Telesales Representative: Job Description, Requirements and Career Info
Telesales representatives are sales people who use the telephone to reach potential or existing customers. Those who sell their companies' products to other organizations can be called inside sales representatives. Selling done through phone calls to an individual might be referred to as telemarketing. Excellent communication and phone skills, persuasiveness, patience, persistence, and keyboarding skills are needed for either type of telesales position.
Telesales Representative Job Description
Telesales representatives make the customer interested in what they are selling and turn that interest into sales. They may make outbound calls or accept incoming calls to describe their products, explain the benefits of these products, and answer their customers' questions. Both inside sales and telemarketing job titles may fall under the telesales umbrella.
Inside Sales Representative Description
Sales representatives in business-to-business (B2B) sales may attend trade shows or conferences to keep up with the latest products and trends. However, because they work by telephone, telesales representatives spend most of their time at their desks, either in an office or working from home. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that inside sales representatives, also referred to as manufacturers representatives, may make 'cold' calls to try to start a relationship with a new customer (www.bls.gov). In some organizations, inside sales representatives work to make appointments for other outside sales representatives who meet in person with the client.
In addition to their sales duties, inside sales representatives may be responsible for administrative tasks such as preparing sales reports, scheduling appointments or researching the prices and products of a competitor.
Telemarketers Job Description
Using scripts, product knowledge, and communications skills, telemarketer or telesales representatives generate sales and interest. They work to engage the customer and ask questions that keep the conversation going. They may make the initial contact and hand the prospect off once interest is established or an appointment is made, or they might be responsible for the sale from start to finish. Quotas are often set which require a telemarketer to make a specified number of calls or reach a minimum dollar or sales number. Sales to individuals may require evening and weekend shifts.
Telesales representatives must have excellent communication skills, including a clear, confident speaking voice and a friendly rapport with customers. While they may work from a script, telesales reps must also have the ability to be flexible and creative in dealing with customers. They must represent the company in a positive light at all times; this calls for optimistic people who aren't easily upset and who naturally like working with others.
Sales representatives must be persuasive and highly motivated to make sales. Since it is often necessary to establish a relationship with a client before a successful sale, they must also be patient and persistent.
Telesales representatives are often required to input sales data into a computer while on the telephone with a customer, so keyboarding skills are required. Employers sometimes look for sales representatives to be able to type a certain number of words per minute.
While sales of scientific products or other products requiring technical knowledge may require a bachelor's degree, often there are no formal educational requirements for a career in telesales. A high school diploma or GED is frequently all that is required. It may be helpful to study business, economics, statistics, or other business courses while in high school.
The Manufacturers' Representative Education Research Foundation (MRERF) offers a certified sales professional (CSP) credential. CSP certification is earned by attending a four-day interactive program offered by the MRERF (www.mrerf.org). Participants complete written and verbal exams on the third and fourth days in order to be certified.
For this profession, the BLS reports on earnings according to the employer's type of organization or the product sold, rather than whether a sales job is conducted on the phone or in person.
According to the BLS, sales representatives for the scientific and technical segment of the wholesale and manufacturing category reported average earnings of $85,610 in May of 2013. However, those types of job were less common; about 20% of sales representatives worked in that sector in 2012. The average salary for all the other non-technical categories was a much lower $64,670 for the same period.
Telemarketers earned much less than sales representatives. Payscale.com reports that the 10th to 90th percentile range of earnings for telemarketers was $16,442 - $37,300, including bonuses and commissions.
While the sales calls themselves are often conducted during regular business hours, the other administrative tasks often assigned to the sales force can make for long days. Many telesales representatives work on weekends and in the evenings as well as during regular business hours.
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