Sales representatives sell goods and services to businesses, government agencies and other organizations rather than directly to consumers. Manufacturers and wholesalers rely heavily on sales reps – also called manufacturers’ representatives or manufacturers’ agents – to market merchandise, which might be anything from laboratory equipment to soft drinks. Two traits critical to succeeding as a sales rep: an enthusiastic personality and a tolerance for travel. Sales reps are expected to attend trade shows and conferences to keep abreast of evolving products and changing customer needs. They might also be responsible for administrative duties such as analyzing sales statistics or filing expense accounts.
Job opportunities for sales representatives generally depends on the growth of the economy. New and specialized products also lead to a boost in hiring of sales representatives. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 8.9 percent employment growth for sales representatives by 2022. An additional 132,000 jobs will need to be filled within that time period.
The median annual salary for a sales representative was $54,410 in 2013, according to the BLS. The best-paid 10 percent made roughly $113,810, while the lowest-paid earned approximately $27,030. The field’s most highly compensated professionals usually work for companies specializing in footwear manufacturing and computer systems design. Top-paying metropolitan areas for this occupation include the Massachusetts cities of New Bedford, Boston and Framingham.