So you want to make it as a sales associate. If you’re looking for a position in the current economy, you’re going to want to be as marketable as possible to rise above your competition. Given the broad responsibilities that will likely end up being yours, you’ll want to be as versatile as possible; that way you can work anywhere.
Here are some of the most important skills you’ll need. Keep in mind that many of these skills might be things you’ve already accumulated by work experience in other fields—or just your natural inclinations. Keep an open mind as to how to adapt your existing skills to the sales field—or how to beef up any arenas in which you may be lacking.
Not to be underestimated. You’ll be providing customer service, keeping track of customers and preferences, as well as the preferred filing, inventory, and documentation systems for your company. You might even be tasked with ensuring that merchandise is displayed well, which requires a certain amount of visual/spacial organizational skills.
2. Money Handling
You’ll want to be well versed in monetary transactions, particularly if you plan to be a cashier or handle payments. Be adept at money-tracking software programs, and have a bit of fast math in your head for making change. And learn to handle credit card transactions.
This applies not just to within your colleagues, but also to your customer or client base. You’ll need to be good in all forms of communication: verbal, written, and visual. Communication skills are necessary for customer relations and also for surprising tasks like record keeping.
Sales requires you to sell things. Bottom line. If you don’t have these skills, you’d better acquire them fast—or start looking for work in a different field. You’ll want to rely on your communication skills, plus your attention to detail, and you’ll also want to make sure you really know your product inside and out. Basic accounting and stock knowledge are a plus. But people skills, i.e. your interpersonal skills and fluency, are tantamount.
You will need to write and speak, and you will be judged by your ability to do so clearly, effectively, and persuasively. You’ll also want to be literate in basic math and technology. Basically: never let a customer get the impression that they’re smarter than you at any point during your interaction. As the point of contact, and the liaison with other team members and your company at large, you’ll need to be effective when you transmit information.
6. Personal Mastery
If you’re not the kind of person who’s always striving to be better—to look better, to think faster, to do better—then sales might not be the most ideal fit for you. Start cultivating your enthusiasm, flexibility, positivity, cleanliness, punctuality, team focus, politeness, persuasiveness, multitasking skills, friendliness, and efficiency. Keep honing your best personal attributes, working to compensate for weaknesses, learning new things, knowing more, doing more, developing your talents, and you’ll go far.