what is a sales representative?

As a sales representative, you participate in improving a company's sales and product promotion. Since you have experience in the sales industry and a well-developed network, you facilitate negotiations and persuade your contacts to purchase your client's products. You also close deals effortlessly using a structured and proven process.

Your job involves working with sales and marketing teams to analyse opportunities. You develop marketing strategies to meet targets and goals. You are responsible for nurturing a company's relationship with clients, so you train sales representatives to drive sales and close deals.

As a sales representative, you help different companies to improve their sales strategies. Alternatively, you can focus on a specific organisation and use your skills to analyse market statistics and develop ways to enhance brand awareness and beat competitors. Your role involves supervising and advising the company on potential improvements to its sales strategy.

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average sales representative salary

The average salary of a sales representative in New Zealand is $83,500 per year. In an entry-level position, a sales representative receives a remuneration package of $47,000 annually. With better experience and qualifications, your salary can increase to $120,000 yearly. Some companies have performance-based remuneration packages for achieving set targets.

what factors influence the salary of a sales representative?

As a sales representative, your earnings depend on your experience and qualifications. You have minimal skills and expertise when you are new to the role. Your experience influences your earning potential due to the hands-on skills you bring to the role. Your qualifications are an added advantage and enable you to negotiate a higher salary.

The company size and location also determine your salary. For instance, when you work for a large company, you will likely perform complex responsibilities and earn more. In smaller companies, your earnings are lower due to the limited resources. The products that your employer is selling can also influence your remuneration. You receive a higher salary when you are responsible for selling high-value items. Working in metro areas may also raise your salary expectations due to the high cost of living.

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types of sales representatives

Some of the types of sales representatives include:

  • independent sales representatives: an independent sales representative is an external expert who can help client companies achieve their sales goals. Your role is to assess your client's current sales and marketing strategies and study market statistics. You recommend the best promotional strategies for company products and train sales representatives in closing deals.
  • automotive sales representative: you are an expert in selling vehicles and automobiles. Your job is to study demographics and identify groups likely to buy a specific type of vehicle. You also design sales strategies for specific target groups.
  • real estate representatives: you assist estate agents with closing deals and selling properties by devising a sales and marketing strategy that targets different buyers.
  • sales and marketing representatives: as a sales representative, you harmonise the functions of sales and marketing teams and ensure they work towards the same goals. For instance, you help companies develop marketing strategies that complement sales techniques to ensure the customer receives a cohesive message from the company.
Female with blue blazer holding a touch pen and a tablet, sitting at a desk
Female with blue blazer holding a touch pen and a tablet, sitting at a desk

working as a sales representative

As a sales representative, you help customers make purchase decisions and negotiate contract terms. Discover the daily duties, responsibilities and opportunities for career progression.


education and skills

There are no specific requirements to become a sales representative as you gain skills on the job. However, a certificate, diploma or degree in business studies, sales or marketing may be useful. 

sales representative skills and competencies

As a sales representative, you require the following skills and competencies:

  • positive attitude: pitching doesn't always go as planned, and you may fail to secure clients. A positive attitude helps you see beyond failures and find creative ideas for the next client. Your positive attitude is valuable for face-to-face interactions since customers can easily build rapport with positive people.
  • charisma: as a sales representative, you are expected to inspire and engage other sales representatives. Since you initiate conversations with potential customers, ensuring the conversations put them at ease is essential.
  • research skills: as a sales representative, it is crucial to understand your audience and your products and services. When you know the details of the products, you can highlight their benefits and superiority over competitor products to promote sales.
  • relationship-building skills: as a sales representative, your relationship-building skills help you connect with your potential clients. Your natural ability to connect with prospective clients makes it easier to sell them your products.

FAQs about working as a sales representative

Here are the most asked questions about working as a sales representative:

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