Responsibilities and Tasks

The main tasks of a sales agent include:

 

  • Making client visits to present and promote products and services

  • Conducting negotiations for sales contracts

  • Working to ensure that negotiations go smoothly and lead to the purchase of the product or services in question

  • Providing after-sales support

  • Maintaining contact with clients with a view to securing further sales/orders

  • Identifying potential new clients

How to Become a Sales Agent - Training and Requirements

There are no specific educational requirements to become a sales agent, because the single most important skill is a talent for making sales. A high school diploma with a business focus (or even a degree in a business-related subject) may in some cases be useful, but is unlikely to be a prerequisite.

Training courses for aspiring sales agents and sales representatives also exist that are aimed at anybody interested in a career in sales.

In addition to motivation and a natural aptitude for selling, sales agents also need a range of specific competencies, including a knowledge of communication and marketing techniques and negotiation strategies, customer service expertise, familiarity with the legislative and regulatory framework governing business activities and, of course, in-depth knowledge of the products and services they are selling and of the market and geographical territory.

 

While prior experience in a sales or distribution environment is always welcomed by prospective employers, in many cases, companies will provide new recruits with classroom based and on-the-job training focusing on a range of technical and commercial issues, as well as refresher courses to ensure that their sales agents have up-to-date knowledge of the company’s products and services.

Sales Agent Skills and Qualifications

Sales agents typically require the following skills:

 

  • Strong business sense and ability to reach sales targets

  • Experience of B2B sales

  • Knowledge of the product sector and geographical territory

  • Ability to manage and grow a client portfolio

  • Familiarity with common computer software applications

  • Excellent interpersonal skills

  • Determination and ambition

  • Organizational and time-management skills

 

Many job advertisements for sales agents also require candidates to have their own car.

Sales Agent Career Path

The single biggest success factor in the career of a sales agent is their ability to generate business for the company hiring them. The economic terms a sales agent is offered, as outlined in the agency agreement they enter into, will in fact be determined in part by their previous sales performance and their success in acquiring new clients.

Talented sales agents will thus have the opportunity to obtain bigger and more profitable sales territories, negotiate greater autonomy over price-setting and earn more lucrative bonuses for hitting their targets. The very best agents can expect to be promoted to coordinating roles, such as Area Manager, in which they will be responsible for managing the work of a team of agents within a specific territory.

Top Reasons to Work as a Sales Agent

A career as a sales agent is ideal for motivated, dynamic and ambitious individuals with a strong business sense, who want to be their own boss and crave the independence that comes with being self-employed.

Another positive aspect is the relative ease of access, given that the profession has no specific educational requirements. What are essential for a successful sales agent, however, are natural qualities such as strong powers of persuasion, sociability and charisma, making the job suitable for anybody with an inclination for working with people, who finds it difficult to be cooped up in an office all day long.