Perhaps a person walking house to house offering anything from vacuum cleaners to mortgages springs to mind. However, a sales representative is not a door-to-door salesman. His job is first and foremost to get to know his clients perfectly, to take care of them, and to do the first last thing to make sure they are satisfied with his service. What all does the job of a sales representative entail and which qualities can it do without?
Who is a sales representative
A sales representative (or also a salesman) represents a company or business in business matters. This means that he or she takes care of everything related to the buying and selling of products, goods and services. He or she offers products and services to customers, presents them and conveys all the essential information about them that clients need in order to make a purchase.
There are two types of sales representatives corresponding to two business strategies:
- inside sales, in which the salesperson sells remotely via telephone, mail or other communication technologies such as Skype, Google Meet, etc., without meeting the client in person,
- outside sales, where the salesperson actually meets the customer, physically goes to the customer for a meeting and presents the product or service to the customer.
What does a sales representative do
A sales representative's working day usually consists of several meetings or phone calls with clients to whom he or she offers products or services. The more sales they make, the more profit the company makes and the more the salesperson earns in commissions.
But besides selling goods, a salesperson must control other activities that are related to the business. The job of a sales representative includes, for example:
- reaching out to leads and building a network of clients,
- nurturing existing customers and meeting them,
- costing and pricing,
- market research, competitor and trend research, marketing research,
- marketing and promotion of the products offered,
- administration, record-keeping and business documentation,
- concluding commercial contracts, handling complaints.
The sales representative must have an overview not only of the products offered, but also of all his customers and business. This is helped by a CRM, where he writes down everything essential and knows exactly what is happening in the business and how he is doing with which client.
Qualities that a good salesperson must have
Anyone can learn business tactics and the craft itself. In order to be a good salesperson, one must do all of the following:
- be resilient under stress and strain, handle frequent client rejections as well as problem solving,
- have the desire to constantly educate oneself, to find out information and navigate it, to know the products, the field and the entire company one represents,
- be flexible and responsive to client requests,
- to be independent, consistent and self-disciplined, and to be able to organise their work,
- be able to communicate and be empathetic, have good persuasive skills, be persistent but respect the rules of decorum and etiquette, be tactful and responsive.
A salesperson is therefore not only a salesperson, but also a marketer, lawyer, manager, psychologist and consultant. He or she must know sales tactics and negotiating skills, be familiar with both commercial law and the Civil Code, and be familiar with consumer rights. He or she has an overview of the products on offer, as well as of the whole market and customers. He has the basics of both marketing and sales psychology in his malik. And to do all this, he needs steady nerves and must not be afraid of failure.
What a sales representative must avoid
Nothing puts off a customer more than a salesperson's desire to sell at any price. The sales representative is there to help the client - that is, to understand their needs and offer them a product or service that will meet their needs. If the salesperson sells the customer what they don't need, they risk both customer dissatisfaction and damage to the company's reputation.
Some companies issue a code of ethics for their salespeople. But ethical principles should be under the skin of every trader. They must never pressure or coerce a customer.
Instead, it must honestly, accurately and clearly communicate everything that the product offers and what it does not know. This is the only way for the trader to create a network of clients who fully trust him and return to him regularly with their needs.