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Become A Sales Associate

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Working As A Sales Associate

  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Getting Information
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • $81,981

    Average Salary

What Does A Sales Associate Do

Retail sales workers include both those who sell retail merchandise, such as clothing, furniture, and cars, (called retail salespersons) and those who sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts (called parts salespersons). Both types of workers help customers find the products they want and process customers’ payments.

Duties

Retail sales workers typically do the following:

  • Greet customers and offer them assistance
  • Recommend merchandise based on customers’ wants and needs
  • Explain the use and benefit of merchandise to customers
  • Answer customers’ questions
  • Show how merchandise works, if applicable
  • Add up customers’ total purchases and accept payment
  • Inform customers about current sales, promotions, and policies about payments and exchanges

The following are examples of types of retail sales workers:

Retail salespersons work in stores where they sell goods, such as books, cars, clothing, cosmetics, electronics, furniture, lumber, plants, shoes, and many other types of merchandise.

In addition to helping customers find and select items to buy, many retail salespersons process the payment for the sale, which typically involves operating cash registers.

After taking payment for the purchases, retail salespersons may bag or package the purchases.

Depending on the hours they work, retail salespersons may have to open or close cash registers. This includes counting the money in the register and separating charge slips, coupons, and exchange vouchers. They may also make deposits at a cash office.

For information about other workers who receive and disburse money, see the profile on cashiers.

In addition, retail salespersons may help stock shelves or racks, arrange for mailing or delivery of purchases, mark price tags, take inventory, and prepare displays.

For some retail sales jobs, particularly those involving expensive and complex items, retail sales workers need special knowledge or skills. For example, those who sell cars must be able to explain the features of various models, manufacturers’ specifications, different types of options on the car, financing available, and the details of associated warranties.

In addition, retail sales workers must recognize security risks and thefts and understand their organization’s procedures for handling thefts—procedures that may include notifying security guards or calling police.

Parts salespersons sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts. Most work in either automotive parts stores or automobile dealerships. They take customers’ orders, inform customers of part availability and price, and take inventory.

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How To Become A Sales Associate

Typically, there are no formal education requirements for retail sales workers. Most receive on-the-job training, which usually lasts a few days to a few months.

Education

Although retail or parts sales positions usually have no formal education requirements, some employers prefer applicants who have a high school diploma or equivalent, especially employers who sell technical products or “big-ticket” items, such as electronics or cars.

Training

Most retail sales workers receive on-the-job training, which usually lasts a few days to a few months. In small stores, an experienced employee often trains newly hired workers. In large stores, training programs are more formal and usually conducted over several days.

During training sessions, topics often include customer service, security, the store’s policies and procedures, and how to operate the cash register.

Depending on the type of product they are selling, employees may be given additional specialized training. For example, salespersons working in cosmetics get instruction on the types of products the store offers and for whom the cosmetics would be most beneficial. Likewise, those who sell computers may be instructed on the technical differences between computer products.

Because providing exceptional service to customers is a priority for many employers, employees often get periodic training to update and refine their skills.

Advancement

Retail sales workers typically have opportunities to advance to supervisory or managerial positions. Some employers want candidates for managerial positions to have a college degree.

As sales workers gain experience and seniority, they often move into positions that have greater responsibility and may be given their choice of departments in which to work. This opportunity often means moving to positions with higher potential earnings and commissions. The highest earnings potential usually involves selling “big-ticket” items—such as cars, jewelry, furniture, and electronics. These positions often require workers with extensive knowledge of the product and an excellent talent for persuasion.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Retail sales workers must be responsive to the wants and needs of customers. They should explain the product options available to customers and make appropriate recommendations.

Interpersonal skills. A friendly and outgoing personality is important for these workers because the job requires almost constant interaction with people. 

Math skills. Retail sales workers must have the ability to calculate price totals, discounts, and change owed to customers.

Persistence. A large number of attempted sales may not be successful, so sales workers should not be discouraged easily. They must start each new sales attempt with a positive attitude.

Selling skills. Retail sales workers must be persuasive when interacting with customers. They must clearly and effectively explain the benefits of the merchandise.

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Sales Associate Career Paths

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Average Length of Employment
Retail Sales Lead 2.4 years
Retail Sales Clerk 2.2 years
Sales Person 2.1 years
Sales Clerk 2.0 years
Sales Associate 2.0 years
Cashier/Sales 1.6 years
Sales Assoc 1.6 years
Associate Retailer 1.4 years
Top Careers Before Sales Associate
Cashier 19.7%
Internship 8.1%
Server 5.2%
Volunteer 5.0%
Hostess 3.8%
Teller 3.6%
Waitress 3.3%
Manager 3.0%
Assistant 2.5%
Associate 2.2%
Top Careers After Sales Associate
Cashier 12.8%
Internship 7.2%
Server 6.6%
Teller 5.0%
Manager 3.8%
Volunteer 3.2%
Hostess 2.9%
Associate 2.7%
Waitress 2.3%

Do you work as a Sales Associate?

