Sales Associate Skills (With Sample Job Description)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 2 May 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.

The role of a sales associate can contain a wide series of skills and competencies, depending on the field in which you're performing sales. Salespeople familiarise themselves with their product, converse with potential customers to persuade them to make a purchase, track their company's inventory and fill out any accompanying paperwork as necessary. If you're interested in entering a career in sales or you want to improve your sales abilities, you may want to learn more about the position. In this article, we discuss sales associate skills you can advertise on your resume, along with a sample job description.

Related: What Does a Salesman Do? Skills and Professional Duties

Sales associate skills

Strong sales associate skills can positively affect every aspect of a sales associate's work, from speaking with customers to solving money-related math equations. For more on the specific skills that professionals in a sales associate position have, please review the following list:

Customer service skills

A sales associate's ability to comfortably communicate with customers may greatly influence their ability to make sales. They typically act as representatives for their company to the customers, so they want to ensure those interactions are positive. The following are some customer service-related skills:

  • Active listening: A sales associate typically utilises active listening skills. These skills allow them to engage their customers in meaningful conversation, which could help the sales associate understand what the customer is looking for and what product may suit their needs.

  • Communication: A sales associate may employ good communication skills. This could help them interest a customer in a given product by convincing the customer that the product can solve their problem.

  • Empathy: A sales associate may benefit from a strong sense of empathy. By understanding the customer's perspective, the sales associate could more effectively comprehend the customer's needs, which could help them guide the customer towards the right product for them.

  • Positive attitude: A sales associate typically exudes a positive attitude to entice customers into conversation with them. By offering a friendly, inviting atmosphere, a sales associate may be able to convince more customers to speak with them about the product they're selling.

By striving to nurture these skills, a sales associate could potentially convince customers to return to their store for repeat transactions. This would reflect well on the company and solidify the customer's loyalty to its brand. One practical method you could utilise to hone your customer relations skills is to practise your interpersonal skills with friends or family. If your company is selling a new product, educate yourself on it and practise your sales strategy with someone who would be willing to provide feedback.

Related: How to Create a Salesman Resume (With Template and Example)

Organisational skills

A sales associate typically handles many aspects of the sales process at once, so the ability to organise and prioritise multiple tasks at once may assist a sales associate in performing their work. The following are potential organisational tasks for which a sales associate may be responsible:

  • Remembering customer preferences: A sales associate may remember all of their customers' preferences for future transactions. This could offer the customer a friendly sense of familiarity with the sales associate and the business overall, which may encourage the customer to make repeat purchases.

  • Tracking product availability: A sales associate is typically responsible for tracking the availability of certain products. This could help them educate their customers on what products are currently available.

  • Documenting sales: A sales associate may document their sales and any other pertinent information to their work. This could help them provide accurate reports to their employer on the success of their sales abilities and the amount of revenue they are generating.

These skills can help a sales associate manage their tasks efficiently and ensure they document and complete their work, which they could advertise to potential employers. One practical method you could use to improve your organisational skills is to provide structure to your personal life. You could start by drafting short checklists of tasks you want to accomplish and giving yourself a deadline to accomplish them. You could also create brief journal entries on the things you accomplish within a day, ensuring that you're including all relevant information while keeping your writing succinct.

Related: 7 Sales Positions (with Job Descriptions and Salaries)

Problem-solving skills

The following are potential situations where a sales associate may utilise their problem-solving skills:

  • Persuading customers: Typically, the reason that a customer wants to make a purchase is that they have a problem they want to solve. With strong problem-solving skills, a sales associate may be able to convince a customer that their company's product offers the most utility for its price.

  • Using resources: If a customer has a complaint or concern about their product or service, a sales associate may be able to examine their issue and resolve it by whatever means they have. This could involve communicating with the company on the customer's behalf to find a resolution to the problem or coaching the customer through resolving the problem themselves.

  • Offering solutions: If circumstances around the sale change, the sales associate may quickly adapt to resolve the issue. For example, if a customer orders a certain product and the sales associate discovers the product is no longer available, they can quickly communicate this to the customer and ensure they receive a refund or an equivalent item.

To improve your problem-solving skills, you could consider how you tend to resolve issues in your personal life and hone that process. If you typically like to develop multiple solutions and offer all of them, you could use a similar tactic for your customer. If you prefer to take charge of problems to resolve them, you could apply this tactic to a customer's problem. Generally, your adaptability as a problem-solver can positively affect your ability to assist customers.

Related: Top 20 Sales Skills: Definitions and Tips for Developing Them

Detail-orientation skills

Sales could involve complex systems with which a sales associate may want to be familiar. If a sales associate can focus on multiple small details at once to create a larger understanding of their task, they may improve their ability to perform sales. The following are typical responsibilities a sales associate may perform utilising their detail-orientation skills:

  • Learning about a company product: A sales associate may want to intimately acquaint themselves with their company's product. This could involve memorising how to use it, clean it and repair it along with the product's typical lifespan.

  • Understanding the sales process: A sales associate may want to familiarise themselves with the sales process with their specific company. For example, their company may want them to record the sales methodology they utilised for the sale so they can determine what sales strategies are most effective.

  • Transferring money: A sales associate typically assists in the transfer of money, so keeping track of who is paying for what may be an asset to performing their work.

To improve your own detail-orientation skills, you could implement detailed analyses in your personal life. For example, you could start maintaining a log of your purchases over time, noting the time and place the money was spent. This could help you train your ability to organise and understand large amounts of information at once.

Leadership skills

Whether they're in charge of other salesmen or they simply want to be more self-reliant, a sales associate can benefit from leadership skills. The following are responsibilities for which a sales associate may utilise their leadership skills:

  • Training new employees: A sales associate may train new salesmen in the company. This could involve imparting their sales strategies to the new employee or helping them develop their own.

  • Guiding customers: A sales associate may benefit from coaching customers through the sales process. Some customers may appreciate firm, honest guidance to help them make their purchasing decision.

  • Describing products: A sales associate could effectively describe the positive qualities of their product with a confident speaking voice.

A practical method you could utilise to improve your leadership skills is to volunteer with an organisation in need of leadership. This could help you to work on your confidence in conversation, which could convince others to trust you. If you feel like you're confident in your leadership abilities, you could speak with your employers about potentially receiving a promotion into a managerial role.

Related: 10 Leadership Role Examples (With Functions of Leadership)

Sales associate job description

Typically, employers are looking for sales associates with the above skills, so advertising your abilities may help employers discover your skills. For a more concrete idea of how employers search for qualified sales associates, you can review this sample job description:

The primary role of the sales associate is to present & sell appropriate product solutions to our customers. At Timbra Ltd., we strive to offer the highest quality items at the lowest cost. A sales associate creates sales opportunities by prospecting, following up on leads, performing cold calls, qualifying opportunities and solving our clients' problems. To be successful in this role, a sales associate is required to develop an understanding of our sales process and products while also demonstrating superb interpersonal skills.

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