Education and Training: High school diploma or equivalent preferred
Average Salary: $70,000
Job Outlook: Good
A sales consultant typically works in wholesale, manufacturing, or a technical industry. Unlike a retail sales clerk, a consultant will often work with either larger orders or more expensive products, and much of the work may involve large order contracts from one company to another. Sales consultant job descriptions, salaries, bonuses, and work environments can vary dramatically, though, depending on the industry in which the consultant works.
Generally, a sales consultant is responsible for contacting potential customers, sometimes through cold-calling, and for helping them understand the company’s products. Often, consultants are paid on a commission basis, so it is in their best interests to promote the company’s products as well as possible. Consultants, with the training provided by their company, must stay on top of the latest product developments for their company and their industry. They must also keep records of customer interactions, create their own sales techniques, and learn to educate customers on their company’s products through pamphlets, demonstrations, and other means.
Education and Training Requirements
Because many sales consultants work in technical industries or for wholesalers, many employers prefer a college degree in business, sales, marketing, or related fields. However, plenty of successful sales consultants have nothing but a high school diploma and an excellent personality for connecting with customers and selling a company’s products.
Typically, much training takes place on the job. Companies often provide training about their particular services and products so that sales consultants are able to educate potential customers about these things. Trainings in sales techniques may also be provided. The most successful sales consultants allow experience to train them, as well, learning new sales techniques based on their own interactions with customers.
Getting the Job
Sales consultants can typically apply directly for jobs they are seeking. Consultants may benefit from presenting a portfolio of sales experience, if such is available.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development
Sales consultant jobs are expected to grow at about an average rate, with jobs in technical industries, such as electronic and medical devices, growing a little faster than average. The economy has a big impact on sales consultant job availability, however.
Often, sales consultants keep their own titles but are promoted by being given more lucrative accounts or territories that result in better commissions. Some consultants with leadership qualities advance to supervisory and management positions, and still others move into other areas of retail and wholesale, including marketing and advertising. Larger companies are more likely to promote sales consultants from within, and many successful consultants start their own business by selling a self-made product or working through a franchise.
Working Conditions and Environment
Working conditions vary greatly for sales consultants. Some do most of their sales over the phone and internet, and work in a cubicle-style office environment. Others may work door to door, or may at least travel to visit current customers with large accounts. Typically, consultants work a normal nine to five, weekday shift, though this can also vary by industry.
Salary and Benefits
Because most sales consultants depend on commission for at least some of their earnings, salary can vary dramatically. Independent consultants will only make commission, while those who work for larger companies often make a base salary plus commission. The median income for sales consultants is about $70,000 a year, but it can range from $35,000 to $133,000, again, depending on the industry and the success of the individual consultant.
Benefits can also vary with employment type and industry. Some sales consultants are allowed health benefits and retirement packages, and many of those with base salaries get paid time off. Independent or part-time sales consultants generally do not have the option of any of these benefits.
Where to Go for More Information
Here are a few places to look for more information on sales consultant employment:
Manufacturers’ Agents National Association
16 A Journey, Ste. 200
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation
8329 Cole St.
Arvada, CO, 80005