Environmental Technical Salesperson

As an environmental technical salesperson, you know this product is a good fit for the needs of hazardous waste professionals, particularly those who respond to emergency spills. The product is a new kind of sand-filled spill barrier designed to contain and divert hazardous spills. You discuss the product with the supervisor, initially focusing on the unique adhesive feature of these barriers, which temporarily bond with any smooth surface, such as a road or cement floor, making them very quick to position in emergency situations, where time is critical. You also highlight other advantages of these barriers: they are reusable, easy to move and position, and resistant to most hazardous materials.

At a Glance

Imagine it is early in the morning and you are driving along the highway with a cup of coffee in your hand. You are an environmental technical salesperson on your way to your first appointment of the day, with the head of the hazardous waste department of a neighbouring city. You work for a company that sells products for handling and storing hazardous materials.

Today you are going to discuss a new spill barrier product line your company carries. You want to demonstrate to this supervisor how effective these new barriers are and how valuable they would be to the city’s hazardous waste department. Environmental technical salespeople sell a range of environmental products and services, for example, equipment, chemicals, transportation, or laboratory services. Some salespeople are responsible for outside sales calls, where they visit clients to demonstrate products and discuss services. Others spend more time in their office answering technical questions and providing support to clients.

Environmental technical salespeople combine technical knowledge of complex equipment and processes with business and marketing skills to successfully sell their products and services to a wide range of clients. At the end of your demonstration, you give the supervisor copies of technical brochures for the barriers and set a date to follow up on your meeting. You have another appointment this afternoon, but before that, you’ll be in your office following up with other clients and new contacts, as well as with the various manufacturers your company deals with.

Having participated in a full-day training seminar with the barrier’s manufacturer, you know a lot about this product and are able to respond to most of the supervisor’s technical questions. When a question arises to which you don’t have the answer, you promise to ask the manufacturer and get back to the supervisor as quickly as possible.

Job Duties

Duties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties one might encounter as an environmental technical salesperson:

  • Promote sales of environmental products and services to clients.
  • Identify and recruit potential new contacts and clients.
  • Consult with clients on an ongoing basis to resolve problems and provide technical support.
  • Evaluate client needs and resources and recommend appropriate products and services.
  • Develop reports and business proposals as part of sales presentations to illustrate the value of specific products and services.
  • Prepare and administer sales contracts for clients.
  • Troubleshoot technical problems reported by clients.
  • Train clients’ staff in the operation and maintenance of new equipment.
  • Establish and maintain office infrastructure, including systems for tracking prospects and client profiles.
  • Collaborate with contractors and environmental professionals to review tenders and prepare proposals.

Work Environment

Environmental technical salespeople work in a variety of locations, including:

In the office:

  • Completing sales orders
  • Communicating on the phone and in meetings with clients, manufacturers, suppliers, supervisors, and colleagues
  • Preparing sales reports and business plans
  • Making new sales contacts

In the field:

  • Visiting sites and consulting with clients on specific needs and appropriate environmental products
  • Demonstrating products to clients
  • Participating in product training sessions with manufacturers or leading sessions for clients’ staff
  • Participating in trade shows and sales events
  • Troubleshooting products for clients

Where to Work

There are a number of places environmental technical salespeople can find employment. They include:

  • Chemical manufacturing companies
  • Waste disposal product manufacturers
  • Hazardous materials product and transportation businesses
  • Environmental remediation and reclamation companies
  • Environmental technology companies
  • Laboratories

Education and Skills

If you are a high school student considering a career as an environmental technical salesperson, you should have strong marks or an interest in:

  • Math
  • English
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science

In most cases, the minimum education requirement to work as an environmental technical salesperson is a college technical diploma. If you are a post-secondary student considering a career as an environmental technical salesperson, the following programs are most applicable:

  • Business and Commerce
  • Economics
  • Environmental Studies
  • General Science
  • Communications and Marketing
  • Environmental Science

It is not necessary to become certified in order to work as an environmental technical salesperson, though some practitioners choose to become accredited through the Canadian Professional Sales Association (CPSA).

Role Models

Cameron Kelly Phillip

Cameron Kelly Phillip doesn't have any trouble describing his enthusiasm for his work. "At the end of the day, you know these people are better off. And you know you've come a little bit closer to closing the gap between a third world country and a developed nation. It makes you feel good." Cameron works to improve waste management in developing countries. "Our goal here is to assist developing countries with their waste management infrastructure. So that includes educating them on the issues of waste management and why it's important socially and economically."

The task of selling waste management consulting services in developing countries includes making the economic case for better practices, convincing governments of the business case for better environmental practices. "I need to be able to communicate with people on their terms so that they are educated on how to maximize their benefits and minimize their costs." He didn't follow a straight and narrow path to his job.

In fact, he started out studying math and music at university. "I swam around for a while, moving from one department to the next." At one time, he decided to be a teacher, then he "flipped over to commerce." Then he selected courses to prepare himself for international development and the environment. What type of education does he recommend to those who want to follow his trail? "I think a better understanding of commerce is important. Even in the environment, it all comes down to dollars and cents. The high schools offer credits in those areas, but I don't think enough students take those courses."

Your Impact

Occupational Classification

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