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What Does A Sales Associate Do?

Sales associates are responsible for promoting the company's goods or services. They are expected to provide exceptional customer service to prospective buyers. They should be familiar with all features of the company's products or services so that they can answer the customers' inquiries. Sales associates also assist customers in processing their checkouts, refunds, returns, and other needs. They should be customer-oriented, and they should have great communication skills. They should know how to sell their products or services to customers. They are considered the company's representatives on the ground.

Here are examples of responsibilities from real sales associate resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Set, manage, and maintain merchandise presentation planner (MPP) and plan-o-grams.
  • Supervise women's department, manage jewelry department, assist customers on finalizing purchases
  • Gain experience with credit cards, mathematics, as well as customer service.
  • Employ strong interpersonal and communication skills to maintain high customer satisfaction and surpass sales goals in commission sales environment.
  • Create Facebook page for Ohco Import/Export division.
  • Assist customers with the purchase of the perfect piece of jewelry
  • Process, fill, and ship internet orders on a timely basis.
  • Assist in helping guest with options to order products unavailable in stores via internet.
  • Handle currency and operate computerize cash register system with the use of mathematics skills.
  • Update store blog & Facebook profile and assist in editing the monthly newsletter for artists and customers.
Sales Associate Traits
Interpersonal skills involves being able to communicate efficiently with multiple people regarding your thoughts, ideas and feedback.
Math skills include being able to perform basic addition and subtraction, as well as solving for the unknown and visualizing data that will be helpful in the workplace.
Selling skills
Selling skills refer to the knowledge one has to secure a sale between a customer and a vendor.

Sales Associate Overview

Between the years 2018 and 2028, sales associate jobs are expected to undergo a growth rate described as "decline" at -2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if the thought "should I become a sales associate?" Has crossed your mind, maybe you should take the growth rate into account. In addition, the number of sales associate opportunities that are projected to become available by 2028 is -105,200.

A sales associate annual salary averages $32,373, which breaks down to $15.56 an hour. However, sales associates can earn anywhere from upwards of $16,000 to $63,000 a year. This means that the top-earning sales associates make $47,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

It's hard work to become a sales associate, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a sales associate and customer service, retail sales associate/cashier, sales associate sporting goods, and commissioned sales associate.

Sales Associate Jobs You Might Like

Sales Associate Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 18% of Sales Associates are proficient in Customer Service, Sales Floor, and Retail Sales. They’re also known for soft skills such as Interpersonal skills, Math skills, and Selling skills.

We break down the percentage of Sales Associates that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Customer Service, 18%

    Provided excellent customer service by assisting customers in purchasing prescriptions, over counter medications, and other health related merchandise.

  • Sales Floor, 12%

    Re-organized and filled floor inventory.

  • Retail Sales, 10%

    Answered questions about merchandise and provided product information to enhance retail sales and ensure ongoing customer satisfaction.

  • Company Policies, 10%

    Operate a well-structured store providing customer service and implementing company policies and service agreements; processing monetary sales and transactions.

  • Communication, 8%

    Establish positive flow of communication home inspectors, appraisers and closing attorneys to determine actions necessary leading to closing.

  • Loss Prevention, 6%

    Performed multifaceted cashier duties ensuring a consistent balance between customer service and loss prevention.

Some of the skills we found on sales associate resumes included "customer service," "sales floor," and "retail sales." We have detailed the most important sales associate responsibilities below.

  • The most important skills for a sales associate to have in this position are interpersonal skills. In this excerpt that we gathered from a sales associate resume, you'll understand why: "a friendly and outgoing personality is important for these workers because the job requires almost constant interaction with people." According to resumes we found, interpersonal skills can be used by a sales associate in order to "applied interpersonal skills and organizational skills maintained cashier position/money handling learned about loss prevention and means to avoid it"
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many sales associate duties rely on math skills. This example from a sales associate explains why: "retail sales workers must have the ability to calculate price totals, discounts, and change owed to customers." This resume example is just one of many ways sales associates are able to utilize math skills: "completed other tasks assigned by store management as needed using their quantitative techniques for evaluating efficiency. "
  • Sales associates are also known for selling skills, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a sales associate resume: "retail sales workers must be persuasive when interacting with customers" We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "worked closely with leadership to manage loss prevention and led cross-selling quotas, while ensuring a pleasant shopping experience. "
  • A sales associate responsibilities sometimes require "customer-service skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "retail sales workers must be responsive to the wants and needs of customers" This resume example shows how this skill is used by sales associates: "cleaned and inspected customers high-value possessions and followed loss prevention and security procedure for customer pieces and store-owned jewelry. "
  • See the full list of sales associate skills.

    Before becoming a sales associate, 30.3% earned their bachelor's degree. When it comes down to graduating with a master's degree, 1.8% sales associates went for the extra education. If you're wanting to pursue this career, it may be possible to be successful with a high school degree. In fact, some sales associates have a college degree. But about one out of every three sales associates didn't attend college at all.

