Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products
Sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses or groups of individuals. Work requires substantial knowledge of items sold.
Sample of reported job titles: Account Representative, Customer Account Technician, Inside Salesperson, Outside Sales Representative, Route Sales Representative, Sales Consultant, Sales Professional, Sales Representative (Sales Rep), Salesman, Salesperson
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Answer customers’ questions about products, prices, availability, product uses, and credit terms.
- Recommend products to customers, based on customers’ needs and interests.
- Estimate or quote prices, credit or contract terms, warranties, and delivery dates.
- Consult with clients after sales or contract signings to resolve problems and to provide ongoing support.
- Prepare sales contracts and order forms.
- Provide customers with product samples and catalogs.
- Monitor market conditions, product innovations, and competitors’ products, prices, and sales.
- Perform administrative duties, such as preparing sales budgets and reports, keeping sales records, and filing expense account reports.
- Contact regular and prospective customers to demonstrate products, explain product features, and solicit orders.
- Identify prospective customers by using business directories, following leads from existing clients, participating in organizations and clubs, and attending trade shows and conferences.
- Negotiate with retail merchants to improve product exposure, such as shelf positioning and advertising.
- Check stock levels and reorder merchandise as necessary.
- Plan, assemble, and stock product displays in retail stores, or make recommendations to retailers regarding product displays, promotional programs, and advertising.
- Negotiate details of contracts and payments.
- Prepare drawings, estimates, and bids that meet specific customer needs.
- Obtain credit information about prospective customers.
- Forward orders to manufacturers.
- Arrange and direct delivery and installation of products and equipment.
- Buy products from manufacturers or brokerage firms and distribute them to wholesale and retail clients.
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- Access software — Citrix
- Accounting software — Fund accounting software; Intuit QuickBooks ; Sage 50 Accounting; Tax software
- Analytical or scientific software — IBM SPSS Statistics ; SAS
- Application server software — Oracle WebLogic Server
- Business intelligence and data analysis software — IBM Cognos Impromptu ; MicroStrategy ; Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition ; Qlik Tech QlikView (see all 5 examples)
- Calendar and scheduling software — Computerized call calendars; Computerized time management systems
- Cloud-based data access and sharing software — Dropbox; Google Drive ; Microsoft SharePoint ; Slack
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD
- Customer relationship management CRM software — HEAT Software GoldMine; Oracle Eloqua; Sage SalesLogix; Salesforce software (see all 25 examples)
- Data base management system software — Relational database management software
- Data base reporting software — SalesInSync
- Data base user interface and query software — Airtable; Blackboard software; Oracle software ; Yardi software (see all 7 examples)
- Data mining software — Google Analytics
- Desktop communications software — Eko; Skype
- Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign ; Contract Central; Microsoft Publisher
- Development environment software — Eclipse IDE ; Microsoft Visual Basic
- Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
- Electronic mail software — IBM Notes ; Microsoft Exchange ; Microsoft Outlook ; Mozilla Thunderbird
- Enterprise application integration software — Extensible markup language XML
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — Microsoft Dynamics GP ; NetSuite ERP ; Oracle Hyperion ; Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne (see all 10 examples)
- Enterprise system management software — IBM Power Systems software
- Expert system software — MASterMind
- Financial analysis software — Delphi Technology; Oracle E-Business Suite Financials
- Geographic information system — ESRI ArcGIS software ; Geographic information system GIS software
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Creative Cloud ; Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator ; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop ; SmugMug Flickr (see all 5 examples)
- Information retrieval or search software — LexisNexis
- Instant messaging software — Blink; GroupMe
- Internet browser software — Microsoft Internet Explorer; Mozilla Firefox; SeaMonkey
- Internet protocol IP multimedia subsystem software — Voice over internet protocol VoIP system software
- Medical software — Epic Systems ; Healthcare common procedure coding system HCPCS ; Medical condition coding software
- Network conferencing software — LogMeIn GoToWebinar
- Network security and virtual private network VPN equipment software — Virtual private networking VPN software
- Object or component oriented development software — Apache Groovy
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Apple macOS ; Handheld computer device software; Microsoft Windows ; UNIX
- Presentation software — Apple Keynote; Google Slides; Microsoft PowerPoint
- Process mapping and design software — Microsoft Visio
- Project management software — Google Classroom; Microsoft Project ; Microsoft Teams; Oracle Primavera Enterprise Project Portfolio Management
- Sales and marketing software — Google AdWords ; HubSpot software ; Marketo Marketing Automation
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Transaction security and virus protection software — McAfee; Symantec
- Video conferencing software — Cisco Systems Webex; FaceTime; Google Meet; LogMeIn GoToMeeting (see all 5 examples)
- Video creation and editing software — Screencastify; YouTube
- Web page creation and editing software — Adobe Systems Adobe Dreamweaver; Facebook ; LinkedIn ; Social media sites
- Web platform development software — Hypertext markup language HTML
- Word processing software — 3M Post-it App; Google Docs ; Microsoft OneNote; Microsoft Word (see all 5 examples)
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
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- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
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- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
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- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Negotiate prices or other sales terms.
- Purchase stocks of merchandise or supplies.
- Coordinate sales campaigns.
- Monitor inventories of products or materials.
- Set up merchandise displays.
- Stock products or parts.
- Answer customer questions about goods or services.
- Estimate costs or terms of sales.
- Explain technical product or service information to customers.
- Recommend products or services to customers.
- Advise customers on the use of products or services.
- Distribute promotional literature or samples to customers.
- Prepare sales or other contracts.
- Monitor market conditions or trends.
- Study product information to acquire professional knowledge.
- Maintain records of sales or other business transactions.
- Prepare financial documents, reports, or budgets.
- Develop proposals for current or prospective customers.
- Prepare drawings or diagrams of products or services.
- Contact current or potential customers to promote products or services.
- Demonstrate products to consumers.
- Verify customer credit information.
- Order materials, supplies, or equipment.
- Send information, materials or documentation.
- Identify potential customers.
- Arrange delivery of goods or services.
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- Contact With Others — 100% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Telephone — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Deal With External Customers — 92% responded “Extremely important.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 92% responded “Extremely important.”
- Electronic Mail — 80% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 89% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 71% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 72% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 67% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 65% responded “Extremely important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 66% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 44% responded “Very important results.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 61% responded “Every day.”
- Level of Competition — 43% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Time Pressure — 45% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 54% responded “Very important.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 45% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 39% responded “Extremely important.”
- Letters and Memos — 64% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 39% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 31% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 36% responded “Limited responsibility.”
- Physical Proximity — 61% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 30% responded “Never.”
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|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor’s degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|Not available||High school diploma or equivalent
|Not available||Bachelor’s degree|
|Not available||Some college, no degree|
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Interest code: CE Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
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- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
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- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$29.84 hourly, $62,070 annual|
|Employment (2020)||1,327,500 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Slower than average (1% to 5%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||137,800|
|Top industries (2020)||
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Equipment Marketing and Distribution Association
- Institute of Packaging Professionals
- Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry
- Manufacturers’ Agents National Association
- Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives
- Society of Plastics Engineers
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This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA.