A sales associate works on the front lines of customer service. These personable employees perform a range of duties, often including:
Presenting customers with information about products
Guiding customers in their purchases, offering suggestions and advice on which products fit customers' needs
Upselling by convincing customers to purchase higher quality products and accessories to complement purchases
Accepting training from sales managers in order to hone customer service skills
Dealing with belligerent customers in a calm manner, striving to defray tension and bring about a favorable outcome
Sales associates may work in a variety of settings. It is common for them to work in retail stores, but they may also engage in direct selling over the telephone or in person. They are present in many industries, including technology, fashion, and business-to-business settings.
Sales Associate Job Education Requirements
Oftentimes, the education requirements for sales associates are minimal. Many employers require that candidates have only a high school diploma or the equivalent. However, in situations where a sales associate sells specialty products, more extensive education is necessary. Usually, personal traits and experience are more important than formal education for sales associates
Sales Associate Job Market
The job growth for retail sales associates is expected to be on par with the average across all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Seasonal fluctuations also play a role in the job market, since sales associates are often in greater demand around holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and Valentine's Day.
Sales Associate Job Salary Information
Some people in this role are paid on commission, so a successful sales associate could have unlimited earning potential. Keep in mind, however, that the median wage for retail sales associates is only around $21,000 per year. It isn't uncommon for sales associates to make minimum wage. Other types of sales associates, such as insurance sales agents, may make more than twice as much as retail sales associates.