Salesman Job Description

A Salesman, also called a Sales Representative or Salesperson, sells products or services to businesses or consumers. They explain how a product works or what services are available, provide sales materials such as brochures or pamphlets, create sales leads and follow up with new customers. Salesmen can work in a wide variety of industries, such as automobile, pharmaceutical, retail, insurance or financial services, to name a few.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for those in sales is expected to increase by 5 percent over the 2014-2024 decade. This figure will vary depending on the area in which the Salesman works; for instance, the growth rate for those selling insurance will see a 9 percent increase, manufacturing and wholesale sales representatives will experience a 7 percent increase and advertising Salesmen are likely to see a 3 percent decline in employment opportunities.


Salesman Duties and Responsibilities

A Salesman must complete several tasks to close sales, meet sales quotas and create revenue for their employers. In reviewing several job listings for this profession, we found the following are among the core duties and responsibilities of a Salesman.

Generate Sales

As one would expect, the main responsibility of a Salesman is to complete sales to consumers or clients. A Salesman must adequately explain his or her company’s products or services through presentations, brochures, videos and other materials. Salesman must apply persuasive methods as needed.

Build Sales Leads

Through referrals, business directories and even cold calling, Salesmen must create sales leads in order to pursue new clients. Salesmen also follow up on sales leads that might be generated by other employees or departments within the company.

Maintain Sales Accounts

Customer satisfaction and retention are important aspects of a Salesman’s responsibilities. Salesmen must regularly call or visit existing clients to ensure that they are still happy with using the product or services and to explain new products and services as they are made available.


Salesman Skills

One would not be effective as a Salesman without possessing strong interpersonal, verbal communication and organizational skills. Salesmen should be detail- and goal-oriented individuals who can deliver excellent customer service and have the ability to work independently. A strong sense of marketing is a plus for this profession. In addition to these general skills, a Salesman could be expected by potential employers to possess the following skills.

Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Salesmen with these core skills. If you want to work as a Salesman, focus on the following.

  • Demonstrating specific product functions and uses
  • Building strong customer relations with existing clients
  • Monitoring sales and market trends within specific industries
  • Coordinating delivery of product or services
  • Understanding pricing strategies

Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Salesman toolbox and broaden your career options.

  • Bilingual
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office products, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint


Salesman Resources

The following are among the best industry resources we found that could be helpful as you continue your research of a career as a Salesman. Both online and print resources are listed here.

On the Web

The Sales Blog – Professional speaker and sales leader Anthony Iannarino posts tips and personal insight into a sales career. Also offers a podcast.

Jeffrey Gitomer’s Sales Blog – This blog offer career tips and strategies, such as how to improve listening skills and ways to follow up with potential clients.

Top Sales World – An online publication providing articles and features written by sales professionals. Contains career advice, suggested readings and links to various resources for Salesmen.

Industry Groups

The Sales Association – An organization supplying professional development and networking opportunities for Salesmen, mainly through live conferences and webinars.

National Sales Network (NSN) – Founded in 1992, this nonprofit organization provides professional training and support for Salesmen, in addition to networking opportunities. It offers seminars to develop sales skills and an annual conference with keynote speakers, workshops and panel discussions.

National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP) – Started in 1991, NASP provides Salesmen with certification information, online training, articles and networking opportunities.


Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness – A short but informative book discussing effective sales techniques.

Secrets of Closing the Sale – A detailed overview of effective techniques Salesmen can use to explain products and services and overcome challenges to get results.

The Inside Game: How to Become a Top Performing Salesperson and Enjoy Every Step of the Way – A look at what makes a successful Salesman and how to apply these methods to sales in any industry.


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