As a sales associate, selling is going to be one of your primary tasks. Depending on the retail environment you work in, you will not only be offering various items to customers but will actually do your best to persuade them to buy it. This entails knowing your product from the inside out—its price, features, warranties and other details. When you are able to answer your customer’s questions about a particular item, you have a higher chance of closing the deal.
Together with selling is your responsibility to provide excellent customer service to your customers. This means welcoming them as soon as they step into the store and saying “thank you” with a bright smile when they leave regardless of whether they bought anything or not. A common example of customer service that all sales associates are expected to provide is directing customers to where they can find the item they are looking for or giving them an alternative if the former is not in stock. Another is providing honest feedback on various products to help customers decide on the best option for them.
You can also expect to manage inventory as a sales associate. This means getting stocks from the stockroom to refill shelves and racks, putting price tags and arranging the items in such a way that they are appealing to potential customers who visit the store.
To succeed as a sales associate, you need to be persuasive. Since the end goal is to close a deal, you need to be able to convince customers that they need to buy your product. You must also genuinely enjoy interacting with people because that’s the only way for you to provide excellent customer service. You won’t always bag a sale with all customers so you need to be persistent and positive as well.
Why Become A Sales Associate
A career as a sales associate is well-suited for those who really love the dynamic environment that only retail sales can provide. Those who love interacting with people will also find this job gratifying. On the practical side, a sales associate position is one that doesn’t have any formal academic requirements so even those without a high school diploma may get a job. Because employers welcome many part-time workers, working as a sales associate serves as a good way for those who are still studying to earn extra money as well.
Sales Associate Work Environment
Sales associates work mostly in clothing and clothing accessories stores as well as in general merchandise stores. They may also be hired by dealers of motor vehicles and parts, building materials and garden equipment and supplies as well as sporting goods, music and hobby stores. Although the environment they work in is comfortable and clean, sales associates may have to stand for long hours and cannot just leave their spot any time. Evening and weekend work are common especially during the holiday season when more people go shopping.
Sales Associate Salary
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of retail sales workers is $23,690. This translates to a mean hourly wage of $11.39. Among these retail sales workers, parts salespersons receive the highest yearly wage at $32,290.
Sales Associate Career Outlook
Sales associates can look forward to positive employment growth in the next few years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that in the period covering 2012 to 2022, their employment rate is set at 10 percent, a rate that is as fast as the average for all job types. Demand for these workers is expected to rise as the economy improves. However, the need for sales associates will be dampened with the growing popularity of online shopping.
Sales Associate Degree
There are no formal education requirements for a career as a sales associate. However, employers prefer those with high school diplomas, particularly if they are selling technical products or expensive items. Sales associates who wish to be promoted to managerial posts need to hold a college degree. New sales associates typically receive on-the-job training conducted either by an experienced employee or in large companies, though a formal training program organized by the human resources department of the store. This training can last anywhere from a few days to a few months depending on the size of the organization.