[ seylz-pee-puhl ]
/ ˈseɪlzˌpi pəl /
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See synonyms for: salespeople / salesperson on Thesaurus.com

plural noun
people engaged in selling.
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Origin of salespeople

An Americanism dating back to 1875–80; sales + people
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does salespeople mean?

Salespeople is a plural form of salesperson—a person whose job is to sell products or services.

A less commonly used plural of salesperson is salespersons.

Another term for salesperson is sales rep (or sales representative). The terms salesman and saleswoman are still commonly used, but salesperson and sales rep are often used in their place.

Salespeople are often said to “work in sales”—in which sales refers to the type of occupation or the division or department within a company.

Salespeople can sell directly to customers or to other businesses or organizations. Sometimes, salespeople sell things in person, such as at a retail store or dealership. They also commonly sell things over the phone or by communicating with people online. In the past, it was common for some salespeople to travel door-to-door to make sales to people at home.

A salesperson who has to travel as part of their job can be called a traveling salesperson

The word salesperson is sometimes used in a somewhat figurative way to refer to someone who’s skilled at persuading people, especially in a business or professional setting, as if they are selling them a product.

Example: Salespeople are known for their ability to start a conversation with anyone.

Where does salespeople come from?

The first records of the word salespeople come from the 1870s. The singular form, salesperson, is formed with the gender-neutral ending -person, which is often used in terms that traditionally ended in -man, such as businessperson (which can be pluralized as businesspeople).

The job of salespeople is to sell, and to sell they have to convince the customer to buy. For this reason, salespeople have a reputation for sometimes being aggressive or putting pressure on the customer, especially in retail settings, like furniture or electronics stores. Also contributing to this reputation is the fact that some salespeople are at least partly paid on commission—a percentage of sales that goes into their pay. Of course, this reputation isn’t always warranted—a lot of salespeople genuinely want to help you find the right product.

Still, a lot of people try to avoid salespeople when shopping due to feeling pressured. Relatedly, the term used car salesman is sometimes used in a figurative way to refer to someone considered a smooth-talking swindler.

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How is salespeople used in real life?

Salespeople is a neutral term, but salespeople may be viewed positively or negatively, based on a person’s experience with them.



Try using salespeople!

True or False? 

Salespeople only refers to people who sell directly to retail customers.

How to use salespeople in a sentence