Duties of a Salesperson

A salesperson calls on companies and presents her products and services.
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A salesperson calls on companies and presents her products and services.

Salespersons are the revenue generators for companies. Whether they work as inside or outside representatives, their primary responsibilities are selling products or services and generating profits. Salespersons also have several other key duties. If you can picture yourself hitting the streets and closing sales, you might be performing these duties like other successful salespersons.

Generating and Qualifying Leads

Sales reps have current customers they call on periodically. But as a salesperson, you must also find new prospects for your widgets or stellar consulting service. This requires lead generation, which can be found in telephone directories, through phone list distributors and by attending trade shows and conferences, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Leads are consumers or businesses who are most likely to purchase your products or services. But it isn't enough to just generate the leads, you must also qualify them. Make sure Smith's Clothing store sells lingerie before approaching them in person.

Calling on Customers

Another key responsibility of a salesperson is calling on customers. Inside sales reps do this by phone. An outside sales rep must hit the pavement and visit customers at their locations. While calling on customers as a rep, you may show your products and discuss key features and benefits. A flashy laptop presentation can also work wonders in generating a customer's interest. Sales manuals and portfolios are also used successfully on sales calls.

Negotiating Prices and Selling

Your main responsibility as a salesperson is to sell. And while some customers may buy immediately, you will need to convince others before closing sales. Often, a sale comes down to price negotiation. A business owner may like your products but not want to pay the listed price. As a salesperson, you know the wholesale cost of products and have some room to negotiate. A smaller commission because you lowered the price is better than losing a sale.

Completing Paperwork

Paperwork can be boring and burdensome. But salespersons must complete their paperwork to get credit for sales. Paperwork includes filling out sales orders and daily sales reports. Some sales reps, such as those selling ads, may also be required to select artwork or logos for advertisers. If you're a salesperson, completing paperwork in a timely manner is as essential to your success as getting paid.

2016 Salary Information for Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives earned a median annual salary of $61,270 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives earned a 25th percentile salary of $42,360, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $89,010, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,813,500 people were employed in the U.S. as wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives.

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