involved in getting people to buy physical items, such as cars, skincare products, or new windows for their home. But customer sales representatives also sell policies for insurance companies, promote bundle deals for telecommunication firms, discuss gym membership plans, and convince parents that their children will benefit from joining a tutoring center.
Customer sales reps may work out of an office, visit workplaces or homes, spend time on a sales floor, or travel to conferences where their offerings might be useful to attendees. Hours can vary based on the employer’s hours of operation as well as the best time to reach the target audience. For instance, a customer sales representative in the pharmaceutical industry may have to work around the busy schedules of the doctors with whom he wishes to connect. Compensation structure for customer sales reps often involves a base salary plus commission from actual sales.
Customer Sales Representative Duties and Responsibilities
As they go about showcasing and promoting their employer’s offerings, customer sales reps perform a variety of tasks. Based on an examination of job postings, these actions are among the most common:
Knowing the Product
Customer sales representatives need to be experts about what they are selling in order to answer questions from prospective buyers. If touting appliances, for instance, they should be aware of the features, differences between brands, delivery policies, and warranties. Knowledge inspires consumer confidence and positive feelings about the company.
Targeting the people most likely to be interested in a product or service can save time and bring about better results. Customer sales representatives may be given the names of certain people to contact. For example, past customers may be interested in hearing about new offerings. Attendees of a bridal convention may be good candidates for travel packages as they think about their honeymoon. And, of course, someone who comes into a furniture showroom probably has at least some interest in replacing old items.
Many times, however, customer sales reps must think of new and creative ways to get people’s attention. They may offer coupons at the county fair to folks who came there with no intention to learn about bathroom remodeling. Or perhaps they will cold call local residents after a blizzard in an effort to inform them about their company’s snow removal services.
Keeping current customers happy is great business practice. They already have heard of you and (hopefully) like and trust your company. Smart customer sales representatives check in on these people on a regular basis to gauge satisfaction, address any concerns, and provide information of value such as new offerings or upcoming specials.
Customer Sales Representative Skills
At the heart of being a successful customer sales representative is the ability to promote your company’s products or services in ways that convince others to buy them. Thus, customer sales representatives need excellent interpersonal skills in order to bond with others, understand their desires, and convince them that what they are selling is worth their money. Other good qualities for customer sales representatives to highlight on their résumés include:
- Exhibiting ease and accuracy with numbers in order to provide quotes, deal with financing, and perform other mathematical calculations
- “Reading” people well to pinpoint what it will take to make a sale
- Displaying a willingness to stay on top of market trends and to learn new sales techniques
- Following through on leads and inquiries in a timely fashion
- Showing confidence and a can-do attitude
Customer Sales Representative Tools of the trade
As customer sales reps go about performing their job, these items are some of the things they often use:
- Computers – to conduct Internet research, correspond via email, input customer data, and type reports
- Phone – a primary way of contacting potential buyers and keeping in contact with existing clients
- Estimate – a basic outline of what desired goods or services will cost
- Purchase order – written document specifying important buying information such as items, delivery date, and cost
Customer Sales Representative Education and Training
Most customer sales reps hold at least a high school diploma. Some have taken post-secondary courses in business and marketing and may have obtained an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. A background in the field in which you’re trying to find work as a customer sales representative can be advantageous, such as training in finance for positions at a bank. Evidence of past success in sales also goes a long way toward gaining the attention of hiring managers.
Customer Sales Representative Resources
The following resources can be helpful in starting or perfecting a career as a customer sales representative:
HubSpot: Sales – From inspirational TED talks to ways to get prospective clients to notice your emails, this website is filled with a plethora of articles of interest to customer sales representatives.
Sales Rep Biz – This LinkedIn group serves as a place for its 17,000+ members to share tips and success stories.
The Greatest Sales Book Ever Written: How to Become a Top Sales Representative or the Best at Anything You Do – The title may sound a bit presumptuous, but readers do give this book plenty of kudos. It focuses on the many different ways to sell something and points out how helping, not convincing, is at the center of it all.
The Sales Survival Handbook: Cold Calls, Commissions and Caffeine Addiction – The Real Truth about Life in Sales – Called “a humorous, yet practical, guide,” this book is filled with “do’s, don’t, quizzes, lists, and real-world advice you need to survive the agony and enjoy the ecstasy of your sales career.”
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