In Summary - Salesperson
Salespersons typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Salesperson
A salesperson is anyone who is employed to sell goods or services to people or to business. Sales people work in shops and in offices as well as travelling around to meet people in their homes or at their businesses.
Salespeople working in shops are usually known as shop or retail assistants. They help customers choose products to buy. They also keep shelves and display areas stocked and take money from customers.
Salespeople working in offices usually sell to customers by using the telephone. They sell all kinds of things, from advertising space in newspapers to double-glazing. They may have to find new customers by 'cold-calling'. That is, 'phoning people who haven't used the company's services before and telling them about the services.
Travelling salespeople - people who travel around in cars or on foot - may make appointments to see people or may just turn up in the hope of seeing someone. They sell to customers at home and also to industry.
Whatever type of selling is involved, sales people usually specialise in one product/service or type of product/service. They develop an extensive knowledge of this.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Greet customers and ascertain what each customer wants or needs.
- Describe merchandise and explain use, operation, and care of merchandise to customers.
- Recommend, select, and help locate or obtain merchandise based on customer needs and desires.
- Compute sales prices, total purchases and receive and process cash or credit payment.
- Answer questions regarding the store and its merchandise.
- Prepare sales slips or sales contracts.
- Maintain knowledge of current sales and promotions, policies regarding payment and exchanges, and security practices.
- Maintain records related to sales.
- Demonstrate use or operation of merchandise.
- Place special orders or call other stores to find desired items.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Selling or Influencing Others Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Interests - Salesperson
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
For any sales role you need to be confident, enthusiastic, friendly and outgoing. Numeric skills are useful and it is important to be clear speaking. You must be able to get on with people. Therefore strong communication and interpersonal skills are necessary.
If you are selling by telephone or by meeting people in their own homes or offices you will need to be patient and resilient. You may talk to customers many times (sometimes over weeks, months and even years) and they may still not buy what you are selling.
You should also be well organised and capable of dealing with paperwork.
Entry Requirements - Salesperson
Pay & Salary - Salesperson
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 18k - 55k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Salesperson
While the majority of those employed in this occupation are employed in the wholesale and retail sector, demand, and indeed shortages, primarily relates to those employed in the IT sector, with language skills a key factor.
National Skills Bulletin 2018