Graduate Job Profile - Sales Executive

Sales executives are responsible for winning new business. The most important qualities to be successful in sales are empathy, ego and drive. Sales people identify the needs of potential customers and create a solution to persuade them to buy products or services. A well as finding new business, sales representatives are responsible for maintaining existing accounts and ensuring existing customers are getting the service they want.

As a sales person you will either be based internally or you will be a field sales representative. They usually work within a specific area, calling in person or by telephone to make appointments to show products or services, negotiating sales and after-sales services. Other duties may include dealing with records, accounts and paperwork.

Many sales executives progress to senior or national account managers within larger organisations. Technical sales executives may come from an engineering background and will be involved in a more consultative sell.

The core skills a sales executive needs are excellent communication skills, commercial awareness and self-motivation. You will gain knowledge of company products and those of competitors through training, but you need the ability to persuade and negotiate to win customers or sales. Sales executives work on their own initiative. They are self-confident and tenacious.

Product training and sales training is often provided in most companies but on-the-job training and shadowing is also common practice. The are several professional qualifications for selling. The Institute of Sales and Marketing Management offers a range of recognised professional qualifications at foundation, certificate and advanced level.

Graduates going into sales can expect to earn a basic salary of £14,000 - £18,000 with the opportunity to earn commission which can be up to £35,000. For field sales companies will usually provide a company car within your package. Progression to national account manager or sales director is possible with experience and a proven track record in achieving results and hitting targets. Salary potential is endless depending on the company, industry and your own drive and ability.

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