What Is a Sales Associate?

Sales representative, sales executive, sales associate. Wait. Who?

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A Sales Associate is a specialist responsible for selling products/services and providing excellent customer service, most commonly in retail.

The training for this role usually takes place on-the-job. When it comes to career advancement, a sales associate can later focus on sales or customer support, becoming a Customer Care Manager or Sales Supervisor.

What does a sales associate do?

A Sales Associate is the first person who greets customers and offers to help with their purchases. They answer all questions related to a purchase a visitor is planning to make. Therefore, a Sales Associate keeps up with their company’s news and has a good knowledge of the products/services and policies.

Sales Associates deal with returns, refunds, and various kinds of complaints. They are often responsible for store maintenance as well. In other words, a Sales Associate is a representative that takes care of the brand image at a very basic but very significant level, covering direct communication and first impressions.

Although Sales Associates are primarily associated with clothing, jewelry, sporting items, and similar niches, it can be an office-based job, too. In contrast to working in stores and selling items, these specialists can offer services and provide customer support remotely.

Basic Sales Associate skills

  • Solid communication skills are the backbone of the daily work.
  • Patience, empathy, and tact are required to handle negative feedback correctly.
  • Desire to learn and develop a good knowledge of the company’s products and policies.
  • Facilitation skills and attention to detail since the person is going to deal with an inventory.
  • Proactive approach and readiness to participate in the company’s initiatives.
  • Well-developed time management skills to handle diverse tasks during a shift.
  • Previous hands-on experience with POS systems is a bonus.

An average sales associate salary is around $10 per hour. However, it can range from $7 to $25 per hour, greatly depending on the type of business and services it provides.

Read also:

What is inside sales?

What is guided selling?