    Those sales associates who do attend college, typically earn either a business degree or a psychology degree. Less commonly earned degrees for sales associates include a general studies degree or a criminal justice degree.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a sales associate. We've found that most sales associate resumes include experience from AutoZone, Staples, and Dollar General. Of recent, AutoZone had 3,753 positions open for sales associates. Meanwhile, there are 2,999 job openings at Staples and 2,225 at Dollar General.

    If you're interested in companies where sales associates make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at SG Americas Securities Holdings, Facebook, and RBS Securities. We found that at SG Americas Securities Holdings, the average sales associate salary is $124,417. Whereas at Facebook, sales associates earn roughly $123,709. And at RBS Securities, they make an average salary of $122,900.

    View more details on sales associate salaries across the United States.

    Some other companies you might be interested in as a sales associate include Macy's, Nordstrom, and Walmart. These three companies were found to hire the most sales associates from the top 100 U.S. educational institutions.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious sales associates are:

      What Sales Associate And Customer Services Do

      Sales and customer service associates are employees who are responsible for closing out sales deals and attending to customer needs. They are in charge of selling company goods and services to potential clients, often citing the common needs of prospective clients to ensure sales. They also handle customer inquiries and complaints and try their best to mitigate any problems that would arise. They are expected to be experts on company products to ensure that they can provide the best service to customers. Sales and customer service associates should have strong interpersonal skills, customer service skills, and communication skills.

      In this section, we compare the average sales associate annual salary with that of a sales associate and customer service. Typically, sales associate and customer services earn a $8,060 lower salary than sales associates earn annually.

      While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both sales associates and sales associate and customer services positions are skilled in customer service, sales floor, and retail sales.

      These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. A sales associate responsibility is more likely to require skills like "company standards," "store management," "high levels," and "current promotions." Whereas a sales associate and customer service requires skills like "phone calls," "outbound calls," "product knowledge," and "internet." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

      Sales associate and customer services really shine in the manufacturing industry with an average salary of $32,977. Whereas sales associates tend to make the most money in the retail industry with an average salary of $32,514.

      The education levels that sales associate and customer services earn is a bit different than that of sales associates. In particular, sales associate and customer services are 0.2% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a sales associate. Additionally, they're 0.0% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Retail Sales Associate/Cashier?

      A cashier is responsible for ensuring all the products and goods sold are well recorded and paid for as well as answering customer inquiries and recommending products. They also help the other sales team when needed and process payment for all goods bought. Their duties and responsibilities include processing payments, ensuring all goods bought are accurately scanned and recorded, and bagging purchases.

      Next up, we have the retail sales associate/cashier profession to look over. This career brings along a lower average salary when compared to a sales associate annual salary. In fact, retail sales associate/cashiers salary difference is $2,498 lower than the salary of sales associates per year.

      While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both sales associates and retail sales associate/cashiers are known to have skills such as "customer service," "sales floor," and "retail sales. "

      But both careers also use different skills, according to real sales associate resumes. While sales associate responsibilities can utilize skills like "company standards," "new customers," "current promotions," and "mpp," some retail sales associate/cashiers use skills like "product knowledge," "gift cards," "customer confidence," and "customer sales."

      On average, retail sales associate/cashiers earn a lower salary than sales associates. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, retail sales associate/cashiers earn the most pay in the retail industry with an average salary of $31,135. Whereas, sales associates have higher paychecks in the retail industry where they earn an average of $32,514.

      In general, retail sales associate/cashiers study at similar levels of education than sales associates. They're 1.3% less likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.0% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Sales Associate Sporting Goods Compares

      The third profession we take a look at is sales associate sporting goods. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than sales associates. In fact, they make a $8,899 lower salary per year.

      While looking through the resumes of several sales associates and sales associates sporting goods we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "customer service," "sales floor," and "company policies," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

      There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a sales associate is likely to be skilled in "retail sales," "company standards," "positive attitude," and "retail environment," while a typical sales associate sporting goods is skilled in "background checks," "product knowledge," "goods department," and "hardware."

      When it comes to education, sales associates sporting goods tend to earn similar education levels than sales associates. In fact, they're 0.7% less likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.3% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Commissioned Sales Associate

      Commissioned sales associates are professionals who conduct sale transactions that can generate additional compensation by increasing selling operations. These associates are must collaborate successfully with fellow associates in regard to sales and commission distribution. They must provide excellent customer service so that they can establish long term relationships with customers and ensure high satisfaction. Commissioned sales associates must also assist the department managers with visual merchandising to arrange racks so that they can place and stock new merchandise.

      Now, we'll look at commissioned sales associates, who generally average a higher pay when compared to sales associates annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $19,826 per year.

      According to resumes from both sales associates and commissioned sales associates, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "customer service," "sales floor," and "retail sales. "

      Each job requires different skills like "company policies," "stock shelves," "store management," and "positive attitude," which might show up on a sales associate resume. Whereas commissioned sales associate might include skills like "curiosity," "customer relationships," "commission sales," and "jewelry."

      Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The retail industry tends to pay more for commissioned sales associates with an average of $45,953. While the highest sales associate annual salary comes from the retail industry.

      Commissioned sales associates reach similar levels of education when compared to sales associates. The difference is that they're 0.7% more likely to earn a Master's Degree more, and 0.4% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.