There are no specific qualifications needed for the role of Sales Associate, although a good standard of education such as some GCSEs will sometimes be asked for.
There are diplomas and other various college courses available in Retail which can only help if this is your chosen career path, although experience is worth more than qualifications in this profession. There are a few options to gain some basic experience in retail. You could start off in a part time position whilst in education, or volunteer for a local charity store which will give you some basic retail skills in organising stock and handling payments.
If your experience in sales or retail is minimal, then you could start employment as a Trainee Sales Associate or Sales Consultant. In this role, you will be mentored by a Sales Associate doing on the job training to equip you with the knowledge and skills to become a Sales person. This will allow you to progress to the position of Sales Associate once successfully completing a probationary period and meeting some basic sales targets.
A Sales Associate may carry out a range of duties in a retail environment including greeting customers and answering any queries they have. A Sales Associate will order stock, handle payments, receive deliveries and keep the shop clean and tidy; often arranging stock and adhering to the health and safety guidelines.
A Sales Associate can also be working as part of a car sales team, for example, or as part of any Sales team across a range of professions. A Sales Associate will be working with a variety of different people selling products and describing products in a positive and constructive way to maximise sales and ultimately profit. A good Sales Associate will have excellent negotiation skills so that the customer walks away thinking that they have got the best possible deal.
Related: Sales Associate Cover Letter
A Sales Associate will typically work shift patterns operating on a weekly or fortnightly rota in a retail environment. This is very likely to involve some weekend working and some evening working, both in a retail or non-retail environment depending on company opening hours.
Skills and Training Development
Excellent customer service skills will be essential for this role, so an open and friendly approach is key. The ability to multi task within a team environment without getting flustered will also be a great skill to have, along with problem solving skills because customers may present you with all different types of queries.
There are a variety of development opportunities which can lead to promotion to Supervisor, Store Manager and eventually Area Manager positions for those who really want to progress in their career in retail. For Sales Associates in non-retail positions, progression to Sales Manager or Sales Team Leader will be the next step up.
Related: Sales Assistant Job Description
The starting salary for a Sales Associate would typically be around £11,000 although this would rise with more experience. An experienced Sales Associate can earn up to £25,000 particularly in bigger cities, or in a non-retail environment with target related bonuses this can be anything up to £40,000.