Summary Report for:
41-4012.00 - 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 Executive, Account Manager, Outside Sales, Outside Sales Representative, Sales, Sales Consultant, Sales Director, Sales Rep, Sales Representative, Salesman
Tasks | Tools & Technology | 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
- Contact regular and prospective customers to demonstrate products, explain product features, and solicit orders.
- Recommend products to customers, based on customers' needs and interests.
- Answer customers' questions about products, prices, availability, product uses, and credit terms.
- 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.
- Provide customers with product samples and catalogs.
- Identify prospective customers by using business directories, following leads from existing clients, participating in organizations and clubs, and attending trade shows and conferences.
- Prepare drawings, estimates, and bids that meet specific customer needs.
- 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.
- Obtain credit information about prospective customers.
- Train customers' employees to operate and maintain new equipment.
- Prepare sales contracts and order forms.
- Negotiate details of contracts and payments.
- Forward orders to manufacturers.
- Negotiate with retail merchants to improve product exposure, such as shelf positioning and advertising.
- Plan, assemble, and stock product displays in retail stores, or make recommendations to retailers regarding product displays, promotional programs, and advertising.
- Check stock levels and reorder merchandise as necessary.
- 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.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Desktop computers
- Laser printers
- Liquid crystal display projector — Light-emitting diode LED projectors
- Mobile phones — Mobile telephones
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Personal computers
Technology used in this occupation:
- Accounting software — Intuit QuickBooks software; Sage 50 Accounting
- Business intelligence and data analysis software — IBM Cognos Impromptu; MicroStrategy software; Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition; Tableau software
- Calendar and scheduling software — Computerized call calendars; Computerized time management systems
- Customer relationship management CRM software — FrontRange Solutions Goldmine software; NetSuite NetCRM; Soffront CRM Portal; Tigerpaw software (see all 24 examples)
- Data base reporting software — SalesInSync software
- Data base user interface and query software — Database software; FileMaker Pro software; Microsoft Access; Oracle software
- Data mining software — Google Analytics
- Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign; Contract Central software; Microsoft Publisher
- 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 software; Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne; Oracle PeopleSoft software; SAP software (see all 6 examples)
- Expert system software — Mastermind software
- Financial analysis software — Delphi software
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Flash; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software
- Information retrieval or search software — LexisNexis software
- Internet browser software — Microsoft Internet Explorer; Mozilla Firefox; SeaMonkey
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Operating system software — Apple Macintosh OS/X
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Project management software — Microsoft SharePoint software
- Sales and marketing software — Google AdWords
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
- 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.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- 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.
- 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.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- 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.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- 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.
- 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 there is a problem.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- 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).
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- 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).
- 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.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Communicating with Persons Outside 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.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- 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.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- 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.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- 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.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Detailed Work Activities
- Negotiate prices or other sales terms.
- Identify potential customers.
- Monitor market conditions or trends.
- Maintain records of sales or other business transactions.
- Develop proposals for current or prospective customers.
- Prepare sales or other contracts.
- Explain technical product or service information to customers.
- Answer customer questions about goods or services.
- Advise customers on the use of products or services.
- Prepare financial documents, reports, or budgets.
- Contact current or potential customers to promote products or services.
- Recommend products or services to customers.
- Arrange delivery of goods or services.
- Estimate costs or terms of sales.
- Purchase stocks of merchandise or supplies.
- Demonstrate products to consumers.
- Distribute promotional literature or samples to customers.
- Verify customer credit information.
- Monitor inventories of products or materials.
- Coordinate sales campaigns.
- Set up merchandise displays.
- Stock products or parts.
- Study product information to acquire professional knowledge.
- Prepare drawings or diagrams of products or services.
- Telephone — 98% responded “Every day.”
- Electronic Mail — 90% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 79% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 80% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 67% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 50% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Deal With External Customers — 69% responded “Extremely important.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Level of Competition — 52% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 37% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 44% responded “Very important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 35% responded “Important results.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 50% responded “Very important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 35% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 71% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Letters and Memos — 36% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 35% responded “More than half the time.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 48% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 45% responded “Very important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 36% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 44% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 41% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 39% responded “Limited responsibility.”
|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 accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|22||High school diploma or equivalent|
Interest code: CE
- 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.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- 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.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$26.45 hourly, $55,020 annual|
|Employment (2012)||1,481,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Average (8% to 14%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||420,700|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
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.
- Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.
- Manufacturers' Agents National Association (MANA) , P.O. Box 3467, Laguna Hills, CA 92654-3467. Phone: (949) 859-4040.
- Manufacturers' Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF) , 8329 Cole St., Arvada, CO 80005. Phone: (303) 463-1801. Fax: (303) 463-3198.