How to Be a Good Sales Rep

Sales reps might sell in meetings, retail settings, by phone or online.

Sales reps might sell in meetings, retail settings, by phone or online.

The field of sales is wide-reaching -- and there are sales reps in almost every industry. Someone has to sell the products and services that an individual or company has to offer. Becoming a good sales rep takes a knack for communication, a lot of drive and knowledge of what your customer wants.

Know your product or service. The better you understand everything you possibly can about the products and/or services you're selling, the better you can pitch them to customers while maintaining an air of confidence. If you don’t have enough knowledge about what you’re selling, ask your organization for additional training -- and shadow one of the more successful reps to learn his techniques.

Know your customer or client. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and try to understand why she would want to purchase your product. Highlight key reasons why you believe she should go with the products or services you're representing -- and back these reasons up with data, if applicable, to present to your client. Prepare to answer any questions your customer might have about what you're selling.

Get your customer to like you. The more rapport you gain with your customers, the more trust they gain in you because they'll start to feel like you won't mislead them -- and they'll also enjoy talking with you. Try to establish a connection with your customer, perhaps by finding something you have in common or by giving her a sincere compliment. When you do this, you become both memorable and trustworthy, making your client's experience a positive one.

Target potential customers you think might best benefit from what you are selling. Keep at it by following all leads and making cold calls if you don't have a lead, contacting key individuals to see if you can get a foot in the door to discuss your product. Ask if you can meet in person if local -- and follow up anytime someone expresses an interest in your product or service. Network to maximize your circle of contacts.

Get in front of your customer with free samples of your products and services. When customers can touch and feel what you're selling, they might be more apt to purchase. Always look professional, dress appropriately, and if samples are not appropriate, bring giveaways, like pens or magnets, that might last longer than your sales pitch.


  • Keep at it. Many sales reps take a year or longer to see success, but the fruits of your labor are often extremely profitable. It may take a customer years to decide to purchase your products and services.
  • Learn negotiation skills. A good purchaser might attempt to negotiate -- so you need to know your profit margin and how to negotiate.

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About the Author

Francine Richards is a licensed multi-state insurance agent with years of human resources and insurance industry experience. Her work has appeared on Blue Cross Blue Shield websites and newsletters, the Houston Chronicle and The Nest. Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Maryland.

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