Career Development

What Does a Route Sales Representative Do?

Find out what a route sales representative does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a route sales representative.

Route sales representatives are the people who bring you your favorite products. They travel from store to store, selling everything from candy bars to cars. Their job is to build relationships with retail buyers and convince them that their company’s products are worth carrying in stores.

Route sales reps typically work on commission, so they have a strong incentive to succeed. However, this also means that they face constant pressure to perform well—if they don’t sell enough, they won’t get paid.

Route Sales Representative Job Duties

A route sales representative typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Developing new customer relationships with businesses in the territory by following up on leads and meeting with potential clients
  • Establishing relationships with current clients to stay up to date on industry trends and learn about their needs
  • Meeting with prospective clients to discuss their business needs or selling new products or services to existing clients
  • Presenting products or services to clients in order to determine their needs and interests
  • Conducting site visits to potential client locations to assess their needs and recommend solutions
  • Meeting sales quotas by contacting potential clients to determine needs and offering solutions
  • Working with customers to determine their needs and find solutions that meet their requirements
  • Developing presentations and proposals to help clients make buying decisions
  • Communicating with clients regularly to ensure satisfaction with services provided

Route Sales Representative Salary & Outlook

Route sales representatives’ salaries vary depending on their level of experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $52,500 ($25.24/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $70,500 ($33.89/hour)

The employment of route sales representatives is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Employment growth will be limited by the increasing use of technology, such as mobile apps and automated voice recognition systems, which allow companies to communicate with customers without using a sales representative. However, some industries, such as retail trade, will continue to employ route sales representatives because of the personal nature of their services.

Route Sales Representative Job Requirements

A route sales representative typically needs the following:

Education: Most employers require a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent along with some post-secondary education. Some employers prefer a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as business, marketing or communications. Relevant coursework includes sales, marketing, business and communication.

Training & Experience: Most route sales representatives learn the specific products and services they will be selling during their on-the-job training. They may also receive training in the company’s computer systems and customer service standards.

Certifications & Licenses: While certifications are not required for a route sales representative role, they can help you impress potential employers by demonstrating that you are a motivated and ambitious professional.

Route Sales Representative Skills

Route sales representatives need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are essential in sales roles, as they allow you to interact with customers and colleagues in a professional manner. You can use your communication skills to explain product features, answer customer questions and provide feedback to your manager. You can also use your communication skills to build rapport with customers and develop long-lasting relationships.

Product knowledge: Product knowledge is the ability to explain the features and benefits of a product. As a route sales representative, you may be responsible for selling a variety of products, so it’s important to be knowledgeable about each one. You can learn about products by reading product information, attending training sessions and asking questions to your manager or other sales representatives.

Time management: Time management skills allow you to complete tasks within a certain time frame. As a route sales representative, you may have a set number of stops you need to make each day. Having good time management skills can help you plan your route so you can complete all of your tasks in a timely manner.

Problem-solving skills: Problem-solving skills are essential in sales because they allow you to find solutions to customer concerns. You can use problem-solving skills to help customers find the right product for their needs, find a payment plan that works for them and resolve any issues they may have with the product. You can also use problem-solving skills to help you find solutions to challenges that arise during your workday, such as finding a way to get to a customer’s location when your car breaks down or finding a way to get a customer to trust you when they are hesitant to buy a product.

Persuasive selling: Persuasive selling is the ability to convince customers to purchase a product or service. This is an important skill for a route sales representative because they must sell a large number of products each day. Route sales representatives must be able to explain the benefits of the products they’re selling and convince customers to buy them.

Route Sales Representative Work Environment

Route sales representatives typically work for companies that distribute food, beverages, or other products to stores or other businesses. They usually work independently, driving their own vehicles from one customer to the next. Route sales representatives typically work long hours, including early mornings, evenings, and weekends. They may work more than 40 hours per week, and overtime is often required. The job can be physically demanding, and route sales representatives must be able to lift and carry heavy boxes of products. They also must be able to drive for long periods of time. The work can be stressful, and route sales representatives must be able to deal with customer complaints and meet deadlines.

Route Sales Representative Trends

Here are three trends influencing how route sales representatives work. Route sales representatives will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of eCommerce

The growth of eCommerce is a trend that is having a major impact on the retail industry. As more and more people shop online, businesses are looking for ways to improve their customer experience and make it easier for customers to buy their products.

Route sales representatives can help businesses achieve this by providing excellent customer service and helping customers find what they are looking for. In addition, route sales representatives can also help businesses develop marketing strategies that will help them stand out from the competition.

More Focus on Digital Marketing

As digital marketing becomes more important, route sales representatives will need to focus on developing skills in this area.

Digital marketing involves using online channels such as social media, search engines, and email to reach potential customers. This allows businesses to reach a wider audience and get their products in front of more people. Route sales representatives who are skilled in digital marketing will be able to use these channels to their advantage and help their company grow.

A Greater Emphasis on Personalization

Customers today want to feel like they are getting a personalized experience when they interact with a business. This means that route sales representatives need to be able to provide a personalized experience for each customer they meet.

This can be done by learning about the customer’s needs and interests and then tailoring the conversation to those things. It can also be done by providing information that is relevant to the customer, such as coupons or product recommendations.

How to Become a Route Sales Representative

A career as a route sales representative can be both rewarding and lucrative. It’s important to start off on the right foot by choosing the right company, getting training, and building relationships with customers. As you progress in your career, you may want to consider specializing in a particular area of business or product. You could also move into a managerial role or become a sales trainer.

Related: How to Write a Route Sales Representative Resume

Advancement Prospects

A route sales representative (RSR) is a traveling salesperson who sells and services products to customers on a predetermined route. Many RSRs start their careers as merchandisers or stock clerks in retail establishments. Some may have previous sales experience, but it is not always necessary.

Most RSRs are promoted from within their companies. Promotions usually come after a period of successful job performance and may be based on factors such as length of service, sales volume, and customer satisfaction. Some RSRs eventually become sales managers. Others move into related occupations, such as marketing or advertising.

Route Sales Representative Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we work hard to be the best in the business, and that means having the best route sales representatives on our team. We’re looking for an experienced route sales representative to join our team and help us maintain our high standards of customer service and satisfaction. The ideal candidate will have experience in sales, customer service, and route management. He or she will be responsible for managing a assigned route, developing relationships with customers, and ensuring that all sales goals are met.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Achieve or exceed monthly sales targets by executing promotional and merchandising programs
  • Maintain regular contact with key customers to build and sustain strong relationships
  • Understand customer needs and develop creative solutions that meet those needs
  • Effectively communicate features, advantages, and benefits of products and services to customers
  • Stay up-to-date on product knowledge and industry trends
  • Adhere to company policies and procedures
  • Maintain a clean, organized, and professional appearance
  • Operate company vehicle in a safe and responsible manner
  • Load and unload merchandise from company vehicle
  • Deliver merchandise to customers in a timely and efficient manner
  • Collect payments and provide accurate change
  • Process paperwork accurately and in a timely manner

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Valid driver’s license with clean driving record
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds repeatedly throughout the day
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Strong time-management and organizational skills
  • Comfortable working independently

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or related field
  • 2+ years of sales experience
  • Experience working with route management software
  • Proven success achieving sales goals
  • Familiarity with the territory/region

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