Salesperson, sales rep, sales executive, field sales executive
Sales representatives meet or ring customers to persuade them to buy products or services.
Salary range: £15,000 to £50,000
How to become a sales representative
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You may need to do a degree in a subject related to your area of sales, especially if you’re selling specialist products or services, for example pharmaceuticals.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- university courses and entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- equivalent entry requirements
You could do an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in:
- sales and telesales
- vehicle sales
You could move onto a sales executive higher apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
You could start as an administrator in a sales office. Experience in a retail or customer service role may help you to become a sales rep. You’ll also need a good standard of English and number skills.
It will help if you have experience or a background in what you’re selling.
You can find out more about careers in sales from the Institute of Sales Management.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to sell products and services
- customer service skills
- persistence and determination
- to be flexible and open to change
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- contacting new and existing customers
- making presentations to promote new products
- agreeing sales, prices and delivery
- keeping in contact with customers before and after a sale
- recording orders
- going to conferences to understand industry trends
- meeting sales targets
You could work in an office, from home or in a contact centre.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could become a sales team leader or an area sales manager.
The Institute of Sales Management (ISM) could help you develop your career.