How to Become a Sporting Goods Sales Rep

How to Become a Sporting Goods Sales Rep: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a sporting goods sales rep, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a sporting goods sales rep:


Those who become sporting goods sales reps are typically self-confident and self-motivated individuals. They enjoy getting out of the office and interacting with people.


Sporting goods sales reps are typically quite keen on being rewarded fairly for their time, efforts and results. Since sales representatives often work on commission, they must be able to persevere and stay positive during periods of low sales, and they must be willing to face rejection.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a sporting goods sales rep. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Sporting Goods Sales Rep

There are no governmental or industry regulations in Canada or the United States that dictate educational requirements needed to become a sporting goods sales rep; any such requirements are at the discretion of the employer.


Typically, sporting goods manufacturers prefer to hire candidates with a post-secondary education in a field related to marketing, business or business administration, although they often accept related career experience in place of education. 




Sporting Goods Sales Rep Job Description

Sporting goods sales reps are responsible for selling sporting goods to retailers, distributors or individuals. Sporting goods sales representatives sometimes work directly for a single manufacturer and other times work independently, selling sporting goods from various manufacturers.



Sporting Goods Sales Reps Job Duties

• Train the employees or the customer in the usage, operation and maintenance of the sporting goods

• Send sales orders to manufacturer

• Negotiate with shelf positioning with retail merchants in order to improve product exposure

• Prepare sales budgets and other reports

• Keep sales records and prepare period sales reports

• Monitor market conditions, product innovations, and competitors' products, prices, and sales

• Respond to customer questions and inquiries regarding prices, availability, product uses, and credit terms

• Contact product retailers to schedule product demonstrations and explain product features

• Negotiate details of contracts and payments

• Prepare sales contracts and order forms



Who Hires Sporting Goods Sales Reps?

Sporting goods sales reps are hired by companies that manufacture and/or distribute sporting goods. Sporting goods sales reps may typically be hired by these companies in one of two capacities:


• Exclusively for a manufacturer or distributor of sporting goods

• Independently (Representing many manufacturers or distributors)


Those that work exclusively for sporting goods manufacturers or distributors typically have more job stability, as they are working with a brand large enough to support an exclusive representative. They may also have a higher base salary that their independent counterparts, as well as health and other benefits.


Sporting goods sales representatives that work independently have the advantage of controlling the products they market to customers and potential customers, and they may have a higher income potential as they are more likely offered a higher commission split than representatives that work for a larger company.


How to Get a Job as a Sporting Goods Sales Rep

There are many ways to find a job as a sporting goods sales rep. Some of the various methods and resources include:


• General job board search

• “Careers” Section of sporting goods manufacturers websites

• Contacting sporting goods distributors or manufacturers and asking about opportunities

• Getting a job in administration with a sporting goods manufacturer or distributor and being promoted into a sales role




Experience Needed to Become a Sporting Goods Sales Rep

Many employers will accept relevant work experience in place, or in addition to, formal post-secondary education. Having experience in the sports industry helps potential sales reps understand the industry, including the needs of athletes and teams, the needs of administrators, the needs of retailers, and the needs of manufacturers. Many employers will also offer sporting goods sales rep positions to candidates outside of the sports industry if they have sales experience in other industries, as skills in sales can largely be translated across industries.


Relevant work experience could include roles such as:


• Working in retail sales of sporting goods

• Working in retail management in sporting goods

• Administrative experience in sales support

• Working as a product developer

• Working in sports equipment marketing

• Extensive experience as an athlete (amateur or professional)

• Sales experience in other industries



Sporting Goods Sales Rep Salary

The salary level of sporting goods sales reps can vary greatly depending on factors such as whether or not they earn commission, their job performance, the product or service they are selling, whether or not they receive bonuses, their level of experience and many others.


Sporting Goods Sales Rep Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Sales Representatives - Wholesale Trade (Non-Technical) occupational group earn an average wage of between $21.97 and $44.91 per hour. The mean wage for this group is $30.96 per hour.


Sporting Goods Sales Rep Canada: According to Service Canada, the average income form workers in the Sales Representatives - Wholesale Trade (Non-Technical) occupational group is $51,439 per year.


Sporting Goods Sales Rep Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans in the occupational group Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing is $56,620 per year.



Skills Needed to Become a Sporting Goods Sales Rep

In order to become effective in a career as a sporting goods sales rep, you need to posses a certain set of skills and personal attributes, including:


• Must exude confidence, as clients perceive this as a confidence in the product or service they are being sold

• Must be able to make strong relationships with vendors

• Proven negotiation skills

• Must be willing and able to attend trade shows

• Ability to recognize trends in the marketplace for specific products

• Able to handle rejection, as there will be periods of time where they have a hard time selling

• Have thorough knowledge of the market they serve, as well as the products they are selling

• Be highly organized, as they may have to look after many client accounts during their workweek

• Listen to the needs of clients and customers, and be able to communicate how their product or service will fulfill them

• Comfortable dealing with individuals from all different walks of life



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Career Advancement for Sporting Goods Sales Reps

Sporting goods sales reps that are successful in their work activities and display excellent skills, knowledge and competencies have a variety of advancement opportunities available to them. These advancement opportunities may take the form of transfers to larger sales territories, or territories with greater sales opportunities, greater annual expenditures, or a greater salary or commission share.


Representatives that are employed by manufacturers or wholesalers may be promoted to sales supervisor, district manager, or vice-president of sales. Those that are independent representatives may take on a larger client base as a result of their success.



Careers Similar to Sporting Goods Sales Rep

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Sporting Goods Sales Rep, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


District Sales Manager


Sales and Marketing Director

Sales Manager

Sales Representative



References: Sporting Goods Sales Rep Career

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a sporting goods sales rep.



Occupations in Alberta:Sales Representative (Wholesale, Nontechnical).” (August 1, 2010). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 14, 2020.

Sales:Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives.” (September 4, 2019). Bureau of Labor Statistics - United States Government website. Retrieved January 14, 2020.

Membership:Division for Sales Agents.” (n.d.). National Sporting Goods Association website. Retrieved January 14, 2020.



Please Note: Some of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.




Scholarships for Becoming a Sporting Goods Sales Rep

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Sporting Goods Sales Rep can be found on the following pages:


Exercise Science Scholarships

Kinesiology Scholarships

Marketing Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Sporting Goods Sales Rep: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a sporting goods sales rep. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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