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Independent Sales Representative Duties and Responsibilities

Independent sales representatives are responsible for a wide variety of duties. Based on job listings we analyzed, an independent sales representative's duties typically involve:

Identifying Prospective Customers Independent sales representatives identify prospective customers by following leads from existing clients or attending events and conferences, to build relationships with people.

Developing Accounts with Clients Independent sales representatives continue to build accounts and relationships with their customers, both new clients and existing ones, by discussing the client's needs and explaining how specific products or services can help them.

Advising Customers on Product Benefits Being able to sell the unique points of their products or services is key to independent sales representatives. They emphasize the benefits and features of products and how customers can make the best use of them.

Negotiating Terms of Sales Independent sales representatives negotiate sales contracts, terms of sales, service agreements, and prices with suppliers and vendors. They prepare sales contracts and ensure that orders are submitted for processing.

Following Up with Clients Once a sale has been made, independent sales representatives follow up with their clients to ensure they're satisfied with their purchase and to answer questions or concerns clients may have.


Independent Sales Representative Skills and Qualifications

Independent sales representatives should be confident and able to maintain their composure when networking with people. Typically, there is no formal qualification required to become an independent sales representative, but candidates should possess the following abilities:
  • Customer service skills - to understand the customer's needs before, during, and after a sale
  • Interpersonal skills - to communicate and work well with different types of people, building good relationships with them
  • Self-confidence - a confident and persuasive personality is vital to success as the job can involve cold calling, talking to people who aren't expecting their call
  • Networking - to build relationships and contact lists, increasing the chances of making a sale
  • Physical stamina - depending on the product being sold, independent sales representatives may need to spend long hours on their feet and lifting heavy items

Independent Sales Representative Education and Training

Becoming an independent sales representative requires no formal qualification; a high school diploma is typically sufficient although not necessary. Previous networking and sales experience can help independent sales representatives build their contact list more quickly; strong communication skills are a must. Candidates may want to be certified to demonstrate and develop their skills - for example, the Manufacturer's Representatives Educational Research Foundation offers the Certified Sales Professional (CSP) certification.

Independent Sales Representative Salary and Outlook

The median annual salary for independent sales representatives is nearly $57,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Independent sales representatives in the 10th percentile earn around $28,000 annually, while the highest paid earn $120,000 a year. Bonus and commission opportunities are high with this job, with bonuses reaching as much as $19,000, and commission as high as $50,000. The BLS predicts the growth rate for this sector will grow by five percent through 2026.

Helpful Resources

We've collected some of the best resources to help you develop your career as an independent sales representative:

Independent Sales Representatives - This LinkedIn group has over 1,000 members and is designed for helping independent sales representatives to network and share knowledge with others in the industry.

The SaaS Sales Method for Sales Development Representatives - A great resource for sales representatives, this guide helps readers to learn advanced techniques in the sales profession. From understanding a customer's pain points to learning how to determine the right customer for the product, this book provides step-by-step instructions.

The Independent Sales Rep - This guide covers a variety of topics to assist aspiring sales reps, from matching reps to the company to the future of sales representatives, to help would-be sales reps to think outside the box. For independent sales representatives looking to build their business, this book provides the foundations for setting up a successful network of clients.

Handshake - The Handshake blog covers all things sales and marketing, with information on how sales representatives can work with brands and companies, best practices for sales territory management, and how independent sales representatives can develop a commission structure that works best for them.

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