Skills For A Sales Associate: Definition And Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Becoming a successful sales associate involves learning a variety of skills. Developing these skills can improve your ability to interact with customers and generate sales. Learning certain skills as a sales associate can position you for a long-term career in sales and marketing. In this article, we discuss the importance of skills for sales associates, list the top 15 skills you require for thriving in this role and find out the average salary for a sales associate.

Related: What Does A Sales Representative Do? (With Career Advice)

Why Are Sales Associate Skills Important?

Sales associate skills help you make positive connections with customers, interact better with colleagues and manage your duties. Skills that you can learn on the job help answer customer inquiries about products and process transactions. Sales associate skills also help you build the abilities you require to get higher-level sales jobs.

Related: The Role Of A Sales Executive: Responsibilities And Skills

Top 15 Skills For A Sales Associate

Here are the top 15 skills for a sales associate:

1. Analytical skills

Analytical skills help you provide the most optimum solution for customers. With analytical skills, you can learn about the customer's requirements, evaluate the products you have in the store and make a detailed suggestion that helps the customer make a purchase. Take notes of successful interactions you have with customers to see if your approach works when speaking to others.

2. Customer service

Customer service skills help you build rapport with clients. This skill allows you to work closely with customers and ensure they have a satisfactory experience. Give customers time to speak to show their patience and willingness to provide them with a positive experience. Explain your technical knowledge of your company's products if they want to know more about them.

3. Communication

Communication skills give you the ability to interact with customers, colleagues and managers. Use this skill to educate customers and answer questions they may have about your company's products. You can also use this skill to better understand feedback from your manager or to help colleagues complete certain tasks.

Related: Common Business Communication Skills And Their Importance

4. Sales

Sales skills involve being personable, knowledgeable and persuasive. It is important that you are able to help customers locate products, make recommendations and encourage them to purchase an item. Learning sales skills as an associate can help you build a foundation for further learning if you plan to pursue a career path in sales.

5. Problem-solving

Problem-solving skills aid you in resolving challenges at work. You are going to help customers with various issues, and problem-solving skills allow you to make informed decisions that make clients happy. When you face a problem that you can not solve on your own, ask a manager for help, and take notes so you can solve it on your own if you encounter the same problem again.

Related: How To Highlight Problem-Solving Skills On A Resume

6. Organisation

Organisation skills show how you can manage your workload. You can organise tasks by importance, such as operating the cash register, maintaining signage on the sales floor and studying promotions that you can offer to customers. Staying organised at work helps you switch easily between tasks at a moment's notice, which may be common on a retail sales floor.

Read more: Organisational Skills: Definition And Examples

7. Time management

Sales associates require time-management skills to complete multiple tasks in a certain timeframe. Balance your time so you can complete all of your duties, such as helping customers, stocking shelves and keeping the store tidy. Make sure you give your undivided attention to each customer to show you care about them.

Read more: Time Management Skills: Definition And Examples

8. Mathematical skills

Basic mathematical skills are very important for processing different transactions. Making changes quickly, applying promotions and coupons and noticing any errors in the transactions are all very important to be able to work well as a sales associate. Familiarity with cash registers and different point of sale (PSO) systems is also essential along with having a grasp of basic math skills.

Related: Math Interview Questions (With Example Answers And Tips)

9. Reliability

Reliability demonstrates your ability to consistently meet deadlines and sales targets. A manager can trust you to perform well if you can meet your sales targets and build a strong reputation with repeat customers. When you are reliable, your managers and colleagues can rely on you to help customers and complete additional tasks.

10. Teamwork

Teamwork skills allow you to collaborate with your colleagues and manager to help customers. You can create a positive work environment through healthy collaboration, which improves the interactions you have with customers. For example, you may have hit your sales goals for the month, but you help your colleagues make sales so they can also hit the target. Your colleagues are more likely to reciprocate the help you if you require it. 

Related: Examples Of Teamwork Skills (And How To Improve Them)

11. Product knowledge

It is important that you know the products your company sells to influence customers to buy them. Study the company's website, ask your manager for a tutorial and take time to review products in-store to educate yourself about different features and discounts available. For instance, if you work at a sporting goods store, research the different types of apparel online to understand their unique features. You can then explain the unique features to customers to help them make a more informed decision.

12. Flexibility

Flexibility shows that you are willing to accept different tasks and shifts to help your manager and team. If it works for your schedule, tell your manager that you are available for different shifts when they require additional coverage. Be willing to perform different duties to show your flexibility. Being flexible can help you learn new responsibilities that help you qualify for a promotion or raise. 

13. Adaptability

Being adaptable allows you to change quickly with unexpected circumstances, stay open to new ideas and work on different tasks to help your team. Since many sales associate jobs are in fast-paced environments that change often, being adaptable can help you effectively manage your tasks while providing quality customer service.

14. Persuasion

Persuasion skills can help you increase your sales. Give a unique selling proposition to the customer to persuade them to buy your company's products. Make sure your responses to customer questions are accurate and detailed to increase your persuasion skills. Use a friendly tone to make the customer feel more comfortable making a purchase.

Related: What Is Persuasion? Definition, Examples And How It Works

15. Active listening

Active listening demonstrates your eagerness to help customers and solve problems when they arise. Let the customers explain their requirements or issues fully before you offer a response. If required, ask questions to get a full perspective of the customer's request. You keep improving this skill as you speak with more customers.

Read more: Active Listening Skills: Definition And Examples

Salary Of A Sales Associate

The salary you get as a sales associate depends on several factors like your years of experience, the salary you were getting at your previous job, your skills and training and how well you perform during the hiring process. As you gain more experience in this field, you are likely to get a better salary and added incentives with each promotion you get.

Along with your salary, you may also get a commission which is going to be a percentage of the value of each sale that you make. Some sales associate jobs may also offer bonuses for reaching various monthly, quarterly or annual sales goals. Such commissions or bonuses can make sales associate jobs in different industries very lucrative.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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