Sporting Goods Sales Jobs – Wholesale and Retail

Careers in Sporting Goods are lucrative, and you can see why they’ll continue to be a great way to earn a good living.

Your knowledge and devotion to sports, athletics, fitness and people can translate into a career where you make as much as you want, you can go as far up the career ladder as you want, and you can continue working as long as you care to. These are just some of the ways you can work in the field of Sporting Goods:

  • Manufacturer’s Representative for a Sporting Goods or Equipment Company
  • Sporting Goods Store Manager
  • Sporting Goods Salesperson
  • Small Business Entrepreneur with your own Sports Store or line of goods

Corporate Research International recently released the results of their Real People Ratings survey. It’s a poll of their panelists, who rate businesses for customer service on a scale of one to ten. Here are the top stores in the Sporting Goods category:

  • Foot Locker – 7.18 rating out of 10.0
  • Dick’s – 7.12
  • Finish Line – 7.08
  • Champs – 6.94
  • Hibbett’s – 6.83
  • The Sports Authority – 6.81

The lesson here is that brand image and consumer perception are very important in how sporting goods stores, their owners, managers and salespeople will do.

And never, for a moment, forget about customer service!

The National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA)’s website is full of good resources and information for the newcomer and the professional in this career field. The annual conference is probably the biggest opportunity in the industry for education and networking with retailers, team dealers (who specialize is supplying equipment to high schools, colleges and organized teams), suppliers (distributors), agents, sports licensing groups, other industry associations and the media. The weekly newsletter covers industry news that sporting goods professionals can use.

NSGA awards around 50 scholarships every year. See their website for contact information to find out about sporting goods specialized education for college credit and for continuing education.

There are special divisions in the organization, including the Team Dealer Division. This serves sporting goods suppliers and retailers who supply equipment to organized teams, rather than sales to individual consumers. It coordinates with the rule-making organizations and the high school and college federations, and a newsletter specifically for team dealers goes to members.

A specialty Fitness division is for dealers who serve the fitness market. Another special newsletter goes out, and the Association provides educational programs, market research and bankcard programs for this specialty.

The Golf division also has educational programs, market research and a bankcard program, as well as another newsletter, just for off-course golf shops. Anyone who works (at least 20 hours per week) at a business that’s a member of NSGA is eligible for an NSGA scholarship to Sports Business University.

Here you can take university-accredited programs, with courses like The Sporting Goods Industry, Sports Marketing, Sports Management or Sports Sponsorships. The scholarship covers 20% of the total program or course costs. You can contact Sports Business University for more information by phone: Chuck Suritz, 1-800-815-5422, extension 130.

The Manufacturers’ Agents National Association (MANA) is a non-profit trade group with over 4,000 sales companies as member. These companies have an average of six employees, and the average owner of a manufacturers’ agency makes $150,000 to $200,000 per year. Are you ready to start your own business as a Manufacturer’s Representative? To find out, try the short quiz on the MANA website. Wonder what your commission would be for selling sporting goods to an individual customer, an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or a distributor? You can check the commission range by product classification and customer type from the latest MANA survey free as a MANA member, or for $30 otherwise. Want to know what’s up with professional Manufacturer’s Representatives? Check out Agency Sales Magazine here.

Manufacturers’ Agents National Association:

To find the leading employers and see what kind of jobs they’re recruiting for and more, check out the Sporting Goods Links page.

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