Sales Representative

Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service

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    Required Education, Credentials, and Licenses

    • High school diploma or GED

    Preferred Education and Credentials

    • Post-secondary HVAC/R training or college degree (associate or bachelor’s)
    • Knowledge of HVAC/R products and markets
    • Driver’s license


    • Sales
    • Communication and presentation
    • Customer service
    • Build strong relationships
    • Problem-solving
    • Organization
    • Time management
    • Teamwork


    Sales representatives sell manufacturers’ and wholesalers’ products to business customers by managing a portfolio of client accounts to grow sales and develop new contracts.

    Strong communication and interpersonal skills are essential when sales representatives conduct outreach to existing and prospective customers, whether it be over the phone, during in-person client meetings, or networking at trade shows or professional organization meetings. They need a customer service-oriented attitude to actively listen to and understand the needs of customers, including a problem-solving aptitude to address those needs promptly. In the HVAC/R field, that may entail influencing clients’ design specifications and equipment choices. Sales representatives must have knowledge of the goods they sell and strong presentation skills to explain products’ features and benefits (including advantages over competitors’ products), demonstrate how products work, and answer customers’ questions. Sales representatives present product promotions, quote and negotiate prices, and prepare sales contracts to complete transactions. They may also have a role in developing their employer’s sales strategies.

    Sales representatives need to have strong organizational and time management skills to effectively service multiple client accounts simultaneously. They should have a basic level of comfort using computers to document their work. Sales representatives need to have a team-oriented mindset as they often collaborate with other departments in their company to ensure they meet all customers’ needs. Retaining existing clientele and establishing new customer accounts is critical to building a strong customer base that will support maximizing company profits and market share.

    Sales representatives often need to travel to meet with vendors and clients; those who manage accounts for larger sales regions tend to travel more frequently than sales representatives responsible for smaller regions. Sales representatives typically work full-time, and many work additional hours during evenings and weekends to meet sales targets, which can be stressful.

    Job Outlook

    According to the New York State Department of Labor, there are approximately 71,000 representatives selling non-technical and non-scientific products for wholesalers or manufacturers in New York State and opportunities for employment are expected to be favorable through 2028 – the Department projects this occupation to grow by 380 jobs between 2018 and 2028.

    Entering the Field

    Sales representatives need to have a high school diploma or GED, and some positions require post-secondary HVAC/R training, an associate degree, or even a bachelor’s degree if the products sold require technical knowledge in special areas or job duties include the development of system design specifications. Sales representatives without prior experience receive on-the-job training within their first year of employment. Some positions within this occupation are targeted to candidates with three to five years of experience, and job duties may include responsibility for overseeing larger regions or accounts. Within the HVAC/R field, employers may give preference to applicants who already have market and product knowledge gained through prior experience in sales or with HVAC/R contractors. Installers and service technicians, for example, can successfully transition into a sales role because they have first-hand experience with HVAC/R products and their applications, as well as knowledge of customers’ experiences with various products. They can apply this technical expertise and consumer awareness to build strong connections with clients and inform their HVAC/R system design and equipment choices.

    Some workers prepare to become sales representatives by earning certification(s) from the Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF). MRERF offers training to become a Certified Professional Manufacturer’s Representative or a Certified Professional Sales Consultant, formerly titled Certified Sales Professional; these are not typically required by employers. A driver’s license may be needed for sales representatives that must travel to meet in-person with clients.


    In New York State, the median wage for sales representatives is approximately $68,400. Entry-level workers earn about $40,100, and experienced workers earn about $104,100.

    Annual Wage (Q1 2021 dollars, rounded to 100s) – Statewide and by Labor Market Region

    New York State$40,100$68,400$104,100
    Capital Region$41,700$67,700$94,900
    Central New York$40,400$64,400$89,300
    Finger Lakes$34,500$62,900$92,200
    Hudson Valley$41,700$71,400$117,500
    Long Island$47,200$75,700$119,800
    Mohawk Valley$38,100$60,100$79,700
    New York City$39,100$68,900$104,500
    North Country$36,400$56,100$75,500
    Southern Tier$40,200$62,300$83,600
    Western New York$41,200$64,200$89,000

    Source: New York State Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Survey, SOC Code 41-4012 (Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products)


    HVAC/R sales representatives may be employed by wholesale and manufacturing companies that supply HVAC/R products and related services, as well as contractors that work on building equipment systems (including boilers and HVAC/R systems).

    The top three employers with the most online job advertisements in each region in 2020 are listed below.

    Capital Region

    • American Energy Care
    • Service Experts LLC
    • VP Supply

    Central New York

    • Blake Technology Corporation
    • Emerson Swan Incorporated
    • Carrier Enterprise

    Finger Lakes

    • Johnson Controls Incorporated
    • EMCOR Group
    • Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning

    Hudson Valley

    • Bruni & Campisi Incorporated
    • Hudson Technologies Incorporated
    • Slomins Incorporated

    Long Island

    • Slomins Incorporated
    • Ferguson
    • Gold Star Plumbing

    Mohawk Valley

    • Samsung America, Inc.
    • Danfoss
    • EDOS Manufacturers’ Reps, Inc.

    New York City

    • Ferguson
    • Johnson Controls Incorporated
    • HomeServe USA

    North Country (All ads posted in 2020 were from a single employer.)

    • Hajoca Corporation

    Southern Tier

    • EverCommerce
    • Modern Marketing Concepts Incorporated
    • Ferguson

    Western New York

    • Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning
    • Irr Supply Centers, Incorporated
    • VP Supply Corporation

    Source: Burning Glass Technologies: Labor Insight™. 2021.

    Labor Unions

    Unionization rates tend to be low for workers in sales jobs. Sales representatives who do belong to a union may be members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) or the larger United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which RWDSU is part of. Check with local communities to see if these unions or others have active local chapters whose members work in the HVAC/R field as sales representatives.

    Education and Training Programs

    Some sales representative jobs are available to workers with a high school degree (or equivalent), but others do require post-secondary education in the HVAC/R trade or in sales. Schools throughout New York State offer technical training programs related to the HVAC/R field or degrees in marketing that can prepare workers to become sales representatives. Schools offering degrees specifically in marketing are listed in the table below. Other schools may offer business degrees with a concentration in marketing. Check with local educational institutions for program availability.

    Educational InstitutionDepartmentCertificateAssociateBachelorMasterPhD
    Capital Region
    Hudson Valley Community CollegeApplied TechnologiesNoYesNoNoNo
    Hudson Valley Community CollegeBusiness and Criminal JusticeNoYesNoNoNo
    SUNY AdirondackManagement, Marketing & EntrepreneurshipNoYesNoNoNo
    Central New York
    Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCESCertificate ProgramsYesNoNoNoNo
    Finger Lakes
    Finger Lakes Community CollegeMarketingNoYesNoNoNo
    Monroe 2-Orleans BOCESHeating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and RefrigerationYesNoNoNoNo
    Monroe Community CollegeHeating, Ventilation & Air ConditioningYesYesNoNoNo
    Rochester Institute of TechnologyMarketingNoNoYesNoNo
    Hudson Valley
    Dutchess Community CollegeBusiness, Aviation, and ConstructionYesYesNoNoNo
    Rockland Community CollegeSchool of Business and Professional StudiesNoYesNoNoNo
    SUNY Westchester Community CollegeBusinessNoYesNoNoNo
    Long Island
    Electrical Training CenterElectrical & HVAC/RYesNoNoNoNo
    Farmingdale State CollegeBusiness ManagementYesNoNoNoNo
    Long Island UniversitySchool of BusinessNoNoYesNoNo
    Suffolk County Community CollegeHeating, Ventilation, AC and Refrigeration TechnologyYesYesNoNoNo
    Suffolk County Community CollegeBusinessNoYesNoNoNo
    Mohawk Valley
    Fulton-Montgomery Community CollegeHeating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration TechnologyYesNoNoNoNo
    Fulton-Montgomery Community CollegeBusiness: MarketingNoYesNoNoNo
    Herkimer County Community CollegeMarketingNoYesNoNoNo
    Mohawk Valley Community CollegeSchool of STEMYesYesNoNoNo
    New York City
    Apex Technical SchoolHVAC & RefrigerationYesNoNoNoNo
    Baruch College (CUNY)Allen G. Aaronson Department of Marketing and International BusinessNoNoYesYesYes
    Fordham UniversityGabelli School of BusinessNoNoYesYesNo
    Manhattan CollegeManagement & MarketingNoNoYesNoNo
    New York City College of Technology (CUNY)Environmental Control TechnologyNoYesNoNoNo
    North Country
    SUNY College of Technology at CantonCanino School of Engineering TechnologyNoYesNoNoNo
    Southern Tier
    SUNY Broome Community CollegeBusiness and Professional StudiesNoYesNoNoNo
    SUNY at DelhiSchool of Applied TechnologiesNoYesNoNoNo
    SUNY at DelhiSchool of Business and Hospitality ManagementNoYesNoNoNo
    Western New York
    Erie 1 BOCESHVACYesNoNoNoNo
    Erie Community CollegeHeating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning And RefrigerationYesNoNoNoNo
    SUNY at AlfredBuilding TradesNoYesNoNoNo
    SUNY at AlfredBusinessNoYesNoNoNo

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