Sales Representative

Sales representatives introduce the public or buyers to products or services and try to create an interest, which would lead to the placement of orders for the products or the utilisation of the company's services.

Sales representatives use samples and brochures to introduce the wares and services, explain their use and benefits, and answer questions with regard to the product and service on offer. They do not merely act as vendors, but are in fact companies’ ambassadors. It is their job to explain the sales policies, attitudes, aims and intentions of the firm.

Sales representatives are also liaison officers between a firm and it’s clients. A client can be anyone from an attorney to a mechanic. Sales representatives need to visit clients regularly to maintain a good rapport and positive attitude. It is therefore expected in some organisations that sales representatives will travel extensively. Companies usually provide sales representatives with vehicles or transport allowances to cover travelling expenses. Some reps may visit clients on foot or make use of public transport within the perimeters of large cities.

Personal Requirements

  • able to work well with people
  • sympathetic, friendly and pleasant
  • communicate fluently and clearly in at least two of the official languages
  • tact and diplomacy
  • persuasive and ambitious
  • good physical health and stamina

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate
In some cases, a higher qualification is required for in-service training

What to Study

There is no particular course of study or training required to enter this field. Most of the companies have their own in-service training programmes.

Diploma: N.Dip: Marketing - CPUT, VUT, DUT, TUT. Also most TVET colleges, e.g. Northlink, Boland, KZN Coastal, Flavius Mareka, S Cape College, Vuselela.

The Institute of Marketing Management offers a Diploma in Marketing Management (three years) and a Certificate in Sales Management, Salesmanship, Retail Marketing and Marketing Management (each one year). Various correspondence colleges provide these courses.

Many private institutions offer courses in Marketing e.g. Boston, Kaizen, Global School, College Campus, Rosebank College, Varsity College, AAA, ICESA, and Damelin.


  • retail stores
  • manufacturing firms
  • large and small businesses
  • wholesalers of such items as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, clothing, cleaning agents, kitchenware and foodstuffs

Further Information

Colleges and universities of technology that offer certificate courses in Salesmanship.

Institute of Marketing Management (IMM)
P O Box 91820
Auckland Park, 2006
Tel: 0861 466 476

Getting Started

  • volunteer to help out at church and community functions, such as jumble sales
  • try to get vacation work as a shop assistant
  • speak to a sales representative about the work

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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