Sales Associate Demographics

Gender

Female

62.0%

Male

35.9%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

59.3%

Hispanic or Latino

18.5%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

63.4%

French

9.4%

German

2.9%

Italian

2.4%

Chinese

2.3%

Arabic

2.2%

Mandarin

2.2%

Portuguese

2.1%

Japanese

2.0%

Hindi

1.7%

Russian

1.7%

Korean

1.2%

Cantonese

1.1%

Urdu

1.1%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Tagalog

0.9%

Polish

0.7%

Greek

0.6%

Hmong

0.5%

Armenian

0.4%
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Sales Associate Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

13.3%

Miami Dade College

6.3%

University of Central Florida

5.7%

Liberty University

5.3%

Texas State University

5.2%

Northern Virginia Community College

5.1%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.8%

Valencia College

4.8%

Georgia State University

4.7%

University of North Texas

4.6%

Florida State University

4.6%

Florida International University

4.5%

University of Alabama

4.2%

Temple University

4.0%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.9%

Fashion Institute of Technology

3.9%

University of Houston

3.9%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.8%

Houston Community College

3.8%

University of South Florida

3.7%
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Majors

Business

22.8%

Psychology

9.2%

Criminal Justice

7.3%

Communication

6.2%

Nursing

5.2%

Marketing

4.8%

General Studies

4.5%

Accounting

4.0%

Medical Assisting Services

3.9%

Health Care Administration

3.7%

Biology

3.6%

Liberal Arts

3.4%

Graphic Design

3.4%

Management

3.0%

English

2.9%

Kinesiology

2.8%

Education

2.5%

Computer Science

2.4%

Sociology

2.3%

Political Science

2.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.2%

Other

32.9%

Associate

14.1%

Masters

5.4%

Certificate

3.9%

Diploma

1.5%

License

0.5%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Sales Associate Videos

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84 ShipLife: Money! How much does a Sales Associate make?

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Real Sales Associate Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Associate-Sales Goldman Sachs & Co. New York, NY Oct 08, 2016 $159,141
Pre-Sales Director (Associate Vice President) Zensar Technologies Inc. Dallas, TX Sep 07, 2016 $148,824 -
$168,824
Associate-Sales Goldman, Sachs & Co. New York, NY Mar 31, 2015 $139,506 -
$400,000
Sales Strategy Associate Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 19, 2013 $135,200
Equity Research Sales Associate Merrill Lynch New York, NY Oct 01, 2015 $130,000 -
$150,000
Sales Associate Goldman, Sachs & Co. New York, NY May 23, 2013 $125,000
Sales Associate Goldman, Sachs & Co. New York, NY Sep 04, 2014 $125,000
Associate-Sales Goldman, Sachs & Co. New York, NY Jul 17, 2015 $125,000 -
$130,000
Latin America FX & Derivatives Corporate Sales Associate MUFG Union Bank, N.A. New York, NY Aug 13, 2016 $125,000
Sales Associate Goldman, Sachs & Co. New York, NY Aug 01, 2014 $124,000
Sales Associate Goldman, Sachs & Co. New York, NY May 23, 2013 $120,000
Sales Associate Goldman, Sachs & Co. New York, NY Sep 15, 2013 $120,000
Sales Strategy Associate Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Dec 10, 2014 $120,000
Associate-Sales Goldman Sachs & Co. New York, NY Oct 27, 2016 $112,029
Sales Associate Sector & Sovereign Research LLC Stamford, CT Sep 29, 2014 $76,773
Investment Sales Associate Skybridge Capital II, LLC New York, NY Sep 19, 2014 $75,000
Associate, Institutional Debt Sales Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Jan 04, 2016 $70,000
Over The Counter Derivative Sales Associate Cargill, Incorporated Coral Gables, FL Nov 21, 2016 $69,368 -
$72,500
International Market Sales Associate Bemis Company, Inc. Stow, OH Dec 19, 2014 $69,056
Bnef Sales Associate Bloomberg, LP New York, NY Jan 04, 2016 $66,000
Associate, Asia Institutional Equity Sales Enclave Capital LLC New York, NY Sep 15, 2015 $65,000
Sales Associate, Institutional Equity Raymond James & Associates, Inc. New York, NY Aug 16, 2016 $64,938 -
$70,000
Sales Associate Dooley Enterprises LLC Bothell, WA Sep 12, 2014 $49,442
Export Sales Associate Topwin Corporation Torrance, CA Jan 12, 2015 $48,006
Equity Sales & Trading Associate App Group International LLC New York, NY Dec 19, 2016 $47,000
Sales Associate Cyagen Biosciences, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jun 20, 2014 $47,000
Institutional Sales Associate RBC Global Asset Management (U.S.) Inc. Boston, MA Sep 09, 2015 $46,176
Sales Associate Crosslink Life Sciences, LLC Winston-Salem, NC Sep 15, 2016 $40,768
Sales Associate Kellwood Company New York, NY Sep 09, 2014 $40,000
Sales Associate (Fabric and Textile) Basica Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2013 $40,000

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Top Skills for A Sales Associate

  1. Customer Service
  2. New Merchandise
  3. Sales Goals
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed monetary transactions Assisted customers while delivering exceptional customer service Assured merchandise was organized and manageable
  • Organized inventory with new merchandise -Created store set-ups (mannequins, dolls, toys, etc.).
  • Developed client relationships and earned reputation for exceeding sales goals.
  • Performed other various tasks; such as cleaning, stocking and reorganizing store shelves and displays and selling merchandise.
  • Created strategies to develop and expand sales of services to existing customers, Organized stocked and maintained the sales floor area.

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Top 10 Best States for Sales Associates

  1. New York
  2. Rhode Island
  3. North Dakota
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Maine
  6. Hawaii
  7. Idaho
  8. Washington
  9. Vermont
  10. Wyoming
  • (7,648 jobs)
  • (595 jobs)
  • (410 jobs)
  • (1,238 jobs)
  • (688 jobs)
  • (608 jobs)
  • (733 jobs)
  • (3,291 jobs)
  • (334 jobs)
  • (280 jobs)

Top Sales Associate Employers

Jobs From Top Sales Associate Employers

Sales Associate Videos

Life Of A Macy's Associate

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