Do you want to get a job at a sales associate at a major retailer? Better brush up on your people’s skills and be prepared to be convincing and knowledgeable, along with useful. After all, the interview is the first place where you will show your skills as a retail sales associate, by selling your skills and experience as the best match for the job at hand. Make sure both your CV and your answers during the interview showcase the sales associate skills your potential employer is looking for.

Retail Sales Associate Job Description

As you can probably guess from the name, a retail sales associate is a sales position, usually at the bottom of the ladder in terms of a career in sales. As such, your job is pretty basic (though this doesn’t mean necessarily easy): sell, up-sell and offer an amazing customer experience that builds customer loyalty. Unlike a Sales Team Leader, you won’t necessarily need management skills as you won’t be supervising anybody. However, as your career progresses you will most likely need to train or mentor newer members of stuff.

Most sales associate positions will have weekly, monthly and quarterly targets they need to hit, and often the salary is dependant on achieving or surpassing those targets. For this reason, if you want to succeed in retail you must absolutely love what you are doing or you may find the targets too difficult to reach.

Sales Associate Skills

In order to get a job as a retail sales associate and enjoy it, you will need a variety of people related skills. If you want to progress through the ranks of a retail career, make sure you can answer yes to the following statements.

You Love Helping People

If you don’t love helping people, stop reading here and find a job somewhere else. A sales associate best tool is its willingness to help customers make the right purchase for their needs. Even when the customers are less than willing to be nice or even make sense. As a sales associate, your job is not only being able to close a sale, but making sure the customer comes back to the store for more, and preferably even looks for you when they do.

You are a Good Listener

Sometimes customers are not as clear about their needs as you would like them to be. Unless you are a good listener, the customer will end up frustrated and look for another sales associate or even worse, a different store. Paying attention to what the customer is telling you will also help you offer them alternatives, additional products and upsells that go towards reaching your sales targets.

You Keep Your Calm, No Matter What

The ability to stay calm under pressure is something every outstanding sales associate needs from very early on their career. Many things will become stressful on the store floor, from angry customers to late deliveries, and the person who stays calm and productive is the one who will get a promotion.

You are Good at Multitasking

The job of a retail sales associate is always changing, and often you will need to do several things at once. For example, you could be reading the specs on the latest arrivals, but need to switch to customer attention mode if a potential client comes around with questions. For some people this is stressful, while others find the constant change of activity exciting and challenging. Make sure you know which category you fall in.

You Are Helpful And Dependable

As a sales associate, your main role is selling. However, being helpful and dependable and pitching in when needed in other capabilities is what will get you noticed by your bosses. No matter how good a sales person you are, if you are always late or disappear the moment a new delivery needs to be unloaded to the shop floor then your chances of getting promoted (or even keeping the job) will be greatly reduced.

You Learn Quick

One of the best ways to sell something is being an expert (or at least, knowing more than the customer you are talking to). In some fields, this means being willing to go the extra mile and familiarise yourself will the products you sell, and even those you don’t stock but are bound to appear in the conversation. The more expensive the items you are selling, the more you require this skill. In a world where the Internet has made consumers into experts, you need to stay on top of your field and be a quick learner too.

If you were nodding along as you read the above, then congratulations: you will be perfect at a sales job! Keep in mind that faking this in front of a retail manager is really difficult and not worth your time: you will most likely hate your job if you don’t possess most of the above sales associate skills.

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